Vessel Traffic Services National Occupational Standards (NOS)

These National Occupational Standards detail the competencies required of a Vessel Traffic Services (VTS) Operator as defined within the Port Marine Safety Code.

You can download a copy of the full set of NOS by clicking the download button at the bottom right of the page.

Often part of a larger team, the ‘VTS operative’ is responsible for co-ordinating the movement of all vessels within the harbour area and ensuring a safe passage without risk of collision with other vessels or shore installations. The role requires the use of electronic tracking systems and various types of communications equipment.

The NOS were produced by Port Skills and Safety Ltd, in conjunction with the Vessel Traffic Services Policy Steering Group (operated through the Maritime and Coastguard Agency) and the United Kingdom Vessel Traffic Services Association.

Please note that VTS operators, supervisors and instructors must have relevant VTS certification to be qualified to international standards. Application for any of the following VTS certificates can be made via the MCA website

  • operator logbook (V103/1)
  • supervisor endorsement (V103/2)
  • instructor endorsement (V103/4)
  • revalidation

 

PSSVTS001 Operate communications equipment

  • This standard covers the skills and knowledge required to operate communications equipment in a Vessel Traffic Services (VTS) role.
  • The Vessel Traffic Services Operator is required to communicate with all persons that may be undertaking or affected by vessel movement. The Vessel Traffic Services Operator must determine if communications equipment is operating correctly identifying faults and dealing with them effectively. The Vessel Traffic Services Operator should be able to use radiotelephone, Automatic Identification System (AIS) messaging, Digital Selective Calling (DSC), telephone, facsimile and electronic mail equipment and systems effectively. They should be able to employ approved phrases and procedures so that their verbal communications can be understood without ambiguity.
  • The Vessel Traffic Services Operator is required to use data recording, data management systems and data export equipment.

Target Group

This standard applies to an authorised and appropriately qualified Vessel Traffic Services Operator who has a duty to ensure the safety of navigation and protection of the environment within their area.

There are seven elements in this standard:

  1. Monitor the serviceability of the equipment
  2. Use radiotelephone equipment
  3. Use Automatic Identification System messaging equipment
  4. Use Digital Selective Calling equipment
  5. Use telephone equipment
  6. Use facsimile, and electronic messaging equipment
  7. Use data recording equipment

PSSVTS002 Maintain and update vessel traffic image

  • This standard covers the skills and knowledge required to maintain and update a vessel traffic image.
  • A Vessel Traffic Services Operator is required to make a full appraisal of vessel traffic, correctly identifying all significant vessel traffic within and also entering the Vessel Traffic Services area. Additionally, the Vessel Traffic Services Operator must promptly contact all significant unidentified vessel traffic entering the area.

Target Group

This standard applies to an authorised Vessel Traffic Services Operator who has a duty to ensure the safety of navigation and protection of the environment within their area.

There are three elements in this standard:

  1. Make a full appraisal of all vessel traffic in the Vessel Traffic Services area
  2. Correctly identify all significant vessel traffic in the Vessel Traffic Services area and vessel traffic entering into the area
  3. Promptly contact all significant unidentified vessel traffic entering the Vessel Traffic Services area

 

PSSVTS003 Monitor the present and forecast meteorological and hydrological conditions

  • This standard covers the skills and knowledge required to monitor the present and forecast meteorological and hydrological conditions
  • The Vessel Traffic Services Operator is required to obtain and monitor meteorological and hydrological information. They use this information to determine the present and forecast meteorological and hydrological conditions and to make appropriate responses based on that determination.
  • This element concerns the ability of the Vessel Traffic Services Operator to obtain present and forecast meteorological and hydrological conditions.

Target Group

This standard applies to an authorised Vessel Traffic Services Operator who has a duty to ensure the safety of navigation and protection of the environment within their area

There are two elements in this standard:

  1. Determine the present and obtain forecast meteorological and hydrological conditions
  2. Receive, monitor and respond to meteorological and hydrological information

 

PSSVTS004 Apply nautical knowledge to Vessel Traffic Services operations

  • This standard covers the competence required to apply nautical knowledge to Vessel Traffic Services operations
  • A Vessel Traffic Services Operator is required to carry out chart work in the context of coastal navigation. They need to know and understand the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea and the responsibilities that vessels have in complying with these rules. The Vessel Traffic Services Operator needs to be aware of and appreciate the various types of marine aids to navigation, their advantages, limitations and locations within the Vessel Traffic Services area.
  • The Vessel Traffic Services Operator is in communication with and will be managing vessel traffic. The Vessel Traffic Services Operator should be familiar with ship terminology, types of ship and the various cargoes they carry, basic ship stability and ship manoeuvring and handling. The Operator also needs to be aware of the duties and responsibilities of a ship’s master, other members of the bridge team and the pilot and the contribution that each person makes in the safe navigation of the vessel.
  • The Vessel Traffic Services Operator is an integral part of port operations and needs to be able to identify the various stakeholders involved in port operations, know how they interact with the Vessel Traffic Services and be aware of the contribution that each stakeholder makes in promoting the safety and efficiency of the port.

Target Group

This standard applies to an authorised Vessel Traffic Services Operator who has a duty to ensure the safety of navigation and protection of the environment within their area.

There are six elements in this standard:

Interpret nautical charts

  1. Apply the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea
  2. Apply knowledge of Marine Aids to Navigation
  3. Apply knowledge of Marine Navigational Aids
  4. Apply knowledge of ship construction, handling and nautical terminology
  5. Apply knowledge of port operations

 

PSSVTS005 Communicate with stakeholders and allied services

  • This standard covers the skills and knowledge required to communicate with stakeholders and allied services when carrying out Vessel Traffic Services Operator duties.
  • The Vessel Traffic Services Operator is required to successfully communicate information and directions to vessels, marine pilots and other third parties to facilitate the safe and efficient use of the port and its approaches. They need to understand the principles of communication and to communicate effectively. They need to maintain and to differentiate between logs and records and to use approved phrases and procedures.

Target Group

This standard applies to an authorised Vessel Traffic Services Operator who has a duty to ensure the safety of navigation and protection of the environment within their area.

There are three elements in this standard:

  1. Communicate effectively
  2. Maintain logs and records
  3. Use approved phrases and procedures

 

PSSVTS006 Apply numeracy and information technology to Vessel Traffic Services operations

  • This standard covers the skills and knowledge required to apply numeracy and information technology to Vessel Traffic Services operations.
  • The Vessel Traffic Services operator is required to make calculations and to use Information Technology to inform decisions and provide information to stakeholders.

Target Group

This standard applies to an authorised Vessel Traffic Services operator who has a duty to ensure the safety of navigation and protection of the environment within their area.

There are two elements in this standard:

  1. Apply numeracy to Vessel Traffic Services operations
  2. Apply information technology to Vessel Traffic Services operations

 

PSSVTS007 Conduct Vessel Traffic Services operations professionally

  • This standard covers the skills and knowledge required to conduct Vessel Traffic Services operations professionally.
  • The Vessel Traffic Services Operator is required to work effectively and co-operatively with others. They need to be able to negotiate, resolve conflicts and have good co-operation with stakeholders and allied services and build effective team-working skills.
  • The Vessel Traffic Services Operator also needs to be aware of safety, personal health (including mental and physical fatigue), punctuality, attentiveness and compliance with the relevant health and safety at work regulations. They are required to respond promptly to the needs of, monitor the performance of, and provide assistance to team members. In addition, a Vessel Traffic Services Operator should ensure that workload is within individuals’ capabilities, monitor the workload, give assistance where necessary and identify variations and deviations in tasks.
  • The Vessel Traffic Services Operator is responsible for improving their own learning and performance, by agreeing and meeting targets, taking responsibility for learning and by reviewing progress.
  • The Vessel Traffic Services Operator is required to explore complex problems, derive solutions, plan and implement them and subsequently monitor and test the effectiveness of the solution.

Target Group

This standard applies to an authorised Vessel Traffic Services Operator who has a duty to ensure the safety of navigation and protection of the environment within their area.

There are six elements in this standard:

  1. Work with others
  2. Take personal responsibility
  3. Respond to the needs of team members
  4. Ensure workload is within individual capabilities
  5. Improve personal learning and performance
  6. Solve problems

 

PSSVTS008 Respond to emergency situations

  • This standard covers the skills and knowledge required to respond to emergency situations.
  • The Vessel Traffic Services Operator is required to comply with local, national and international regulations relevant to emergency situations in the Vessel Traffic Services area. The Vessel Traffic Services Operator must prioritise and respond promptly to both internal and external emergency situations, correctly selecting and using the appropriate contingency plan in the event of an emergency. The Vessel Traffic Services Operator must also be able to co-ordinate with and support allied services whilst also maintaining a safe waterway throughout emergency situations.
  • Additionally, Vessel Traffic Services Operators must be able to respond effectively to internal emergencies within the Vessel Traffic Services Centre. In particular, ensuring the continuity or resumption of services interrupted by incidents that impact the safety and security of the personnel and/or operation.

Target Group

This standard applies to an authorised Vessel Traffic Services Operator who has a duty to ensure the safety of navigation and protection of the environment within their area.

There are six elements in this standard:

  1. Comply with local, national and international regulations
  2. Prioritise and respond to incidents
  3. Use contingency plans
  4. Co-ordinate with and support stakeholders and allied services
  5. Maintain a safe waterway throughout emergency situations
  6. Respond effectively to internal emergencies within the Vessel Traffic Services Centre

PSSVTS009 Use shore-based radar and tracking systems safely

  • This standard covers the skills and knowledge required to use radar and tracking systems safely
  • The Vessel Traffic Services Operator is required to monitor the serviceability of radar and tracking equipment to determine if the equipment is operating correctly, identify any faults, and to deal with them. Of critical importance is the capability to use marine radar and automatic tracking systems at an operational level, to ensure safety.

Target Group

This standard applies to an authorised Vessel Traffic Services Operator who has a duty to ensure the safety of navigation and protection of the environment within their area.

There are two elements in this standard:

  1. Monitor the serviceability of shore-based radar equipment
  2. Use shore-based radar and tracking systems safely

 

PSSVTS010 Provide Vessel Traffic Service

  • This standard covers the skills and knowledge required to provide a vessel traffic service.
  • The core purpose of the Vessel Traffic Services Operator is to is to improve the safety and efficiency of navigation, safety of life at sea and the protection of the marine environment.
  • A Vessel Traffic Services Operator can contribute to this through the provision of information, advice or instructions, dependent on the level of service provided.

Target Group

This standard applies to an authorised Vessel Traffic Services Operator who has a duty to ensure the safety of navigation and protection of the environment within their area

There are three elements in this standard:

  1. Provide an Information Service (INS)
  2. Provide Traffic Organisation Service (TOS)
  3. Provide Navigational Assistance Service (NAS)

 

Date approved: April 2013

Resource Information

Post date 09/05/2017
Code PSSVTSNOS
Price Free to download

Attachments

PSS VTS NOS 2013 Full Version PDF (864.26 KB) Download