Captain a boat? Yes, you can at the revamped Singapore Maritime Gallery

Visitors can expect an interactive and immersive experience as they walk among the new exhibits - from interactive games to workshop spaces - at the refreshed Singapore Maritime Gallery, which reopened on April 17.
Visitors to the refreshed Singapore Maritime Gallery at Marina South Pier can get to command a ship via a simulator, as well as go "ship spotting" by pointing a tablet at the models on display. There is also a resource corner at the gallery, which underwe
Visitors to the refreshed Singapore Maritime Gallery at Marina South Pier can get to command a ship via a simulator, as well as go "ship spotting" by pointing a tablet at the models on display. There is also a resource corner at the gallery, which underwent a nearly $2 million overhaul. ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

Simulator of a ship bridge one highlight of revamped Singapore Maritime Gallery

There is no need for a licence to captain a boat at the revamped Singapore Maritime Gallery.

The gallery boasts a simulator of a ship bridge - the room from where a vessel is commanded - where visitors can steer a ship through bad weather or in the dark of night to complete missions.

The simulator is a highlight of the 1,000 sqm gallery, which has undergone a nearly $2 million, nine- month overhaul.

The gallery, located at Marina South Pier, tells the story of Singapore's transformation from a small trading post into a global hub port and international maritime centre.

First opened in 2012, its contents have been updated to reflect developments in the sector, such as plans for the Tuas port which will consolidate existing container terminals into a mega port.

  • Free musical and maritime exhibition

  • Watch a free musical and tour a maritime exhibition as part of Singapore Maritime Week.

    Organised by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), the annual event - held from April 22 to 28 - brings together the international maritime community for a week of business forums and networking sessions.

    It has programmes for the public too. A musical about the aspirations of a young girl pursuing a career in the maritime industry will be held at the VivoCity Amphitheatre at 7pm on April 22 and 23. Admission is free.

    A free maritime exhibition titled We Are Maritime Singapore will be held at Marina Square's central atrium throughout the week. It will showcase the industry's different vocations, and new and emerging technologies through simulators and interactive panels.

    On April 23, the MPA will hold the Amazing Maritime Challenge, a series of games and challenges which start and end at Marina Square Outdoor Plaza. Registration is closed.

    Leading up to the week, it had organised guided tours to maritime facilities such as the Raffles Lighthouse, with the last tour last Sunday. The 34 events - a record number - are expected to draw close to 50,000 people.

    Melissa Lin

There are also more interactive elements. Visitors can go "ship spotting" by pointing a tablet at the models on display. Information about the particular ship will then show up on the tablet, through the use of augmented reality technology.

Two new spaces in the gallery have been set aside for events such as exhibitions and workshops, and for a resource corner where visitors can access maritime-related materials and publications.

At its official reopening yesterday, Senior Minister of State for Transport Josephine Teo noted that in 1967, Singapore had to make a difficult choice: build conventional port facilities that handle cargo of all shapes and sizes, or invest in a costly container port, even though the use of containers was in its infancy and there may be no demand for container shipping here.

Decision-makers took the risk and built the Tanjong Pagar container terminal and, today, the maritime industry accounts for 7 per cent of Singapore's gross domestic product and employs more than 170,000 people.

"Singapore was not born a maritime nation," said Mrs Teo, who is also Senior Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and in the Prime Minister's Office. "We became one, not by chance but by taking calculated risks and (through) constant innovation. How did it happen? How shall we chart the way forward?"

The gallery may help answer these questions, she added.

Mr Andrew Tan, chief executive of the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore, said the refreshed gallery "will allow us to reach out to younger Singaporeans and interest them not only in our heritage, but also a career in the maritime industry".

The gallery is open from 9am to 6pm from Tuesdays to Sundays and is closed on Mondays unless it is a public holiday. Admission is free.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 18, 2017, with the headline 'Captain a boat? Yes, you can at gallery'. Print Edition | Subscribe