Navigation BoK:


Academy of Coastal, Port, Ocean, and Navigation Engineers (ACOPNE)

Body of Knowledge for Navigation Engineering


The ACOPNE Navigation Engineering Body of Knowledge (NEBOK) is to be used by ACOPNE evaluation panels to determine if candidates for Diplomate certification qualify for certification.

The intent of the NEBOK is not to establish a checklist of requirements, but to provide a template by which the Academy can more uniformly evaluate a candidate’s education and experience, reducing but not eliminating subjectivity.

The American Society of Civil Engineers BOK lists the outcomes necessary for Professional Licensing in 24 Categories. Navigation Engineering Certification requires the same levels as the ASCE BOK plus mastery of at least one advanced technical outcome in navigation engineering under ASCE BOK Outcomes 5 through 24.

We define “Mastery” of an outcome to mean that the engineer has reached the level of expertise such that more challenging, complex, and difficult problems may be solved than can be addressed by an ordinarily competent licensed engineer.

Mastery of a topic can be demonstrated by planning, designing, constructing, operating, managing, regulating, or researching navigation projects of geographic or type diversity at the expert level with increasing levels of responsibility and difficulty, teaching advanced courses on these topics, authoring or coauthoring papers and contributing to books, and contributing to the profession, such as through society committees, on these topics. Mastery may be manifested as exceptional expertise in a single area or as recognized expertise in multiple topic areas.

The NEBOK consists of:

  • Fulfillment, at the level required for licensure, of all 24 outcomes in the ASCE BOK.
  • Fulfillment, at the expert level of at least one outcome from the ASCE BOK Outcomes 5 through 24 as related to one or more Navigation Engineering categories from the listing below so as to demonstrate mastery of the discipline.


The technical outcomes below will be used by the ACOPNE Board of Trustees or a Board-designated examination panel to evaluate applicants for certification.

Navigation Engineering

General Knowledge

  • Life cycle planning and asset management
  • Codes and standards, risk assessment
  • Engineering economics; cost-benefit analysis
  • Marine transportation system components, laws, stakeholders and participants
  • Intermodal connections – from MTS to multi-modal
  • Naval architecture basics, to define vessel and fleet
  • Contracting; plans, specifications, and inspecting
  • Safety and security of navigation facilities
  • Surveying; determination of datums
  • Sustainability of navigation infrastructure

Hydraulics and Hydrology

  • Water level changes
  • River and channel morphology and changes
  • Floods and storms
  • Ice and debris hazards
  • Waves and currents
  • Sediment characteristics, sediment transport
  • Numerical and physical modeling of navigation facilities

Channel and Basin Design and Construction

  • Channel and basin size, depth and shape
  • Training structures
  • Shoreline and bank stabilization
  • Construction and stabilization of channels; control structures
  • Environmental evaluation of navigation effects
  • Navigation simulation
  • Loadings from design vessel and fleet

Lock and Dam Design and Construction

  • Spillways and gates
  • Instrumentation and control systems
  • Mechanical controls
  • Structural controls
  • Filling and emptying systems
  • Lock approaches and fendering systems
  • Construction of lock and dam facilities
  • Flows near and through locks and control systems

Operation and Maintenance of Navigation Facilities

  • Efficient lock operations
  • Management of maintenance activities
  • Use of instrumentation and control systems
  • Electronic information to support operation of navigation facilities
  • Dredging techniques and equipment
  • Disposal of dredged material; beneficial uses
  • Hydrographic surveying


Approved by the ACOPNE Board of Trustees September 16, 2016