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Assessment Information
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About our Assessments:

The OSVDPA DPO Certification Scheme is built on the belief that those who operate DP systems should be trained and certified in its use and held to the highest of standards. We also believe that by producing the most competent and thoroughly trained DPOs on the water that we are greatly improving the safety of the industry as a whole.

In order to train and certify the safest and most competent DPOs in the world, the OSVDPA and its Technical Advisory Council (TAC) developed a defined competency standard that covers what we believe to be essential tasks that every DPO must know how to perform correctly and safely. From our competency standard we created an in depth list of assessment items or tasks that, when performed during an assessment, measure both the DPO's understanding of the item and their ability to successfully perform that item.

Following the completion of each phase in the OSVDPA DPO Certification Scheme, the DPO will be required to complete an assessment measuring their ability on the competencies covered in that phase but also including competencies taught and learned during the completion of previous phases.

During the development of the assessment system, the OSVDPA also tried to create assessments that would be relevant to the DPOs or Prospective DPOs being assessed. We feel that creating an assessment based upon the applicant's day-to-day responsibilities would be beneficial for the DPO, Vessel Operator, and Chartering communities. 

Who Conducts our Assessments?

OSVDPA Assessments can be conducted by a Certified Instructors or by a Qualified on Board Assessor (QOBA).Certified Instructors are individuals that have been certified by the OSVDPA as capable of training and assessing DPOs. Most will have experience serving as a DPO, and all Certified Instructors are required to pass the OSVDPA assessment in addition to being assessed by an OSVDPA Auditor on their ability to conduct an assessment.

QOBAs are Certified DPOs that have met a set of requirements installed by the OSVDPA to measure and verify both an individual's DP experience as well as proof that they have taken a flag-state approved on board assessing course.

In the event that a DPO or Prospective DPO works for an "Enrolled Vessel Operator", the QOBA may also be employed by the same Vessel Operator. If the DPO or Prospective DPO does NOT work for an "Enrolled Vessel Operator", the QOBA must be from a third party.

What Exactly Is an Assessment?

An OSVDPA assessment is used to measure a DPO or Prospective DPO's mastery of the knowledge and use of dynamic positioning and the skills we believe are essential to the safe operation of DP.

Assessments are similar to tests or exams. The OSVDPA has an "Assessment Item Bank" that contains more than 200 items and tasks that can then be used to assess a DPO or Prospective DPO. Each assessment contains a total of 45 items with 15 of the 45 being weighted more heavily than the remaining 30. Those 15 items, all of which must be answered or performed correctly, are referred to as "Tier 1" items and if done incorrectly, can cause the vessel to lose heading or position. The remaining 30 items are referred to as "Tier 2" items, and the applicant must correctly complete 80% of these items to pass the assessment.

Having more than 200 assessment items allows us to not only test a wide-range of competencies but also allows for assessments to be customized and tailored to the DPO or Prospective DPO. In order to pick which assessment items are included, the Certified Instructor or QOBA can choose to use a pre-printed assessment (see "Scenarios" below) or make their own using a current OSVDPA standing order (see "Standing Orders" below). OSVDPA "Scenarios" provides a narrative of a DP operation, what happens during the operation, the 45 assessment items to be included, and the a recommended order in which the items should be recorded. If the Certified Instructor or QOBA prefers to create his or her own assessment, they may choose items from a pre-approved list called a "Standing Order".

Finally, we will also allow for the total creation of scenarios by a Certified Instructor or Vessel Operator. Once approved by the OSVDPA and its Technical Advisory Council (TAC), it can then be used to conduct assessments. These will only be accessible to the entity by whom it was created unless we are given express consent to include the scenarios for use by others.

Where Do We Conduct Assessments?

Assessments can be conducted on either simulators or on board DP-equipped vessels. The Phase 4, Phase 5, and Revalidation Assessments can be conducted on OSVDPA-approved simulators at OSVDPA-accredited Training Providers. The Phase 3 Assessment, however, must be conducted at the Training Center where the Phase 3 (Simulator) Course was taken.

Any classed DP vessesl or unclassed vessels that have been approved by the OSVDPA (called "Accepted Unclassed Vessels" or "AUVs") may be used to conduct OSVDPA assessments. In order to become an AUV, an unclassed vessel must have passed an audit of its DP system and its on board documents performed by an individual approved by the OSVDPA for those purposes. 

At What Point in the DPO Certification Scheme does one take an Assessment?

The OSVDPA requires Prospective DPOs to pass practical assessments after Phase 3 (Simulator) Course and after Phase 4 (Watchkeeping). DPOs interested in upgrading their Class B (Limited) DPO Certificate to a Class A (Unlimited) DPO Certificate must pass an assessment after completing Phase 5 (Upgrading).

In addition to the above-mentioned assessments, all DPOs must also pass an assessment every five (5) years after completing the revalidation requirements (150 days of Sea Time and 450 hours of Practical Experience).


If after reading through this page, you still have questions regarding our assessments, please feel free to contact the OSVDPA's Operations Manager, Mark Crutcher at or (504) 528-9414.

OSVDPA Standards

More InfoHide Info ]
The OSVDPA Standards Library contains the standards and policies and procedures by which the OSVDPA operates.
Item Name Posted By Date Posted
OSVDPA MPP-1-005 PDF (3.85 MB)  more ] Administration 10/10/2019
OSVDPA MEM-1-003 PDF (309.16 KB)  more ] Administration 11/2/2018
OSVDPA FS-1-004 PDF (321.73 KB)  more ] Administration 5/21/2018
OSVDPA CT-1-001 PDF (260.19 KB)  more ] Administration 8/8/2016
OSVDPA SIM-1-001 PDF (217.87 KB)  more ] Administration 8/8/2016
OSVDPA AS-1-001 PDF (3.23 MB)  more ] Administration 5/23/2016

Scenario Descriptions

More InfoHide Info ]
Below is a detailed description of each Assessment Scenario. These descriptions are the only publicly available portion of the Scenario, the specific content, assessment item order, prompts, and construction of each assessment is confidential and covered by the nondisclosure agreement signed by Examiners and QOBAs. The complete scenarios used in the conducting of assessments are available on the "Assessment Documents" page of the website.
Item Name Posted By Date Posted
Scenario C-SS-1 PDF (234.66 KB)  more ] Administration 6/29/2017
Scenario L-FI-1 PDF (240.28 KB)  more ] Administration 6/29/2017
Scenario L-FL-1 PDF (236.77 KB)  more ] Administration 6/29/2017
Scenario L-FL-2 PDF (234.38 KB)  more ] Administration 6/29/2017
Scenario L-FL-4 PDF (159.58 KB)  more ] Administration 6/29/2017
Scenario L-FL-5 PDF (255.97 KB)  more ] Administration 6/29/2017
Scenario L-FL-6 PDF (257.6 KB)  more ] Administration 6/29/2017