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Augmented reality (AR) is a highly advanced technology that merges the real world with a digital one, thereby creating a mixed reality. So far, AR has proven effective in revolutionizing major global sectors like entertainment, sports, automotive, and healthcare. Current trends indicate that the shipping industry may be next in line to adopt the technology and take a giant leap towards digitalization.

In theory, augmented reality has the potential to simplify shipping processes, ensure effective supply chain management, and provide maritime stakeholders with enhanced remote capabilities. Below, we highlight three shipping operations that will benefit the most from the innovation of AR:


Augmented reality can be adopted to improve training exercises for newbie crew members and engineers. It can be used to simulate real-life experiences and create a realistic training environment, making learning easier and more immersive for participants.

Furthermore, simulated exercises do not carry the inherent threat of real-life training, allowing trainees practice without the fear of injury. Complex and risky situations can also be developed using augmented reality, and participants can improve their skill-level and response under pressure, all in relative safety.

In 2019, the UK government proposed legislation that would allow the use of virtual and augmented reality for seafarer training. Singapore has also launched a Centre of Excellence in Maritime Safety, a partnership between the Singapore Maritime Institute and Singapore Polytechnic to leverage AR for training and development.

Maintenance and Vessel Inspection

When a device is faulty, the owner can contact the manufacturer on the phone and connect with a technician to troubleshoot the problem. Now imagine that instead of a phone call, both parties connect over an AR-powered platform that allows the technician to see the device through the owner’s eyes. Imagine that the device’s diagnostic information may be displayed somewhere on the screen, providing a full-featured experience.

With ships, remote maintenance and inspections can be set up in the manner described above. An officer on the vessel puts on smart glasses that transmit everything they see to a specialist in a different location. Thus, checks can be carried out, minor faults can be fixed, and emergency inspections can be conducted remotely.

Shipbuilding and Design

Augmented reality can also be applied to shipbuilding. In the early design and development stages, virtual models can replace physical ones, making it easier to add new features and test their viability. The models can be analyzed, upgrades can be implemented, and designs can be altered quickly and in a cost-effective manner. In addition to enhancing the design and development process, AR models make it possible for shipbuilders to achieve better results with less effort and in a shorter time.

Major applications of augmented reality for the maritime industry are still in development. However, shipowners can now use the technology to facilitate virtual tours, remote maintenance, inspections, and emergency repairs.

SEAHARMONY, a leading provider of technology-based maritime solutions, currently has a functional augmented reality platform. To learn more about how you can leverage the platform, please visit the SEAHARMONY website or send inquiries to sales@seaharmony.co.uk