Accreditation is defined by The Nautical Institute as the systematic verification of the processes, procedures, methods and techniques employed to deliver a maritime training product or service in accordance with standards defined, co-developed or approved by The Nautical Institute. Accredited training providers have demonstrated that their product or service meets the standard required for Nautical Institute accreditation. This award is normally valid for a period of not more than three years.


The Nautical Institute (NI) is an international representative body for maritime professionals involved in the control of sea-going ships, and has run accreditation services for over 20 years. The NI offers a wide range of accreditation services, from being the major recognised international certification provider for Dynamic Positioning (DP) training to providing one-off audits for compliance with a known standard. It has the capability to operate a full international certification scheme or to work on behalf of Flag Administrations as a designated authority. The NI is  accredited to ISO 9001:2015.


Areas of training accredited by The Nautical Institute include:


  • Dynamic Positioning (DP)
  • Oil Spill Response
  • Ice Navigation
  • Vessel Traffic Services Operator Training (VTS) (audit)


There are two major benefits to using The Nautical Institute for accreditation work.


First, the NI can accredit to a uniform standard on a worldwide basis. This is a particular advantage where ships’ crews are concerned. In the case of dynamic positioning, for example, an officer can take the dynamic positioning operations induction/basic course from a provider in one country and the follow on simulator/advanced course from another provider in a different country. Because there is just one international standard, all certificates are recognised worldwide without question.


Secondly, as a professional body, the NI is not only concerned with carrying out the accreditation, but also in learning from the process in order to make recommendations to improve the international standard as well as individual training programmes.


The Nautical Institute provides a high-quality and cost-effective accreditation service. We maintain these standards in a number of ways:


  1. The NI engages independent auditors and technical consultants drawn from industry with expertise in the subject under assessment.
  2. Independent auditors/consultants are organized in regional teams which are guided and managed by the Accreditation Manager at The Nautical Institute Headquarters.
  3. NI auditors are trained and annually refreshed to ensure that they meet the criteria of Continuing Professional Development.
  4. Where appropriate, the Institute organises an annual users and trainers forum to discuss problems, identify trends and consider improvements. Feedback is always provided to continually improve standards.
  5. The Institute has published stakeholder newsletters to keep training providers within a scheme current with recent developments.


As an example of the level of service we can provide, the Institute carries out accreditation for Induction and Simulator DP training at more than 90 training centres around the world. Further, it verifies completion of sea time and training requirements for over 18,000 DP operators on a global basis. DP Training was not originally covered by STCW, but was driven by charterer’s requirement, with the NI being chosen as the sole international certification body. Since the revised STCW (Manila 2010), DP Training is covered in STCW Part B, and the NI has been chosen as the ‘designated authority’ by a number of Flag States. In the meantime, the Nautical Institute DP certificate is still the requirement of many charterers.


The Institute also accredits training in oil spill response on behalf of the UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency. This training is as defined by the International Oil Pollution Preparedness, Response and Co-operation Convention OPRC, and has been ratified by the UK Government. The Institute accredits providers offering different levels of training.


Factors to be considered when seeking approval from The Nautical Institute


Nautical Institute accreditation is a proven and effective tool for certain applications. However, it may not be appropriate in all cases. There are many different ways to gain approval for training programmes and it is necessary to consider both the appropriate authority and the funding arrangements. For example, Certificates of Competency and the associated short courses are approved under the STCW convention by Maritime Administrations. Under these circumstances, the Maritime Administration may decide to delegate authority to The Nautical Institute to approve a course on their behalf.


Many educational and vocational training programmes are linked to national funding arrangements. The education authorities providing the funding generally have procedures for validating and accrediting approved courses. Under these circumstances, The Nautical Institute would not seek to become involved unless the education authorities delegate this function.


Training providers offering specialist training which is not mandatory or funded have a number of options to obtain external recognition for the training they provide. There are advantages and disadvantages to each approach.



Industry Lead Body Recognition


Most industrial sectors have a nationally based industry lead body whose main role is to encourage training, develop relevant training to meet new needs and to harmonise standards nationally. Many such industry lead bodies have links with similar organisations in other countries e.g. offshore energy operations and the ports industry. These industry lead bodies often have access to funding for approved training, either directly or indirectly.


In an international context, there are limitations concerning the use of nationally based industry lead bodies for validation and accreditation where there is a need to have independent assessment which is recognised internationally. Training organisations are competitive and therefore may not be impartial when supporting individual programmes overseas.



Quality Standards


Training providers can choose a variety of quality standard awarding bodies through which to become approved. These may include the registered quality assessment organisations or national schemes such as “Investors in People”. Generally the quality standard applies to the training provider rather than to individual courses. However, for a better management system, The Nautical Institute follows the International Standards Organisation (ISO) as a reference to cover the quality and management of documentation system for accredited courses. In addition, The Nautical Institute deploys auditors who are experts in the technical application of individual courses. The audit is therefore designed to ensure that the quality standards put forward by the training provider are met consistently and technical requirements are satisfactorily complied with.



Professional Recognition


Professional institutions which establish professional qualifications as a requirement or recommendation to practice protect their standards by accrediting educational courses of study which can lead to membership or a component of the membership qualification. Where the professional association, in the UK, carries the authority to license practitioners, such as The Law Society, The Institute of Chartered Accountants or The Chartered Institute of Physiotherapy, the associations will generally have the recognition bestowed upon them by the Privy Council who can confer chartered status on the organisations concerned. In addition, professional associations often validate and accredit specialist courses within their special competence.


If you are interested in initialising the Institute’s accreditation services or would like to receive further information, please contact: