The University of Southampton

SESS3022 Ship Manoeuvring and Control

Module Overview

This module provides the fundamental concepts associated with the principles of manoeuvring and control theory, with a focus on vehicles operating on or below the air water interface. There is one assignment which integrates manoeuvring hydrodynamic data into the control of an autonomous underwater vehicle.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

• Provide the student with an advanced knowledge base and understanding of manoeuvring theory applied to a marine vehicle operating in calm and/or restricted waters. • Provide an understanding of fundamental knowledge and techniques of control. • To develop tools to analyse control engineering problems by MATLAB software package.

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • Manoeuvring theory based on fundamental principles and concepts providing an appreciation of the limitations of the theory as applied to hull and control surface design
  • The safe operation of a vessel through the development of stability criteria and their application
  • The measurement of hydrodynamic data required in an assessment of directional stability
  • Model or full scale trials to assess the manoeuvrability and controllability of marine vehicles operating in calm and/or restricted waters.
  • The principles of control theory through familiarising the students with various input/output descriptions of dynamic systems and frequency domain descriptions and dynamic analysis.
  • The concept of stability concepts and effect of feedback control on sensitivity.
  • The application of the basic methods of classical control system design such as root locus and phase lead-lag compensation based on Bode plots


Description Part A; 18 lectures on: Ship Manoeuvring • Body axes, translations and angular velocities • Transformation of axes. • General equations of motion in calm water. • Linearised equations of symmetric motion. • Linearised equations of antisymmetric motion. • Fluid actions and slow motion derivatives. • Measurements of slow motion derivatives (tow and rotating arm tests). • Measurements of oscillatory coefficients (planar motion mechanism). • Control surfaces and derivatives. • Directional stability criteria (Routh-Hurwitz test functions). • Details of types of stability. • Manoeuvring trials (stability: pull out and spiral (Dieudonne)). • Manoeuvring trials (control: circle and zig-zag (Kempf)). • Effects of variables on design (speed, trim, draught, etc). • Rudder actions and characteristics. • Nomoto's equations, T-K parameters. Part B; 18 lectures on: Ship Control 1 Introduction 1.1 System approach and block diagrams 1.2 Open loop systems 1.3 Closed loop systems. 1.4 Types of controllers. 1.5 Basics of control system design. 2 Analysis and Frequency Domain 2.1 S-plane relationship between time and frequency domain. 2.2 Transfer functions 2.3 Application of Routh-Hurwitz stability criterion 3 Frequency response 3.1 Nyquist diagrams 3.2 Bode diagrams 3.3 Root locus methods 3.5 Phase and gain margins 4 Performance Measures 4.1 Steady state error 4.2 Transient performance 4.3 Relationship of poles to phase and margins 5 Application of Theory to Marine Activities 5.1 Steering gear 5.2 Control fin action 5.3 Marine diesels Controllability of an Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV): This assignment integrates Parts A and B, through the use of hydrodynamic derivatives developed in Part A for the control system design of an AUV.

Special Features


Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods include • Lectures • Tutorials focussed on example sheets Learning activities include • Directed reading/independent learning • Example sheets for problem solving exercises • Project assignment using a prototype AUV • Report-writing for the assignment • Use of commercial software through a design assignment.

Completion of assessment task30
Preparation for scheduled sessions4
Follow-up work36
Wider reading or practice9
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Resources and reading list. Available on blackboard



MethodPercentage contribution
Assignment 10%
Exam  (120 minutes) 70%
Example Sheets 1.66%
Example Sheets 1.66%
Example Sheets 1.7%
Example Sheets 1.66%
Example Sheets 1.66%
Example Sheets 1.66%
Quiz 5%
Quiz 5%


MethodPercentage contribution
Exam 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

Linked modules


To study this module, you will need to have studied the following module(s):

SESS2015Hydrodynamics and Seakeeping
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