Dynamic Positioning

Dynamic Positioning

DP technology enables a vessel to maintain its position and heading using sophisticated positioning systems and other sensors as well as its own thrusters and propellers. It facilitates work in deeper waters than vessels using anchors or jack-ups can achieve and is widely used in the offshore oil and gas, renewable energy, cable-lay and related industries.

IMCA's DP guidance

We publish a variety of guidance documents, setting out industry good practice based on the cumulative experience of our members to help ensure safe and efficient operations. A key document is IMCA M 103 – Guidelines for the design and operation of dynamically positioned vessels, which is regularly reviewed and updated to reflect technological developments and operational achievements. Other documents address Key DP personnel training and experience (IMCA M 117), Guidance on failure modes and effects analysis (FMEA) (IMCA M 166); and Annual DP trials programmes for DP vessels (IMCA M 190).

IMCA also produces technical reports, aimed at assisting vessel operators review, specify, maintain and use a variety of positioning systems, thrusters, power and vessel management systems and other equipment.

IMCA's DP station keeping event reports

Our database of station keeping events that have effected DP vessels extends back over more than 30 years and we strongly encourage participation by all DP vessel operating companies for mutual benefit. Each year reports received are collated and an anonymised analysis of the incidents is published.

Through this work, we help establish trends and common causes/potential hazards that we can address in discussion with vessel operators, equipment suppliers, training establishments and others, as well as in our published guidance. The results have helped to keep the DP fleet operational, safe and acceptable to clients and regulators by encouraging improvements in design, procedures and training.

How to contribute

Use this form to report DP station keeping events to IMCA:
IMCA DP Station Keeping Event Report Form (Revision July 2016)

Reports in companies' own formats are equally welcome. Submit to

Dynamic positioning station keeping event bulletins (formerly called DP safety flashes) can be found here.


Recent presentations on DP issues

Please use this link to access IMCA Technical Adviser, Andy Goldsmith's presentation 'Revision of IMO Circular 645 and IMCA M 117' given at the OSJ European DP Conference on 7 February 2017.