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Vessel Familiarisation Courses

United Kingdom

Realising that the number of different ship types that our principals come into contact with (at least in reports) and the fact that ships have a language all of their own, we developed our popular Vessel Familiarisation Course. he course is aimed at those people working within the marine industry who have not had the opportunity to visit the types of vessels trading in today’s world.

Over a three day period attending delegates will have the opportunity to visit Ro-Ro ships, large bulk carriers and tankers, handy size bulkers, coasters, tugs and barges. Delegates also have the opportunity to visit various port installations and to experience their workings from close quarters. The courses are intended to be informal yet informative with delegates leaving, not only with a greater awareness of ships, but with happy memories of their time in Hull. Over 500 delegates have already attended this highly informative event. Be part of it.

16 hours of CPD credits available

​Places still available: 0

Please note that our 2020 courses are fully booked. We will publish the 2021 dates on this page, as soon as they have been planned.

Aims and intended learning outcomes

Marine professionals, be they either qualified or still in training, that are working within the shipping industry get little hands-on opportunities to visit the types of ships that their work will bring them into contact with.

The purpose of the course is to therefore de-mystify the world of ships and the terminals at which they operate. Many people’s experience of ships is limited to photographs and videos but these do not give the true feeling of scale. The course is therefore intended to allow attending delegates to truly appreciate the scale of dockside machinery, ships and their various compartments. It also gives delegates a better understanding of how a ship works and a brief insight into life on board a merchant vessel.

The course is designed for anyone working within the shipping industry and has attracted delegates who have just started out on their careers to, in one case, someone who had worked for the same ship insurer for 43 years. PA’s to Syndicate Heads, Post Boys to global heads of shipping departments have all attended over the years.

Prior knowledge of ships is not required but on completion of the course attendees will have a much greater understanding of the world of ships.

Summary of course learning outcomes
  • Much greater understanding of the world of ships
  • Better understanding of how a ship works
  • Been introduced to some aspects of life on board a merchant vessel
  • An appreciation of issues relating to the safe storage of cargo and hazards of shipping cargo on the weather deck
  • An overview of the handling and navigational issues of ships
  • Good background knowledge of grain handling and storage facilities
  • An awareness of the risks involved in storage of different types of cargo
  • An appreciation of the problems associated with large bulk carriers
  • An overview of dry docks and their operation
  • Been introduced to specific issues relating to smaller vessels and navigational matters
Course presentation

The course is presented by experienced Marine Surveyors and follows a structure that is varied and interesting and designed to keep the attendees interested. The course takes place on the docks, on vessels and inside quayside facilities. The course is not presented in a classroom environment. As there are only a small number of people attending the presentation is intimate and encourages delegate involvement. The course facilitators are ready to answer all manner of questions posed with regards to the world of ships.

Administration arrangements and support services

A single member of staff arranges all of the courses with delegates only needing to find their own way to the hotel. From then on the needs of each delegate are fully catered for with the cost of the course including full accommodation, meals, a spending allowance for free time and all necessary hi-vis & personal protective equipment (PPE) including safety boots, goggles and ear and hand protection.

Summary of course aims
  • De-mystify the world of ships and the terminals at which they operate
  • Allow delegates to appreciate the scale of dockside machinery, ships and their various compartments
  • See at first hand the operation of a large RoRo terminal
  • View different types of cargo units, their securing and related issues and how this impacts on ship owners and underwriters
  • Steel products will be sighted and the problems of salt water rusting explained
  • The operation of a dry-dock will be sighted and delegates learn how vessels are positioned in same

An extensive tour of a large vessel will include a demonstration of how cargo is secured, how vessels are constructed and how the navigating bridge functions. Delegates may learn how grain cargoes are received, sampled, analysed and stored. You will also be given a detailed and extensive tour of a large bulk carrier sighting navigation and living areas, cargo operations and engine room. The evening session will give an insight to the movement of vessels through lock pits and demonstrate how fixed object damages can easily occur.


The course content is very relevant to the work of the shipping professional in so much as it provides practical hands-on experience. It is set at the correct level for the delegates as we always establish what each individual attendee’s level of expertise is. If a particular attendee is working on a particular case and requires to learn something specific regarding one aspect of a ship’s operation then we endeavour to ensure that need is met.

The content is concise without being too technical. The content is designed to give an overview of many different aspects of ships, their operations, the cargoes they carry and problems that may be encountered with those cargoes.

There are approximately 20 hours of learning associated with the course and even ‘after hours’ meetings at lunch and dinner (where delegates get to meet other surveyors) includes stories and anecdotes that delegates will find useful in their chosen careers.

Course materials

The course is designed to be informal yet informative. As such there is no official course material provided to attending delegates. This is a hands-on experience with delegates taking away much more than words or pictures could possibly begin to describe.

Course costs, including PPE and accommodation

Course costs for 2020 are £1425 + VAT which includes accommodation at Hull’s top 4* Humber View Hotel, part of the Signature Collection by Best Western with views out to the river and the Lincolnshire Wolds beyond, all meals, travel, and a daily allowance to spend as you wish. You only have to get yourself to the hotel and we will take it from there. All PPE will be provided including protective footwear.

In view of high demand, we recommend you book early. If you wish to be advised of any cancellations please contact our Hull office.

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