The United Kingdom's first full field-of-view ship simulator was unveiled on Wednesday by Liverpool John Moores University.
The 360-degree simulator and IT suite is housed in a purpose-built centre next to the Cammell Laird shipbuilding site on Merseyside.
The Pounds 1.6 million Lairdside Maritime Centre, partially funded through an economic regeneration fund grant, will be managed by the School of Engineering, which has a strong record in maritime education and research.
Bert Kunze, the centre director, said that the advanced full visual image provided by the simulator could simulate a variety of ports, using a combination of computer graphics and 12 video projectors.
At the centre of the simulator is a five-tonne replica of a ship's bridge that will give mariners a realistic and risk-free environment. A variety of ships can be replicated, and the time of day, roughness of the sea and height of the tide can be altered.
"We've been able to train mariners to navigate in the open sea, but this offers them the chance to handle ships in ports.
"For example, using our Liverpool exercise area, it's possible for them to start in Eastham docks and navigate down the Mersey and out as far as Anglesey," Mr Kunze said.
"We've had a lot of interest from the industry as the centre will provide a middle step between training and sailing without the risk of any damage to ships or the environment."