Feasibility Studies at SCI


SCI provides professional engineering and research services, cost-effectively uncovering the strengths and weaknesses of proposed new ventures.

Balancing the Seamen’s Church Institute’s (SCI) goal of promoting a safer environment for mariners, our Center for Maritime Education performs feasibility studies for various government, commercial and private entities, coordinating with captains and pilots, federal and state agencies, and engineering firms. Most of SCI’s studies deal with projects impacting navigation, including waterfront development and bridge spans.

SCI feasibility studies can save millions of dollars in project costs. One engineering firm estimates that an initial study at SCI saved $50M and a follow-up study saved a further $10–15M. Feasibility studies not only make construction easier, they also satisfy safety requirements of industry representatives and the Coast Guard. Potential savings substantially offset the costs of feasibility studies, especially when conducted at SCI.

At the end of each study, SCI produces a final report documenting our findings to assist in the process of planning and construction.

Utilizing simulated geo-specific visual databases and ship models, SCI assists architects, planners and other project stakeholders by leveraging the power of real-time simulation to examine

  • New port designs
  • Pier or channel modifications
  • Suitability of a design for specific vessels or vessel types
  • Maritime Vessel Hydrodynamic Prototyping

SCI’s studies carefully examine opportunities, challenges and the prospects for success.

Beginning from an assortment of engineering and photographic data sources, SCI staff can assemble a site-specific visual database of any study area. Our visual databases consist of a three-dimensional visual representation of the existing site as well as proposed design alternatives. In addition to a 3-D representation, vessel models utilized in the simulation have realistic hydrodynamic properties, allowing them to perform and maneuver just like their real-world counterparts.

With the power of SCI’s Maritime Simulators in Houston, TX and Paducah, KY, ship pilots can perform various maneuvers within a virtual environment, navigating through proposed site alternatives. Throughout the exercise, pilots can test navigability through multiple situations, taking into account variables such as medium or high flow currents, day or night situations, fully-loaded barges or empty barges, and upriver or downriver scenarios. After each run, captains and pilots debrief, commenting on the ease or difficulty of the scenario and the safety margins that could be expected with new construction in the area.

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