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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 a marine vehicle.

Aims and Objectives

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. (Contributing to EAB accreditation LOs: SM1, SM2, SM7, EA1, EA6M)
  • The safe operation of a vessel through the development of stability criteria and their application. (Contributing to EAB accreditation LOs: SM1, SM7, EA1, EA6M)
  • The measurement of hydrodynamic data required in an assessment of directional stability. (Contributing to EAB accreditation LOs: EA3)
  • Model or full scale trials to assess the manoeuvrability and controllability of marine vehicles operating in calm and/or restricted waters.(Contributing to EAB accreditation LOs: EA1, P2)
  • The principles of control theory through familiarising the students with various input/output descriptions of dynamic systems and frequency domain descriptions and dynamic analysis. (Contributing to EAB accreditation LOs: SM1, SM2, SM7, EA1, EA4)
  • The concept of stability concepts and effect of feedback control on sensitivity. (Contributing to EAB accreditation LOs: EA3, EA4)
Subject Specific Practical Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Apply basic methods of classical control system design such as root locus and phase lead-lag. (Contributing to EAB accreditation LOs: EA3)


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: • Introduction to control including concepts of block diagrams, open and closed loop systems. • Modelling of dynamic systems in time and S-domains including concepts of transfer functions and state space modelling techniques. • Characteristics of dynamic systems including system response of 1st and 2nd order systems, performance metrics, system stability and concepts of poles and zeros. • Control and analysis of dynamic systems including PID controllers, root locus plots and applications to marine vehicles. Controllability of a marine vehicle. This assignment integrates Parts A and B, through the use of hydrodynamic derivatives developed in Part A for the control system design of a marine vehicle.

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 marine vehicle • Report-writing for the assignment • Use of software / programming through the assignment.

Preparation for scheduled sessions4
Completion of assessment task30
Wider reading or practice10
Follow-up work33
Practical classes and workshops3
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Resources and reading list. Available on blackboard



MethodPercentage contribution
Continuous Assessment 40%
Final Assessment  60%


MethodPercentage contribution
Set Task 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Set Task 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

Linked modules

Pre-requisite: SESS2015

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