Skip to content

Rip tide presents problems – DP observation


It was a single rip tide and when it had passed the vessel was set up back in automatic position mode. There was clear evidence that a degraded performance was caused by the rip tide. A risk assessment was made, all DP set-up checks were carried out and the DP system performance was monitored for 20 minutes. Other rip tides were not observed and the vessel approached the installation to resume operations.

Considerations from the above event:

  • The observation demonstrates a positive attitude to observing environmental conditions with respect to vessel capability and taking the correct actions to avoid potential dangerous loss of position.
  • It is unreasonable to expect any DP system to cope with the sudden change in forces that can be introduced by rip tides which can have a catastrophic effect on the ability of a DP system to maintain position and heading.
  • If this was a DP equipment class 2 operation then the report indicates that there was inadequate redundancy with regards to position reference systems.

The following case studies and observations have been compiled from information received by IMCA. All vessel, client, and operational data has been removed from the narrative to ensure anonymity.

Case studies are not intended as guidance on the safe conduct of operations, but rather to assist vessel managers, DP operators and DP technical crew in appropriately determining how to safely conduct their own operations. Any queries should be directed to IMCA at [email protected]. Members and non-members alike are welcome to contact IMCA if they have experienced DP events which can be shared anonymously with the DP industry.

IMCA’s store terms and conditions ( apply to all downloads from IMCA’s website, including this document.

IMCA makes every effort to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the data contained in the documents it publishes, but IMCA shall not be liable for any guidance and/or recommendation and/or statement herein contained. The information contained in this document does not fulfil or replace any individual’s or Member's legal, regulatory or other duties or obligations in respect of their operations. Individuals and Members remain solely responsible for the safe, lawful and proper conduct of their operations.