Take 10: Issue 35

09 Feb 2024 The Navigator

Dynamic positioning offers many exciting career opportunities. Read on for ten key insights into this take 10 highly skilled area of operations.

1 Openings and opportunities

DP operations are a specialist skill-set that will enable navigators to expand their opportunities to work in many different areas of shipping. It requires a much more advanced skillset than the standard officer of the watch ticket.

2 Wide Scope

As technology becomes cheaper, more ships are being built ‘DP ready’. DP technology is used in offshore energy, diving support, cable/pipe laying and even cruise and yachts that need to ‘anchor’ without harming the seabed.

3 Feedback and control

The DP system measures the six ‘degrees of freedom’ – heave, pitch, roll, surge, sway yaw – and uses thruster power to counter them and hold the vessel in place or on track.

4 Redundancy and resilience

DP systems depend on redundancy for resilience. This can include separate engine rooms, bridges, electrical supplies, computer controllers and even multiple positioning sensors that do not rely on GNSS systems, which share a common weakness.

5 Human element

Although DP is essentially an automated technical system, human involvement is absolutely vital. DP operators must know how to use the system safely and correctly and what to do if something goes wrong.

6 Risk Management

DP is often used in high-risk activities. This risk is managed by reliable technical systems and skilled human operators with advanced training and competencies – and it is important to maintain those skills.

7 Setting the standard

DP training is not covered in STCW (part A) training because the industry works together to self-regulate to a very high standard. The industry sets its own standards, accredits training centres and certifies its own operators.

8 Back to school

Learning lessons from incidents plays an important role in DP operations. A robust safety programme from the International Marine Contractors Association (IMCA) allows incidents to be reported, analysed and corrective action shared with the industry.

9 How can I become a DP Operator?

You will need a combination of training courses, validated seatime on DP vessels, assessment, and opportunities to maintain your skills through CPD and revalidation. www.nialexisplatform.org

10 Mentoring

Ask experienced DP operators questions about the systems and their experiences working on them (pick your moment well, though!) For experienced DP operators, share your knowledge with others to improve overall safety.

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