What is The Nautical Institute?

The Nautical Institute is the international professional body for qualified seafarers and others with an interest in nautical matters. We provide a wide range of services to enhance the professional standing and knowledge of members who are drawn from all sectors of the maritime world.

Our work is available to the whole industry to help improve the safety and efficiency of shipping. Our monthly journal Seaways, books, web services and projects help to provide real solutions to problems facing the industry and provide mariners' input to decision makers nationally and internationally.

Our aim is to provide the strongest possible professional focus, dedicated to improving standards of those in control of seagoing craft, while maintaining the Institute as an international centre of nautical excellence.

The formation of Nautical Institute Branches and other groupings is actively encouraged.

The Nautical Institute is a thriving international professional body for qualified mariners with over 40 branches worldwide and more than 7,000 members in over 110 countries.

Nautical Institute membership is open to all nationalities - in grades appropriate to qualifications. The benefits of joining the Institute are many and include professional recognition, receipt of regular and up-to-date information through Seaways and discounts on Nautical Institute publications, conferences and seminars.

What is the Lloyd's Register Foundation?

The Lloyd's Register Foundation (LRF), a UK registered charity, was set up in 2012. It invests in science, engineering and technology for public benefit, worldwide.

As sole shareholder of The Lloyd’s Register Group Limited, a professional services organisation working mainly in the transportation and energy sectors, LRF is funded by the profits of this subsidiary and by the income from its own investments. It is developing the work of The Lloyd’s Register Educational Trust (The LRET), a charity set up in 2003, which joined the Foundation through a charitable merger in 2013. The history of the LRF name dates back to 1760 through its subsidiary, an organisation with a long tradition of public benefit, with safety at the heart of its work.


Registered charity no. 1145988

What is the Human Element?

There is no accepted international definition of the term ‘the human element’.

The IMO, through its Resolution A.947(23) - Human Element Vision, Principles and Goals for the Organization – refers to the human element as:

‘A complex multi-dimensional issue that affects maritime safety, security and marine environmental protection. It involves the entire spectrum of human activities performed by ships. crews, shore-based management, regulatory bodies, recognized organizations, shipyards, legislators, and other relevant parties, all of whom need to co-operate to address human element issues effectively.’

In the maritime context, it can be taken to embrace anything that influences the interaction between a human and any other human, system or machine onboard ship.

Although the phrase may be fairly recent in origin, the impact of people in the maritime safety system has been with us as long as mankind has sailed the seas. Nevertheless, the particular issues that this presents are not constant. The people, systems and machines have changed, not only through the increase in technology, but also because of the need for operators to maintain the competitive edge by reducing running costs. This has resulted in a reduction in manning scales and the employment of multinational, multicultural and multilingual crews.

Furthermore, the increasing reliance upon complex systems in merchant ship operations places certain demands and constraints on the human element, not least in terms of the competence of the user and of the organizational and physical environment in which he/she is required to operate.

IMO Resolution A.947(23) recognizes ‘the need for increased focus on human-related activities in the safe operation of ships, and the need to achieve and maintain high standards of safety, security and environmental protection for the purpose of significantly reducing maritime casualties”; and that “human element issues have been assigned high priority in the work programme of the Organization because of the prominent role of the human element in the prevention of maritime casualties.’

The human element is a critical feature of all aspects of ship or system design and operation. Human element considerations do not just start when a ship is launched and end when it is sold on or scrapped – they exist throughout its lifecycle, including at the conception, design and build stages.

What prompted the Alert! human element initiative?

The Nautical Institute and The Lloyd’s Register Foundation recognised the need to improve the awareness of human element issues across the maritime industry.

The aim of the Alert! project has been to improve the application of human element principles in the design, construction and operation of ships.

The primary objectives of the project were to promote the need for human element awareness at a well-considered professional level, and to explain the relevance of the human element to ship operations. To this end, it has provided a forum for like-minded people to share ideas, through the Alert! bulletins, and through the website.

What do the Alert! bulletins offer?

The International Maritime Human Element Bulletin - Alert! - was a four-monthly, 8-page newsletter. Its aim was to capture the attention of maritime professionals across the industry and raise their awareness of human element issues. The bulletins were written by, and for, maritime professionals from a broad interdisciplinary cross-section of maritime and other industries.

The articles were kept deliberately brief and, in many cases, linked to longer articles, papers and presentations held in the Alert! website database or in other websites. The articles are not overly technical and have been written in a style that is understandable to a multinational readership.

Much thought was given to quality and imagination in the construction of the graphical centrespread sections, in order to provide the reader with a pictorial summary of some of the key issues to be considered within each subject area. These centrespreads are downloadable as stand-alone items, so that they can be printed and displayed at the workstation or used for presentation purposes.

You can download all previously published editions, illustrations and centrespread features from the Alert! website.

What has the initiative achieved?

In addition to this project raising the awareness of the key issues, additional benefits include the establishment of a standard language and definitions within the industry, the fostering of dialogue to discuss best practices and the development of a common approach to their application.

Who has the Alert! project been aimed at?

The aim was to capture the attention, and raise the awareness, of maritime professionals across the industry. The project was international in scope and has sought to represent the views of all sectors of the maritime industry - mariners, engineers, naval architects, port operators, regulators, insurers and other professionals.

What does this website offer?

The aims of this website are to provide ongoing access to the Alert! bulletins, and to host a common database for information about human element issues pertinent to the shipping industry and to add greater depth to the features in each of the bulletins.

The website contains all previously published editions of the Alert! bulletin - for online viewing and/or download. Stand-alone copies of the centrespread diagrams and illustrations from each issue of the bulletin can also be downloaded.

The online database provides a structure for holding information about human element issues pertinent to the shipping industry, in one location, and with a comprehensive search feature. Documents stored within the database include academic papers, technical papers, magazine articles, presentations and letters to the editor.

Contributors are invited to submit academic papers, technical papers, magazine articles, presentations, letters etc that are likely to add value to the understanding and application of human element issues, to: r[email protected]

Further information on submitting documents for the database can be found on the Contribute to Alert! page.

Can I use content from Alert!, including the illustrations and centrespreads?

Many people have commented on our centrespreads and illustrations, so we have made them accessible online. If you wish to use any of them for presentation purposes, or to illustrate any human element-related paper or article, please include the following acknowledgement:

'Courtesy of Alert! - The International Maritime Human Element Bulletin.'

All material contained in the database may be downloaded free of charge without requiring specific permission. Authorisation to reproduce any material contained in the database, which is identified as being the copyright of a third party, must be obtained directly from the copyright holders concerned.

Can I get hold of back copies of the Alert! bulletins?

PDF versions of back copies of all the Alert! bulletins can be freely downloaded from this website.

A single pdf compendium of all 40 editions can be requested (free of charge) from [email protected]