Oil and gas exploration in the oceans requires the use of remotely operated vehicles (ROVs). These ROVs are used to inspect pipelines, to test the structural soundness of offshore platforms and for underwater ocean exploration. There is a growing worldwide need for qualified ROV pilots for operating robotic equipment; for maintaining and repairing of equipment and for interacting with clients. There are only a few ROV training schools worldwide and they are located in the U.S., Canada and Britain.
The Institute of Remotely Operated Vehicles in Houston and Galveston
The Institute of Remotely Operated Vehicles in Houston and Galveston offers an eight-week course in training ROV pilots. It is allied with the Applied Research Laboratories at the University of Texas at Austin and with the Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution in Fort Pierce, Florida among other academic institutions. As part of their hands-on training, ROV students design, build and test a robot vehicle and learn to manipulate it, all done on a specified budget. Students are also exposed to job opportunities with such organisations as oil and gas companies, survey companies and deepwater telecommunication companies. Federal agencies such as the Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency also use ROV operators.
The Marine Institute, Newfoundland, Canada
The Marine Institute in St. John's, Newfoundland has a nine-month program that consists of 13 weeks of ROV training in all aspects from mechanical, electrical, electronic as well as upgrading of skills. The course also factors in safety training and ensures that all students have work placements for eight weeks. Potential students must be graduates of an electric, mechanical, electronics or marine engineering degree and must undergo an ROV aptitude test.
The Marine Institute - High School Program
In addition to its nine-month ROV operator program,The Marine Institute also offers a high school Technician Diploma in Remotely Operated Vehicles. This is a two-year program geared to students who are looking at careers that join engineering with computer and science technology that is marine based. Students learn through simulations how to navigate ROVs, the principles of hydraulics and electronics among other things as well as safety in the workplace. Graduates will be ready to get certified as ROV Pilot/Technicians Level 2.
The Underwater Centre
The Underwater Centre in Fort William, Scotland is a commercial diving school where students operate ROVs in a realistic open-water setting. The Centre has three types of ROV courses. The ROV Pilot Technician Course is intensive and three weeks long. Students need to already possess a fundamental knowledge of electronics. Students practice by flying one of the ROVs and carrying out such tasks as inspecting pipeline and oil rig structures. The Premium ROV course runs for seven weeks and provides even more extensive training than the three-week program. The Premium students learn electronic circuit design, how to diagnose problems and fix them, they gain flying experience as well as learning how to maintain the ROV and to keep it in good working condition. A new qualification called the SQA Customised Award in ROV Subsea Support Skills is a further intensification of the skills acquired in the previous programs.
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