12.4500° S, 130.8333° E
I've been keenly exploring the possibilities with the GyroPilot combined with SEAiq VPP. Over this time of learning and using the device, I've found it invaluable in some of the very restricted passages within the port, particularly in poor weather and/or strong currents.
Quite a few ships visit the port with poor bridge navigation aids and it is very reassuring to have this system at the ready in a minute or two. The rate of turn function is really valuable in a variety of situations, and to have it offered in such a compact unit is great.
With regards to training, the ability in SEAiq to record voyages in full and play them back, alone or in review with a senior pilot afterwards, has been invaluable.
On solo trips, it is reassuring to know that having my PPU onboard each time is great insurance against risk. And I've been advised that if I were to be involved in a pilotage incident, failure to have a PPU onboard can be deemed a form of negligence.
SEAiq also allows easy storage of recorded tracks that not only allows easy review, but also provides a body of evidence of successfully conducted pilotages.
Whilst the unit isn't of the calibre of large, very expensive systems that allow full independence from a vessels AIS and precision GPS multi antenna receivers, it works well and reliably, and is more than adequate for many vessels outside the very large, complex and high risk exposure manoeuvres, and vessels that demand higher spec equipment.
What makes the GyroPilot with an iPad so fantastic is the sustainability of use. That is, with their very compact, light and quick setup, GyroPilot makes regular, everyday usage a reality in a way that the higher spec, bulky and heavy systems never can. And with reduced setup time, there is less risk of losing situational awareness.
In regards to economics, GyroPilot with SEAiq and a iPad has made it possible for individuals, particularly trainees, to use a high quality PPU system for thousands of dollars less than comparable systems. It's worth remembering that not all ports provide PPU systems to every pilot.
- Captain Ian Brokenshire, Marine Pilot, Darwin Port Corp.