The increasing need for qualified and competent ROV pilots has seen the rise of schools around the world. A new ADAS accredited ROV training school has opened up in South Australia called South Australian Underwater Training School (SAUTS). This new school sets a new standard as the only ADAS accredited ROV school in Australia.
SAUTS isn't new to the commercial underwater industry having been in the commercial diver training business since 1996. Managing Director Martin Phillips, whose diving carrier began in 1968, saw the need for a new ROV training school. Opening with its first class in April 2009, SAUTS had five students from across Australia with various trade backgrounds.
The facility is set in Burra, South Australia. Located at a remote fresh water quarry SAUTS has built an impressive training facility. Hi-tech classrooms, barge and underwater structures offer students a well-rounded education. Certain requirements are placed on ADAS accredited training schools such as ten hours ROV piloting time. SAUTS ensures all students that pass through the program receive at least fifteen hours with eighteen to twenty-three more likely. An instructor directly supervises most hours. Classes are limited to eight students keeping the instructor to student ratio low.
Training includes technical ROV training, sonar, positioning, maintenance and piloting in various scenarios. SeaBotix Australia employee David Whillas has more than ten years of offshore and inshore ROV experience both with WROVs and MiniROVs. David was on site as the primary instructor for the three-week course. Students had the opportunity to pilot a Seaeye Falcon with manipulator as well as a four and five thruster SeaBotix LBV.
Students were expected to become proficient operators of all the ROV systems in various conditions. Tasks were given to navigate using sonar, interpret sonar imagery, identify the ROVs location using the positioning system, pilot the ROV smoothly and use the manipulators. David comments "the students performed well with all systems and learned quickly".
Students commented, "Plenty of 1 on 1 with the instructor, very impressed with the facility" and "Thoroughly enjoyable, loved piloting both ROVs".
With the successful completion of the first class there are three to four scheduled per year depending on demand. Students are required to have some form of relative experience/background and should contact sauts[at]bigpond[dot]com for more information.
For more information on SAUTS visit this link.