Welcome to the International Marine Simulator Forum

March 31, 2024

Almost fifty years ago, a small group of leading maritime institutions, operating a handful of prototype ship simulators, came together to investigate the use of simulation as a tool for education, training and research. The aviation industry had just adapted simulation, could the same thing be done in the maritime industry?

The group formed the International Marine Simulation Forum (IMSF) and held its first meeting in 1978. Since its formation in 1978, the IMSF has been at the forefront of advancing the use of simulation into the maritime industry by providing a forum for the exchange of ideas; developing simulation related standards; and collaborating with other technical and regulatory bodies.

IMSF members represent a broad cross-section of leading innovators in the marine simulation industry and include a unique blend of practitioners, scientists, and technology developers. The group meets every year and organizes the MARSIM Conference once every three (3) years.

The proceedings from the MARSIM Conference provide a valuable source of information documenting the growth of the industry as well as providing roadmaps for future development. In the early years of the IMSF, the focus was on defining the minimum standards for simulators used in seafarer training and certification. Much of our early work has been incorporated into the STCW Convention.

More recently, the IMSF has explored the use of simulation in research including engineering, human factors and training effectiveness. Much of our recent work has enabled a broader application of simulation within the maritime industry, including the creation of digital twins.

The rapid digitization of our industry is triggering new areas of investigation for the IMSF. Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, Artificial Intelligence, Web-based Simulation, and Telepresence in Automated Systems are all rapidly emerging simulation applications that the IMSF will consider.

If you are not already a member of the IMSF, I invite you to join our organization and participate in our events. There is much work to do, and our outputs will have enhanced validity if we can engage with those who are driving innovation in the field of simulation.

Capt. Anthony Patterson, Master Mariner
Chair, International Marine Simulation Forum