Ship sense - exploring the constituents of shiphandling
Licentiate thesis, 2013

Although shipping is regarded as one of the oldest transportation domains there still seem to be only a limited amount of research addressing the task of handling a vessel. Therefore the purpose of this thesis has been to shed more light on the concept of shiphandling and its constituents. Shiphandling is something that nautical officers themselves see as central to their everyday job, sailing their vessels. This thesis presents findings from three studies to understand more about how perceptual information is used by shiphandlers when manoeuvring. The overall approach of this thesis has been explorative using informants with relevant experience to the concept under study. The results indicate that shiphandling takes different forms demanding various degrees of effort from the shiphandler for different parts of the ship’s voyage. Visual perceptual information from the outside environment has been highlighted as being the dominating source of input to the shiphandler. The main findings from the research presented in this thesis is that of the shiphandler seeing the main task, underlying all aspects of shiphandling to be striving for harmony between his ship and the affecting factors of the environment. This further emphasizes the facts that shiphandling is very much reliant on several influencing factors of dynamic nature, concluding in shiphandling as a whole being a highly dynamic activity.

Human Factors

Grounded Theory


Kelvin, Lindholmen Conference Centre, Lindholmspiren 5
Opponent: Trevor Dobbins, PhD, STResearch, United Kingdom


Johannes Prison

Chalmers, Shipping and Marine Technology, Division of Maritime Operations

Navigation with 2-D and 3-D maps – A comparative study with maritime personnel

Proceedings of the 39th Nordic Ergonomics Society Conference,; (2007)

Paper in proceedings

Ship sense - striving for harmony in ship manoeuvring

WMU Journal of Maritime Affairs,; Vol. 12(2013)p. 115-127

Journal article

Ship sense - what is it and how does one get it?

RINA, Royal Institution of Naval Architects International Conference - Human Factors in Ship Design, Safety and Operation; London; United Kingdom; 25 February 2009 through 26 February 2009,; (2009)p. 127-130

Paper in proceedings

Subject Categories

Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics

Psychology (excluding Applied Psychology)

Areas of Advance


R - Department of Shipping and Marine Technology, Chalmers University of Technology, Göteborg, Sweden: 13:146

Kelvin, Lindholmen Conference Centre, Lindholmspiren 5

Opponent: Trevor Dobbins, PhD, STResearch, United Kingdom

More information