Exploring Dynamic Positioning: Key to Offshore Success

Dynamic Positioning

Posted on Apr 29, 2024 at 09:04 PM

Some people say that dynamic positioning (DP) could be considered the greatest navigation system in the market since the invention of the compass.

Moreover, the dynamic positioning systems can keep the vessel stable and guide it to reach its final predetermined station in the best way. While maintaining the vessel in the best position and heading.

In this article, we are going to introduce you to all the basic information about dynamic positioning (DP), the differences between global DP positioning systems, and the main components of dynamic positioning systems and panels.


What Is a Dynamic Positioning (DP) System?

The dynamic positioning system is an advanced technology that is used in vessels to calculate and maintain their position and heading automatically without the need for manual intervention or adjustment from the vessel team.

Furthermore, the dynamic positioning (DP) system navigates the vessel through wind, waves, and other forces while maintaining or repositioning the vessel's position and heading as needed.

All the marine dynamic position control systems work based on the data collected by the sensors that are analysed through advanced designed computer systems and algorithms to control and ordinate the thrusters' positions.

Usually, dynamic positioning (DP) is used in various maritime operations that require precise positioning including research ships, construction vessels, drill vessels, and dynamically positioned ships in the oil and gas industry.

The great benefits behind the designed dynamic positioning are enhanced safety, effective freight management, improved efficiency, and better operational capability in different marine situations.

Dynamic Positioning

What Are the Differences Between DP1, DP2 and DP3 Marine Systems?

Based on the London Maritime Academy, the main or the big difference between these fixed dynamic positioning (DPs) types is the redundancy level of each DP system.

  • The DP1 Control System:

Is the system with the lowest redundancy level, with a single set of thrusters, sensors, and power systems.

This system is used in small vessels working in a safe environment, as this system cannot maintain position in high waves or strong winds.

  • The DP2 Control System:

This dynamic positioning system has redundant system components, including thrusters, power systems, and sensors.

So, the DP2 includes a better redundancy level allowing the vessel to operate in harder or more challenging marine environments with quick response and track.

  • The DP3 Control System:

The highest level of redundancy and reliability is included in this DP system with a variety of independent systems for propulsion, power generation, and positioning.

Moreover, these dynamic positioning systems are designed to face vessel onboard accidents like fire or flooding while keeping the best stable position capability.

The integrated DP3 provides support, safety, location accuracy, and operational capability for any ship moving or drilling in critical places.


The Cited 7 Components of Dynamic Positioning Systems:

The developed DP hardware components work together to provide an efficient dynamic position system that enables safety and efficiency for maritime companies:

  1. Power Systems: the equipment that provides and maintains the electrical power within the DP systems.

  2. Thrusters: or the propulsion devices that position the vessel as needed and minimise location errors, and are controlled by the DP system.

  3. Environmental Sensors: to monitor the waves, currents, winds, and other environmental conditions, that are affecting the vessel's position.

  4. Position Reference Sensors: These receivers work based on GPS and other advanced technologies to hold the position of the vessel.

  5. DP Controller: the components that understand, analyse, and process the collected knowledge to control the direction of thrusters and position in the sea.

  6. Differential GPS: this technology is part of a dynamic positioning system that enhances position information, easy assessment, corrects errors, and lowers fuel consumption.

  7. Human-Machine Interface (HMI): the vital point where vessel or system operator can overview, and control the dynamic positioning system and add functions to develop performance and complete each single voyage in the best condition.



The dynamic positioning system is the solution that helps you improve safety and accuracy on water, thus, including updated software on your vessel based on the worldwide rules is required.

However, training your team on these technologies and practices is what will help you really benefit from them.