All you need to know to become a Dynamic Positioning Operator (DPO)

Learn how to become a DP Operator in 5 easy steps from our expert.

If you are a Mariner looking to upskill or you work in a support role ashore, this article has essential information for you.

The Nautical Institute Dynamic Positioning Operator Training and Certification scheme has undergone many changes in its lifetime. We will quickly unpack the urban myths and show you how to get qualified.

The Offshore Simulation Centre in Perth is the only accredited Nautical Institute Accredited DP training Centre in Australia and we talk to our Senior DP Instructor Andy Rogers, about the structure of the Nautical Institute’s Dynamic Positioning Operators training and certification scheme and he tells us how to become a DP Operator in 5 easy steps and how to avoid the common mistakes.

 

Bridge Simulator Controls

STEP ONE – ATTEND THE DP INDUCTION COURSE

The first step is to attend a DP Induction course at a Nautical Institute accredited training Centre.

What are the minimum entry requirements?

Following the 2010 Manila amendments to the STCW Convention and Code, The Nautical Institute has implemented the following criteria for entry into the DP Operators training scheme:

The minimum qualification is set at STCW Regulation II/1 ‐ II/2 ‐ II/3 Deck, Regulation III/1 – III /2 – III/3 – III/6 Engine and Regulation III/6 for ETO’s

Details of Australian state qualifications that are acceptable, can be found HERE:

What will I learn?

During the 4.5 day course you will gain the basic knowledge of Dynamic Positioning, the principles and practical use of the DP system. The course is completed by sitting an online examination.

On successful completion, you will be issued a Nautical Institute DP Operators training logbook

    Download Course details here 

 

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View looking out bridge simulation

STEP TWO – COMPLETE 60 DAYS DP SEA TIME

Step two entails you being employed on a DP classed vessel after the DP Induction Course for a minimum of 60 days.

During this time the vessel must be involved in DP operations and you must have been involved in those operations with a qualified DP Operator for a minimum of two hours per day, in order for it to be counted as part of your 60 days.

During step two, you must keep a record of your DP days in the logbook and complete all the items in the task sections.

The logbook must be signed and stamped by the Master of the vessel.


It is important to be aware that: You will not be permitted to attend step three until you have completed 60 days and all the tasks have been completed and signed off. 

 

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Offshore Simulation Server Room

STEP THREE – ATTEND THE DP SIMULATOR COURSE

Step three is to attend a DP Simulator Course at a Nautical Institute accredited training Centre.

What will I learn?

During the 4.5 day course you will gain further insight, experience and confidence in performing offshore operations under Dynamic Positioning (DP) control.

The DP Simulator course offers students the opportunity to develop their DP skills through balanced delivery of theory and practical simulation tasks.

The course enhances and develops the skills in DP through:

  • Discussions and application of lessons learned to date.
  • DP operation planning and preparation.
  • Operating the DP desk under normal and pressure conditions.
  • Developing decision making on courses of action due to numerous systems failures.
  • Developing communication skills as a part of the bridge team and overall project team.
  • Analysis and interpretation of DP trends.
  • Understanding of alarms and printer readout.
  • Understanding and initiating DP Alert Status alarms.
  • Practice effective bridge and project teamwork.

The course is completed by sitting an online examination.

       Download Course details here

 

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Control Panel for DP Facilities

STEP FOUR – COMPLETE ANOTHER 60 DAYS DP SEA TIME

Like the initial period of sea time, these 60 days must also be completed on a vessel involved in DP operations and you must have been involved in those operations with a qualified DP Operator for a minimum of two hours per day, in order for it to be counted as part of your 60 days.

There is however, no requirement to complete any more tasks. This period is primarily for you to consolidate the lessons that you have learnt previously, and to work with a Senior DP Operator (SDPO) gaining experience as a Junior DPO.

On completion of your 120 days total DP time, you must get a signed Statement of Suitability from the vessel Master. You, as the applicant, must also sign this form.

Be aware that if the master is not a certificated DPO, this section will need to be countersigned by the certificated DPO on board the vessel.

 

 

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STEP FIVE – APPLY FOR YOUR CERTIFICATE

Congratulations – Now that you have completed steps one to four, you can now apply for your DP Operators Certificate.

This entails you making an online application. To do this you will need to log into your account on the Nautical Institute Alexis Platform.

This step can cause the most delays, to avoid the pitfalls make sure that all the details from your logbook are entered correctly. Once the information has been entered, the application should be submitted online to check if you are eligible.

If eligible, the application should be sent into The Nautical Institute offices for processing along with the PDF Checklist which will become available after payment.

Once documents are received by The Nautical Institute, an automatic email will be generated and sent to your registered email address confirming receipt of your documents. Another email will be sent once your documents are processed.

You can expect to receive your New Dynamic Positioning Operators Certificate within 2 weeks.