Navigation Skills Assessment Program (NSAP)®

The vision of the Navigation Skills Assessment Program (NSAP)® is to reduce catastrophic maritime incidents by addressing mariner competency and knowledge and use of technology. At the conclusion of the NSAP® session a comprehensive report is provided to the company which can be used to determine the allocation of resources to improve specific skills or mitigate specific risks.


The Navigation Skills Assessment Program (NSAP)® is a risk-based measurement tool to assess a mariner’s performance in the simulator, focused specifically on the core skills required of licensed deck officers as defined by international standards and industry best practices. Each NSAP® session uses realistic scenario-based exercises geared toward each company’s operation and is assessed by trained and qualified subject matter experts. At the conclusion of the session the participant is debriefed by the assessor/facilitator. The debrief provides an opportunity for the participant to discuss his/her performance with the facilitator and for the facilitator to provide guidance to improve and enhance the participant’s navigational skills.


I have recently been assessed at MITAGS through their the Navigation Skills Assessment Program.® The NSAP® was by far the best and most enjoyable maritime educational challenge of my career. I literally can’t wait to do it again. It made me realize the $20K in courses and all the time spent in obtaining my 1600 Ton Oceans was worth it.  The program not only showed me where I need to focus my attention on, it highlighted my skills and strengths

Dan Schweitzer

USCG Mate, 1600 Tons Oceans


As a result of global demand across the maritime industry for an objective tool in risk mitigation, MITAGS has implemented the NSAP® at various International Training Centers (ITC) throughout the world.


Developed to the Highest Standards


The NSAP® assessment criteria are developed to measure mariner performance in consult with expert psychometricians, setting the highest standards in the industry. The minimum standards of competence outlined in Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping (STCW) Table A-II/1 and A-II/3 are used as the starting point. The scenario is then created using elements and challenges that mariners encounter in the real world—shoals, aids to navigation, traffic, weather, currents, shiphandling, bridge team management, communication, and vessel traffic systems—all of which are integrated into the appropriate regulatory framework of navigation rules, shipboard management systems, and company policies and procedures. As each layer is added, the realism and feasibility of the challenges created by that layer are evaluated by subject matter experts. By creating the scenario element by element, the developers build an assessment that is challenging and yet still within the capabilities of a competent mariner.

The Navigation Skills Assessment Program is developed based on an extensive Job Task Analysis and each assessment element is carefully mapped with Domestic and/or International regulations according to the various responsibilities of the NSAP® participants.

Each of the below NSAP® scenarios include a re-assessment component.

NSAP® Scenarios

NSAP® Oceans – Management Level
Primarily Management Level Deck Officers operating Deep Draft Vessels on Ocean Routes subject to the Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping (STCW).

NSAP® Oceans – Operational Level
Primarily for Operational Level Deck Officers operating Deep Draft Vessels on Ocean Routes subject to the Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping (STCW)

NSAP® Workboat
Primarily for Deck Officers operating vessels of a tonnage less than 3000 ITC operating on Routes subject to the Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping (STCW)

NSAP® River
Primarily for Deck Officers operating vessels of a tonnage less than 3000 ITC operating on Routes generally not subject to the Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping (STCW)

NSAP® New Hire
Primarily utilized to assist companies in the hiring process. The NSAP® new hire is sometimes used by companies or organizations in combination with an internally devised and set ‘cut-score’ to align to its organizational values in addition to the NSAP®-set highest standards and industry best practices.

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NSAP® Brochure

What People Are Saying

 I’m highly impressed with the work you are doing and the way you go about developing the NSAP® product. I also enjoyed meeting and spending time with the MITAGS’ Leadership Team, an impressive group of people. And last but not least, it was personally very gratifying to see the Cockpit Resource Management principles we developed at NASA during the 70’s and 80’s translated so effectively into the marine environment.

Dr. John Lauber

Former Chief of the Aeronautical Human Factors, Research Office of NASA

The NSAP® was a very effective way to accomplish both objectives and provided a valuable tool to identify opportunities for improvement both on an individual and fleet-wide level. It brought broad issues to the surface quickly like over-reliance on ECDIS and lack of effective COLREGS application. Of further note is a definite cultural shift after the officers went through the NSAP® process: Captains were taking lessons learned back to their vessels to raise the level of watchstanding by mates.

Captain Scott Craig

Director, Marine Development and Compliance, Crowley Marine Services

Overall, the assessment MITAGS’ West Coast campus has developed for their NSAP® was observed to be sound and well aligned to the performance skills of interest. Specifically, their group of subject matter experts possess an extraordinary wealth of practical ship piloting knowledge and experience, and were able to craft a well-designed exercise that incorporates more than 20 plausible, challenging, and in some cases, unexpected event scenarios to serve as measures for their assessment.

Alan Koenig PhD

UCLA National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing

The assessment process including the simulation scenarios are scientifically engineered to uncover the true and actual level of competency of a navigating officer giving ship owners/ship managers a vivid picture of risk areas that will need to be mitigated. It provides highly valuable input equal to if not more than what can be gathered from professional/technical interviews, simulation training, workplace (on the job) assessment and performance appraisal combined.

Captain Terence Uytingban

General Manager, UltraShip Crewing Phils., Inc.