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Simulation, Research, and Development Maritime Training Center

The Panama Canal Center of Simulation, Research and Maritime Development (SIDMAR) offers the necessary tools for maritime industry personnel to achieve and maintain optimal efficiency, safety, and leadership levels.

This center adheres to the most stringent quality standards necessary for the Canal’s operation, utilizing learning techniques geared towards safety, and adjusted to meet worldwide maritime regulations and standards.

Our courses cover a variety of vessel types and scenarios, including emergency response, collision avoidance, and navigation in challenging weather conditions. Our experienced instructors are dedicated to helping participants develop the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in the maritime industry.


SIDMAR is responsible for training Pilots, Tug Masters, Maritime Engineers, and other maritime personnel who work on board various types of vessels. We also offer seminars and familiarization with the Operations of the Panama Canal. Our services ensure that the maritime industry achieves and maintains optimum efficiency, quality, safety, and leadership. We are committed to meeting our clients’ needs, providing outstanding services.


Our training centers are operated by specialized personnel, guided by a group of instructor pilots who are active in piloting tasks in the Panama Canal and are trained to provide the highest level of training and advice.


Our classrooms are equipped with the necessary technology to host briefing and debriefing sessions for the exercises performed in the simulators. Our instructors are highly qualified and experienced pilots, with many years of practical experience. The Canal’s vast maritime operations also provide valuable real-world context for our training courses.

The training facility is part of the pilots’ training program at the Canal, as it provides support and training to other professionals outside the Panama Canal.

Our combination of manned scale model ships and Full Mission bridge simulators provides the highest level of quality training for the operation of the Canal.

SIDMAR has an innovative electronic simulation system for ship maneuvering, at the forefront of the new technologies and trends in the maritime industry.

A mathematical model that recreates and anticipates the ship’s behavior, based on the hydrodynamic, aerodynamic, and physical environment in which it navigates.

In terms of training, this is perhaps the simulator’s most important component.

The realism of the ship’s behavior depends on the effectiveness and application of the lessons learned.

Each one of the three SIDMAR simulators has a 360° visual display, including the 360° Full Mission simulator, which has a floor projection system.

The simulation bridges are equipped with the technological instruments necessary for maneuvering in more than 50 types of ships with different propulsion, steering and positioning systems.


Our state-of-the-art bridge simulator boasts a distinctive floor projection system, with a projected diameter of approximately 15 meters and a height of 4 meters.

This full-fledged 360-degree bridge simulator is equipped with a one-of-a-kind floor projection system, making it ideal for mooring procedures and pilot training. Its integration of bridge like wings with the wheelhouse, along with its cockpit bridge reminiscent of those found on most modern vessels, sets it apart from the rest.


Full Mission

Summit Manned Model

The Panama Canal Manned Model Training Center has manned model ships at a 1:25 scale and with an area of 15.5 hectares, including two lakes connected by a narrow channel, simulating the Culebra Cut. This represents a true to scale reproduction of Locks, docks, and channels of the Canal.

This facility consists of two artificial lakes connected by a channel that was designed and constructed to exactly represent the actual Culebra Cut, including its alignment and the lengths, widths, depths, and headings of each of its reaches.

Its deep-water zones resembe the Atlantic breakwater approach, along with various docking piers, the Neopanamax and Panamax locks, and a current tunnel.

The ship models are the same types of vessels that transit the new locks today: a bulk carrier, a tanker, a container carrier, and an LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) tanker.

This is a physical, to-scale representation of bodies of water and several structures, providing pilots with essential training to improve acquired responsiveness and maneuverability skills for Neo Panamax ships. At the center, real effects are replicated at a reduced scale without the risk of damaging full sized vessels.

The physics of applied forces and hydrodynamics are factors that affect ship handling maneuvers. The hydrodynamic effects experienced during flow interaction and the physical phenomenon perceived during specific maneuvers over non-uniform and vorticial effects provided by currents generated in a navigation tunnel, and different analysis in narrow spaces, are simulated in the center.

This training center arrived hand in hand with the Third Set of Locks to address the need to safely handle Neo-Panamax ships through the expanded Canal.

Over 17,000 ships have passed through the Neopanamax locks: a testament to the efficiency of the Panama Canal pilot training program.

This facility is the only one of its kind in Latin America, and one of the few in the world.

Simulator Course

Summit Courses

Registration: Please complete the registration clicking here:


Capitán Guillermo Manfredo
Pilot Instructor

Capitán Peter Podest
Pilot Instructor

Capitán Rubén Gaitán
Pilot Instructor

Capitán Fermin Reyes
Tug Captain Instructor

Capitán Lew Stabler
Tug Captain Instructor

Ricardo González
Small Craft Instructor

Irving Chiquilani
Small Craft Instructor

Amado Castillo
Small Craft Instructor

Hans Sollberger
Small Craft Instructor

Class schedules

  • SIDMAR-SUMMIT: Classes normally start from 6:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
  • SIDMAR-BALBOA: Classes normally start from 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
  • From Monday to Friday.

Time and weather

  • Panama has a tropical maritime climate. It is warm and humid at sea level. The rainy season is from mid-April to mid-December.

Appropriate clothing for SIDMAR-SUMMIT

  • As the training takes place outdoors, it is recommended to use sun protection and a hat.
  • Visitors must wear low-heeled shoes that cover the entire foot. The use of any type of footwear that leaves a part of the foot exposed is prohibited.



Telephone: (507) 272-8550 / 8031
Fax: (507) 272-8222