What are the minimum requirements to start the Offshore Scheme?

• Following the 2010 Manila amendments to the STCW Convention and Code, The NI has implemented the following criteria for entry onto 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 ETOs
• Prospective DPOs with alternative appropriate Marine Vocational Qualifications (MVQs) will not need an authorisation letter from The Nautical Institute to start the training scheme if their MVQ is listed on the approved list. The approved list is available on The NI Alexis Platform website

Officer trainees (Cadets or ratings on a defined training programme)

Prospective DPOs who are in the process of training for an initial STCW or MVQ certificate can start the DP scheme and complete the Phase A – Induction course, Phase B – 60 days DP sea time and task sections and Phase C – Simulator course. New Offshore scheme: Once the candidate holds an appropriate Certificate of Competency or Proficiency, the remaining 60 days DP sea time from Phase D and Phase E – Suitability Sign Off shall be completed. Note: Cadets who are starting the DP Scheme are not permitted to undertake the STR course after the Phase C – Simulator course. The full 60 days DP sea time must be completed in Phase D before the Phase E suitability is signed off.

What do I need to complete in order to apply for my Offshore certificate?

The scheme phases must be followed and completed in the order below:

·         Induction Course

·         60 DP days sea time plus completion of all Task Sections

·         Simulator Course

·         60 DP days sea time

·         Statement of Suitability


When the phases have been completed, a confirmation letter should be obtained from the company confirming the sea time. A template for this letter is available on the Nautical Institute website. Please note that the new scheme has a different template letter to the old scheme as more information must be verified.

I started my training in 2014. Can I transfer to the new scheme?

Yes. It has been decided by DPTEG that if you want to start the new scheme you can transfer your Induction course only. Any sea time or subsequent courses cannot be carried over from the old scheme and you will only have four years from the date of your Induction course to complete the training. The remaining phases of the training can only be completed once you receive the new logbook.

Why do I only have four years to complete my DP training?

The training time limit has reduced from five years to four years for the new scheme in line with the reduced amount of DP time which is needed for the certificate.

What counts as a DP day?

If you have started the scheme after 1 January 2015 or transferred from the old scheme, you will be entering onto the new Offshore scheme. This means that a DP day is now counted as a minimum of two hours on the DP desk per day.

Who needs to sign off my DP sea time?

Your DP sea time must be signed off by the Master of the vessel. Each recorded DP sea time record entry must also be initialled individually by the same Master whose details and signature appears at the bottom of each page. Entries that have not been signed cannot be counted towards the required 120 days DP sea time. If you are the trainee DPO and the Master on board, you can sign off your own sea time in your logbook. The certified DPO will need to sign the tasks off and then you will be able to sign as the Master below each of the task sections.

How many days do I need to complete to be issued with a certificate?

The new Offshore scheme requires 120 DP days. Please note that you must complete a minimum of 2 hours on the DP desk for any time that you are claiming. This does differ from the previous scheme.

I have completed more than 60 DP days in Phase B. Can I carry any over into Phase D?

Any time gained in excess of the 60 DP sea time days between the Induction and the Simulator course will normally be counted towards the total requirement of 120 DP sea time days. However, the candidate must complete at least 30 DP sea time days after the Simulator course and obtain the Statement of Suitability signed by the Master of the last vessel the candidate has served on before submitting his/her documents to The Nautical Institute. Please also note that no passive time can be used in Phase D and a maximum of 30 passive DP days can be used in Phase B.

Where can I take the Induction and Simulator courses?

IMS DP TRAINING CENTRE is a Nautical Institute accredited training centre and conducts this training.

Do I have to complete the examination after my course?

Yes. The Induction course examination has been in place since 2012 and the Simulator course is being implemented for the new Offshore scheme.

What happens if I fail the examination?

If the Induction examination is failed, you will have two additional chances to retake the course. The first is within 24 hours at the same training centre where the Induction course was taken. If the second attempt is failed, you have six months to retake the examination and this can be done at any training centre.

What is active and passive time?

Active – with propulsion under the guidance of an NI-certified DPO

  • Using DP system to control ship.


  • Setting up on DP.
  • Completing task sections combined with DP operations.
  • FMEA, annual, class, charterer, field arrival and DP proving trials.
  • Emergency ship handling training using manual controls using ONLY the thrusters available after worst case failure.


Passive – without propulsion under the guidance of an NI-certified DPO

  • Training on in-built ship-based DP simulator on a vessel with simulator mode in the DP system or a standalone DP simulator.
  • Task sections training and assessments by an NI-certified DPO and countersigned by the Master. Note that you can only claim for a maximum of 30 DP passive days and these must be logged in the Phase B only. Passive time cannot be counted towards Phase D.
Can I use time from before my Induction course towards my certificate?

No. In the new scheme, time completed before the Induction course cannot be used for the application.

Can I use dry dock time towards my certificate?

No. Time must be active or passive. Dry dock time cannot be counted.

Can I reduce the amount of actual sea time that I need?

Yes. The Sea Time Reduction (STR) course can reduce the amount of sea time to be completed for the new Offshore scheme. This course can only be done after the Simulator course and must be followed by 30 DP sea time days on board a classed DP vessel. Please note that if you started the scheme as a Cadet, you are not allowed to reduce your time with the Sea time Reduction course.

Can I use correction fluid (white-out) to amend dates in my logbook?

No. Any dates that have been altered with correction fluid may automatically make your application unsuccessful. If there is a simple mistake, please put a line through and have the correct information entered. Please then have the Master sign next to the correction so it shows he is aware of it.

Can I use a mixture of classed and unclassed DP time to gain a Limited/Unlimited certificate?

No. If you are working towards a Limited or Unlimited certificate you must complete 120 DP sea time days on board a classed vessel.

Can I use time not recorded in my logbook?

No. All DP sea time to be used in the application must be recorded in your NI logbook. Any time used in the application which is not logged in the NI logbook will not be counted towards the certificate and may result in your application being rejected.

My company won’t provide a confirmation letter. What should I do?

Unfortunately, all sea time being claimed for an application does need to be confirmed on a letter from the company. Any time which does not have a confirmation letter cannot be used. If you are unable to obtain this letter, the DP sea time will need to be redone.

Why have I been asked to retake my Induction/Simulator course(s) and/or sea time?

It is required that ALL components of the training programme be completed within four years. At the time of application, any element (within Phase A, B, C, D and E) of the scheme not completed within the four-year period will have to be repeated.

I need to repeat my Induction course as it is over four years old. Can I get a new scheme logbook?

No. Your repeated Induction course information can be added to your current logbook on the same page.

How will The NI verify the logbooks and task sections?

Dates in the task sections will be verified against dates of joining and leaving the vessel and according to the dates logged in the DP logbook. The tasks which are to be completed on active time must match with days recorded in the logbook as days on DP with a minimum of two hours per day on the DP desk.

Can I accrue DP time whilst my logbook is at the NI offices?

 No. Only time whilst you are in possession of your logbook can be claimed. Any time claimed whilst your logbook is in our office will not be counted towards the application.

Will my certificate have a validity date?

Yes. The Nautical Institute now issues a validity date on all certificates. The certificate will be valid for a period of five years. At the end of the five years, you will need to revalidate this certificate. Please ensure that during the five years, you are logging your DP time ready to use for revalidation. Please see the revalidation pages on our website for more details.

Can you send me a copy of my certificate before it is sent out?

It is The Nautical Institute’s policy not to forward copies of issued certificates to DPOs. Once the certificate is printed, it will be despatched back to the address on the application.

Do I need to continue to log my DP time after my certificate has been issued?

 Yes. You should continue to record your time in your logbook as you will need to provide evidence of DP time when the certificate is due for revalidation. For more information, please go to the Revalidation page of our website.

What is the Task Section of the logbook?

The new Offshore scheme has designated tasks in 11 sections in the logbook with individual tasks to be completed and signed off by the certificated DPO on board as well as the Master.

When do I need to complete the Task sections?

The Task Section of the logbook must be completed during Phase B of the new Offshore Training scheme. If the tasks are not completed, you will not be permitted to attend the Simulator course.

Who needs to sign the task section?

Each task item must be completed and signed by the certified DPO on board the vessel who has been assigned to supervise you. If the Master is the assigned certified DPO on board he/she must still complete and sign each item individually. The Master must also complete the Master’s sign off at the end of each task section. If there is no certified DPO on board the vessel, the tasks cannot be signed off and additional time will need to be completed before moving onto the next Phase of the scheme (Phase C). If you are the trainee DPO and also the Master on board, the certified DPO will need to sign the tasks off and then you will be able to sign as the Master below each of the task sections once they have been completed.

What do I need to submit to The Nautical Institute when I have completed my training?
  • Original DP logbook & Seaman Book
  • Copy of C.O.C and passport – (Photo or Upload)
  • Original signed letters from companies confirming the sea time and offshore loading operations dates and location.
  • Signed PDF form (received when online application is complete)
  • Any additional supporting documents
Where do I send my documents once I have applied online?

Please send all relevant documents into our offices at the below address:

DP Department

The Nautical Institute 202 Lambeth Road

London SE1 7LQ

United Kingdom