Ship manoeuvring simulators

The ship manoeuvring simulator is an instrument to test waterways in a virtual environment. Flanders Hydraulics Research has three simulators: SIM 360+, SIM 225 and Lara.

SIM 360+ and SIM 225 allow sailing simulations with various types of ships such as seagoing vessels, coasters and tugboats. Lara is a ship manoeuvring simulator specifically for inland vessels.

In a simulator, ship manoeuvres are simulated as follows:

  • motions of the ship can be observed by the instruments on the navigation bridge and through the windows (exterior visuals);
  • the navigator observes how the ship behaves;
  • the navigator uses adaptive commands (rudder, telegraph, tugboat assistance) to steer the ship;
  • the forces on the ship are calculated (mathematical ship manoeuvring model);
  • the speed and new position of the ship are determined and displayed on the instruments and through the exterior visuals.¬†


The simulators are used for research and manoeuvre training.

When used for research, the experienced navigators are provided a manoeuvring task. Afterwards, a statistical analysis of the manoeuvres takes place. This allows the condition to be evaluated and, for example, to estimate the safe navigation path width. We conduct various types of simulation research to:

  • design ports and waterways;
  • optimize nautical procedures;
  • determine the limits for safe traffic (risk analysis).

Manoeuvring training for pilots and navigators entails practising specific manoeuvres.

Ship manoeuvring simulator