The Ice Navigation and Seamanship Handbook

(2 reviews)
Number of Pages:
Book Height:
305 mm
Book Width:
215 mm
2.1 kg
Published Date:
July 2019
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This publication provides a detailed explanation of every aspect of seamanship and safe navigation in ice. It equips seafarers with both a practical and conceptual understanding of this challenging environment. Topics covered include types of ice and where they may be encountered, STCW Convention compliant crew training, the Polar Code and pollution response.

This book identifies the world’s major ice regions, with maps illustrating ice routes and seasonal particulars. It describes how ship handling procedures may differ according to ice characteristics. Ice Class notation is detailed and diagrams illustrate design, construction and operating considerations of these ships. The book contains useful checklists for both the deck and engine departments. Sources and methods of acquiring ice and weather information are detailed according to ship type and the technology available.

Navigation in ice is one of the most challenging tasks a mariner may face. The navigator is concerned with the physical dangers of the ice and the restrictions imposed on the ship, in terms of route, speed and endurance. The need to protect those on board, whether from the risk of collision with an iceberg or more generally from exposure to hazardous climatic conditions, must be ever present in the mind of the navigator.


The harsh realities of icy environments are equally challenging to the mariner. Keeping a proper lookout and maintaining a safe route through different types of ice are difficult in areas such as the polar regions, where aids to navigation are minimal and where electronic equipment is affected by the environment.


The changing nature of the environment, due to global warming and the subsequent melting of the icecaps, has resulted in considerable growth in maritime traffic in the polar regions. New shipping routes have opened up and there has been increased interest in the extraction of raw materials.


The Polar Code entered into force on 1st January 2017 in recognition of the need for regulatory protection of these vulnerable sea areas. It is designed to protect the environment from shipping, and equally to protect those on board ships that venture to the harsh polar regions.


The SOLAS, STCW and MARPOL conventions continue to directly apply to ships and navigators operating in ice, setting out the minimum requirements for ship design, safety, manning and environmental protection.


As with all navigation, careful preparation significantly reduces the risk of an accident. In icy environments consideration should be given to the nature of the ice, its dangers and the regions where it is encountered, ship handling, passage planning, crew training, and preparing the ship for the expected weather. This manual will allow seafarers to acquire the necessary knowledge and understanding which, when combined with practical experience, will enable safe navigation in ice.

Chapter 1 Ice Types

1.1 Fresh Water Ice

1.2 Sea Ice

1.3 Glacial Ice

1.4 Fast Ice

1.5 Pack Ice

1.6 Ice Movement (Drift)

1.7 Ice Deterioration and Change

Chapter 2 The Ice Regions

2.1 Regional Polar Ice Differences

2.2 Northern Ice

2.3 Southern Ice

2.4 Individual Ice Regions

Chapter 3 Regulations and the Polar Code

3.1 International Agreements and Regulations

3.2 The Polar Code

3.3 Regional and Local Regulations

3.4 Sovereignty

Chapter 4 Ice Class Ships

4.1 Classification Standards

4.2 Ice Design Considerations

4.3 Class Notations for ‘Winterisation’ and De-Icing

4.4 Double-Acting Ships

4.5 Icebreaking Propulsion Plant

4.6 Mooring Equipment

4.7 Insurance

4.8 Icebreaker Construction

4.9 Oblique Icebreaker Design

Chapter 5 Preparing a Ship for Ice

5.1 Ballast and Trim

5.2 Fresh Water Tanks and Fire Lines

5.3 Main Engine

5.4 Sea Inlets

5.5 Garbage and Waste

5.6 Searchlights

5.7 Deck Protection

5.8 Ice Accretion and Stability

5.9 De-Icing

5.10 Safety

5.11 Checklist for the Deck Department

5.12 Checklist for the Engine Department

Chapter 6 Forecasting and Reporting Ice Conditions

6.1 International and SOLAS Requirements for Ice Reporting

6.2 Ice Forecasts and Ice Charts

6.3 The Egg Code

6.4 Colour Coding Ice Charts

6.5 Ice Symbols and Indications Associated with International Ice Charts

6.6 Iceberg Coding and Message Preparation

6.7 Ice Reporting and Forecast Systems in the Baltic Sea

6.8 Ice Reporting and Forecast Systems in the Arctic Region

6.9 Ice Reporting and Forecast Systems in the Antarctic Region

6.10 Use of Satellite Imagery for Onboard Navigation

6.11 Private Sources of Information/Satellite Data

Chapter 7 Preparing the Crew for Ice

7.1 Training for Ice Conditions

7.2 Clothing

7.3 Accidents and Emergencies

7.4 General Crew Comfort

7.5 Wind Chill

7.6 Medical

Chapter 8 Navigation in Ice

8.1 Passage Planning

8.2 Watchkeeping Practices

8.3 Evidence of Ice

8.4 Navigation in Pack Ice

8.5 Visibility and Heating

8.6 Position Fixing in Ice Conditions

8.7 Radar Use in Ice Conditions

8.8 Compasses

Chapter 9 Ship handling

9.1 Entering the Ice

9.2 Approaching the Ice Edge

9.3 Underway in Ice

9.4 Pinch Points

9.5 Beset in Ice

9.6 Anchoring in Ice

9.7 Inland Navigation: Canal and Lock Systems

9.8 Damage in Ice

9.9 Berthing in Ports with Ice

Chapter 10 Ship Operations in Ice

10.1 Cargo Operations (Liquid/Gas)

10.2 Cargo Operations (Bulk/General)

10.3 Passenger Ships

Chapter 11 Working with Icebreakers

11.1 Icebreaker Assistance for Beset Ships

11.2 Ice Convoys

11.3 Requirements for Escorted Ships

11.4 Towing in Ice

11.5 Nuclear Powered Icebreakers

11.6 The World Icebreaker and Icebreaking Supply Fleet

Chapter 12 Pollution in Ice Covered Waters

12.1 Introduction and Overview

12.2 Incidents and Accidents in Ice Covered Waters

12.3 Spill Scenarios

12.4 Oil Fate and Behaviour

12.5 Detection and Spill Surveillance

12.6 Response Strategies – Recovery and Removal

12.7 International Agreements, Liabilities and Regulations

12.8 Regional Spill Response Resources

12.9 Response Planning Resources

Number of Pages:
Book Height:
305 mm
Book Width:
215 mm
2.1 kg
Published Date:
July 2019

BIMCO and Witherbys

Product Catalogue:
Definitive Guides PDF


  • 5
    A reference tool and an operational handbook that is as useful in the classroom as it is in the wheelhouse.

    (Posted on 29/10/2020) Review by Drummond Fraser, Senior Policy Advisor, Transport Canada, Marine Safety and Security BIMCO’s Ice Navigation and Seamanship Handbook is an indispensable resource for operators and regulators alike. It is at once comprehensive in scope yet focused in its attention to detail; a reference tool and an operational handbook that is as useful in the classroom as it is in the wheelhouse. At over 400 pages in length every chapter feels essential, and its contents are presented in such a way to be consumed from front to back, or instead in discrete stand-alone blocks of information. Every chapter is also incredibly accessible, taking often complex topics and presenting them in a clear straightforward way, while being complemented with countless high-resolution photos and graphics. As a regulator, its reassuring to note that this Handbook is rooted in a recognition of the range of unique risks – not just ice – that ships (and their personnel) will inevitably encounter when operating throughout the Arctic and Antarctic Regions, as well as in other lower latitudes prone to ice cover for parts of the year. Indeed, while the presence of ice may serve as a common denominator, this Handbook never treats the geographic expanse covered as being homogenous, but rather recognizes and expands upon in length the myriad of regional differences – be they ship design, environmental hazards, legislative regimes or other – across the Arctic States and elsewhere. BIMCO’s Ice Navigation and Seamanship Handbook is a welcomed contribution to the literature on polar shipping, and one I’d recommend to both seasoned seafarers and to casual observers looking to expand their knowledge on a subject with burgeoning global interest.

  • 5
    The best explained handbook for ice navigation on the marked

    (Posted on 04/06/2020) Costumer-Review by Bjørn Kay; Lecturer of Marstal Maritime Academy; active ice navigator at sea and ice advisor, polar code 2018 instructor since 1995 with service in Greenland Waters, and a member of the International Ice Charting Workgroup. The book is excellent to learn ice navigation and give very good explanation hoe to conduct a safe navigation under the Polar Code 2018 Areas as well in areas outside of the polar code e.g. Baltic Sea. “The Ice Navigation and Seamanship Handbook” is build with the needs of good planning structure for ice navigation and the use of the required POLARIS which has to be calculated in the planning process in relation to the requirements given in the Polar Code 2018. Useful explanation of the proper use of the vessels ice class for the charter agreement, planning and conduct of vessel in ice regime are well practical explained and can be used from a new educated ice navigator or be used as inspiration and reflection for an experienced ice navigator or ice advisor on the polar code advanced level. Especially the sketches and pictures showing the real world and the approach which need to be consider by the ice navigator. One of the other good chapter in the book is the explicit practical explanation how you can plan work of the crew and protect them in the polar code area and in a ice regime which can be found outside of the area covered by the polar code. The whole book needs to be learned and understand by the responsible inspector form a shipping company which is in charge of the overall ice in relation to the planning of voyages inside the polar code or outside the polar code areas. Shipping companies will get important inspiration from chapter 12 and what needs to be done in the planning and conduct of a sea voyage or operation in a ice regime to understands the needs to protect the sensitive environment in polar code areas. And in special areas which is mentioned in MARPOL. The book gives a basic ice navigator and a advanced ice navigator good inspiration and practical instruction what needs to be trained from basic to advanced level on board of a vessel in ice regimes to meet the requirements which are addressed by the Polar Code 2018 before the candidate is attending the advanced polar code training. From my point of you and experienced as a member of the International Ice Charting Workgroup is chapter 6 “Forecasting and Reporting Ice Conditions” very well explained and is focusing of the mariners needs on the basic level in relation to the polar code. For the advanced level the chapter 6.10 “Use of Satellite Imagery for Onboard Navigation” is well presented and gives the readers a possibility to understand modern technology and distribution of important ice information for the ice advisor and the advanced ice navigator or ice pilot. The sat imagery is the future of service which will meet the requirements for the ice services around the world mentioned in the polar code 2018. I can recommend fully the book and use it for training at the Academy as well on board in active service on ships sailing in ice regimes!