With the launch of the much-anticipated NYC Ferry quickly approaching, crews responsible for manning the boats continue to train in preparation. As amNY shares in a new video, before captains can operate the ferries, they must first master a digital simulation at SUNY Maritime in the Bronx. In a small room shaped like a ferry wheelhouse with wraparound screens that provide a 360-degree view of the New York Harbor, captains in training must steer past digital boat traffic and landmarks like the Statue of Liberty. Overseen by staff members from Hornblower Cruises, the simulator tests an applicant’s decision-making skills, navigational abilities, and understanding of Coast Guard Regulations.
The simulator is programmed with software that mirrors handling an NYC Ferry boat, making it so realistic that it can even make some people sea-sick with its virtual stormy seas. The Maritime’s simulator director, James Rogin, gets to choose the weather, as well as add or drop routes. He told amNY: “If we’re here to make the mariner a better mariner, you have to stay consistent. You can’t be putting things they wouldn’t normally see out there. So I’m not going to put a tanker that’s on fire…but container or cruise ships are something I’ll throw in there.”
To celebrate the ferry’s earlier-than-expected launch, Mayor de Blasio rode the first ferry, named “Lunchbox” by second graders from Bay Ridge, to Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 1 just last week. Beginning May 1, the new Rockaway route will set sail, taking passengers from the new dock on Beach 108th Street to the Brooklyn Terminal in Sunset Park and then Wall Street’s Pier 11. Residents of South Brooklyn should expect ferry service this June, and the Astoria route will be launched sometime in August. Riding the ferry will cost the same as the subway at $2.75 per ride, but with added benefits like WiFi and the option to buy food and alcoholic beverages.
So far, four captains have been hired to operate the NYC Ferry boats. Roughly 50 captains will be hired overall, as the citywide ferry service expands to all 20 vessels and four routes by 2018. As covered by 6sqft, the NYC Ferry initiative may add 200+ jobs to the city’s economy, according to Mayor de Blasio. Working in conjunction, the Economic Development Corporation and Hornblower Cruises hope to hire deckhands, captains and additional crew members, with half of the jobs expected to pay at least $50,000 per year.
Watch the simulator in action over on amNY >>
- Mayor de Blasio christens New York’s first Citywide Ferry with a ride into Brooklyn Bridge Park
- Rockaway Ferry to take off in May, one month ahead of schedule
- Mayor de Blasio says Citywide Ferry will add 200+ jobs
- All Citywide Ferry coverage