The person fulfilling the role of the SDPO is defined in these guidelines as the lead watchkeeper with
responsibility for the navigational safety and control of the DP system necessary to achieve the effective
and efficient progression of the industrial mission of the vessel whilst on watch. The SDPO should hold
a formal qualification as a deck officer in accordance with current STCW Convention standard or flag
state equivalent and also hold a valid, industry recognised, DP operator certificate.
The SDPO will have satisfied vessel owner/operator requirements to undertake the role of lead DP
watchkeeper and should have been assessed by the master as having the experience, knowledge and
competence to take sole charge of a DP watch. They should also be capable of providing supervision
to other DPOs, for any DP operation that the particular vessel may be engaged in.
Competence for navigational watches is covered by the STCW Code. Further guidance is available in
IMCA C 002.
SDPOs will have all of the qualifications of a certificated DPO (see section 7.3.1
and in addition their
knowledge and operational experience should also include:
familiarity of the vessel’s industrial mission including the specific hazards associated with the mission
and performing it using the vessel’s DP system;
effective management of the DP control/bridge team
the ability to investigate and report DP station keeping events;
full knowledge of the vessel’s ASOG/ WSOG, including the CAM, TAM and WCF;
training on any other appropriate system, such as, but not limited to, vessel management systems,
PMS, fire, gas and ESD;
assessor level in the understanding, setup, functionality, failure modes and use of any equipment and
system associated with DP operations on the vessel