Onboard Competency Assessment for Navigation and Engineers

The Nautical Institute's Onboard Competency Assessment for Navigation and Engineers course has been designed to provide industry guidance for course participants who engage in the assessment of seafarers and carry out behavioural competency assessments on-board under voyage conditions.

Developed by the NI based on members’ experiences and industry best practice it references IMO Model Course 1.30; section A-1/6 of the STCW Code; TMSA 3 – Element 3 and section 4.20 of Guide to Safe Container Operations by Container Ship Safety forum.


The first two days of the course are intended to build on the technical competency of senior navigation officers and engineers, it will give them the skills, techniques and confidence to assess and record behavioural competency in support of company operations, to improve quality and reduce risk.


The third day of the course is primarily intended for those conducting in service assessments of the behavioural and navigation/engineering competence of seafarers on board ships.

Topics covered

  • Differentiating assessments and audits
  • Shipboard assessment systems
  • Competence based assessments
  • Onboard assessment process
  • Preparation for the assessment
  • Pre-assessment process
  • Performance observation and recording
  • Evaluation of the process and determination of the assessment outcome
  • Extent of assessments
  • Assessing Human behavioural competency
  • Assessment debriefs.
  • Navigation, engineering, cargo work, mooring incidents and their causes
  • Assessment and SMS

Course aims and objectives

  • Focus on the principles of developing and implementing a shipboard assessment system and is not intended to provide comprehensive assessor training
  • Explain the value of having a variety of soft skills and behaviours in a team
  • Expand on the development of a competence-based assessment system, to identify the behaviour and attitude associated with competence and select performance measures and standards
  • Deal with the techniques of conducting assessments and developing performance improvement plans
  • Explain how to prepare a systematic approach to the navigation assessment
  • Explain how to prepare an effective report on the standard of critical shipboard operations found during assessments.

A participant successfully completing the course will be able to:

  • Administer, supervise and monitor assessment of seafarer behavioural competence in accordance with the provisions of industry best practices
  • Familiar with responsibilities expected of assessors within their field of expertise,
  • Understand general concepts to develop a suitable assessment system for particular type of ship
  • Apply international provisions relating to the training and assessment of officers and ratings on board ships
  • Apply international provisions in the context of national laws
  • Understand the compliance elements of safe navigation
  • Identify the source of best practices of safe navigation
  • Determine effective assessment methodologies
  • Organise, administer and conduct onboard assessment
  • Comprehend the importance of soft skills and the human element in the assessment process.

Minimum entry qualification requirements

Senior officers or managers performing duties as internal assessors. Applications will also be considered from applicants who can demonstrate an equivalent level of professional service in the maritime sector.

Who should attend?

  • Marine and technical superintendents who are required to carry out internal navigation audits or assessments onboard company vessels
  • Seagoing senior deck officers and engineers
  • Prospective onboard assessors
  • Marine consultants and surveyors who need to demonstrate that they are trained to carry out internal or external independent assessments for companies (e.g. TMSA, P&I & Container Ship Safety Forum),
  • Designated persons ashore (DPA)
  • Operational shipmanagers.

About us

The Nautical Institute is an international representative body for maritime professionals involved in the control of seagoing ships. It provides a wide range of services to enhance the professional standing and knowledge of members, who are drawn from all sectors of the maritime world. Founded in 1972, it has over 50 branches worldwide and some 7,000 members in more than 120 countries.