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Founding Principles
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Founding Principles:

When it was determined that an alternative DPO certification scheme was required, the founders of the OSVDPA sought to implement a comprehensive assurance and certification system, one which was uniquely tailored to include the technologies, competencies, and risk management elements necessary to advance the safe and reliable operation of DP equipped offshore service vessels (OSVs). To do so, the founders felt the OSVDPA needed to address four primary issues. 

All DPOs Should be Trained in the Safe use of DP:

The founders of the OSVDPA continue to see mariners, charged with operating DP systems, who are prevented from receiving the training and certification that should be a prerequisite for operating a DP-equipped vessel. The OSVDPA understands that excluding these mariners from DPO certification systems is detrimental to maritime safety.

Further, the OSVDPA understands a certification provider should not be dictating what classes of mariners should, or should not, be supporting DP operations. Instead, the OSVDPA believes the certification body’s responsibility is to ensure that all individuals tasked to support DP operations by their employers are provided the opportunity to become trained and certified in the safest possible use of this technology.

Thus, the OSVDPA believes DPO certification should be available to all those who use DP systems.


The OSVDPA believes that all aspects of a DPO's training and certification must be based on a defined list of competencies. Such a structure ensures that vessel operators, charterers, training centers, and prospective DPOs will know what can be expected during training and what the DPO is capable of upon completion of the training.

Additionally, the OSVDPA recognizes that the proliferation of DP technology throughout the maritime industry means there is no longer a single job description for a DPO.

As such, the OSVDPA believes the training each DPO receives should have two primary components. First, the training should provide the prospective DPO a strong foundation in the underpinning principles and theory of DP. Second, training should be tailored to the segment of the industry relevant to the prospective DPO. Training that meets these specifications shall ensure that every DPO is competent in their current job and has the tools necessary to transition to other segments of the industry in the future.

To accomplish these missions, the competencies the OSVDPA uses as a basis for its training and assessments shall cover both the basic principles and theory of DP and specific training relevant to the operation of DP-equipped offshore service vessels (OSVs). The general DP competencies and the industry specific competencies were developed in a conscious effort to address all DPO training guidance laid out by the IMO, IMCA, MTS, and other industry partners. 


The OSVDPA seeks to improve the safety and competency of DPOs and has developed a DPO certification system that ensures DPOs are experienced and well-trained prior to receiving their certificate.

The OSVDPA also understands that a certification system should not be hard or costly to complete for the sake of being hard or costly to complete. As such, the OSVDPA’s certification system endeavors to be achievable and cost effective, provided the prospective DPO proves themselves to be competent. Specifically, the OSVDPA seeks to avoid including within its requirements unrealistic timelines, or simulator requirements that do little to improve training but do increase costs. It is the OSVDPA’s hope that by making a practically achievable certification system, it will improve DP vessel safety without unnecessarily harming the DPOs that choose to use the OSVDPA to gain their certification.

Experience and Assessment-Based:

The OSVDPA believes all training should require the prospective DPO to gain experience and pass structured assessments. With that being said, the OSVDPA system requires prospective DPOs to gain sea time aboard DP vessels and prove they have developed proper risk assessment DP operation habits during this sea time via assessments.

The OSVDPA’s sea time requirement is structured, requiring the prospective DPO to complete tasks during each period of sea time, thereby ensuring that in meeting the sea time requirement, the prospective DPO is gaining demonstrable knowledge and experience.

The assessment portion of the OSVDPA certification system is equally structured, requiring the prospective DPO to pass theoretical, simulator-based, and on-board assessments prior to receiving a DPO certificate.