Surgical training in the USA and Europe has undergone radical changes with respect to working patterns, culture and limitation on working hours in recent years. Many surgeons who trained prior to the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) duty-hour restrictions have expressed concern that surgeons currently exiting from training may not have had the same operative experience as in the pre-ACGME era. These concerns are particularly relevant in vascular surgery with the prevalence of endovascular therapies reducing the exposure of trainees to more traditional open vascular operations. Simulation has been used in many non-medical fields for technical skill acquisition prior to real-life performance and in recent years has been identified as a useful tool in surgical training. This article highlights the growing need for open vascular simulation as exposure to complex open vascular operations diminishes. The culture of, 'see one, do one, teach one' is fast becoming replaced by 'do many on a simulator, attain competency then perform under supervision in the operating room'. This will only be successfully achieved by the widespread incorporation of open vascular simulation into current vascular training programs if work hours remain limited and endovascular modalities continue to replace traditional open operations.