For many mariners operating ships in ice is a foreign concept. Most mariners are unlikely to encounter sea or glacial ice in their careers at sea. Those that do so, soon discover that operating in ice demands specialized knowledge and experience. Mariners must be aware of ice physics and movement, power and manoeuverability in ice, different considerations that apply in passage planning and human factors related to cold weather operations. Even the possibility of the presence of ice during a passage can be cause for delay, rerouting or, if not handled judiciously, damage to the ship.

If not accustomed to frequent routing through ice, the mariner may be daunted by the prospect. Numerous resources exist which the mariner can consult for information that will aid in ensuring a prospective passage through ice covered waters is completed safely. The sections in this library will provide mariners with guidance on some of the basics of operating in ice and where to look for more detailed knowledge resources.

If you would like to contribute to this sections, or are keen to know more on Ice navigation please email [email protected]

The mariner’s attention is directed also to two Nautical Institute publications, “Handling Ships in Ice” and “Polar Ships Operations – A Practical Guide” Click on the icons on the right to see more information on the books.

Ice Navigator Project
As part of The Nautical Institute’s objective of promoting best practice at sea, the Ice Navigator Project is an ongoing plan to develop international standards for training and certification of mariners as Ice Navigators.



The project aims to put in place Ice Navigator Training Accreditation and a recognized standard of certification for bridge watchkeeping officers in the specialized skills, knowledge and competency required to safely operate ships in ice infested waters. More information will be provided through the Ice Navigator Project button.