Port BoK:

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

Body of Knowledge for Port Engineering


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

The intent of the PEBOK 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. Port 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 port 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 PEBOK 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 Port Engineering categories below so as to demonstrate mastery of the discipline.


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

Port Engineering

General Knowledge

  • Life cycle planning and management
  • Codes and standards, risk assessment
  • Engineering economics; cost-benefit analysis
  • Construction management
  • Contracting
  • Safety and security of port facilities
  • Intermodal connections – highway, rail, pipeline
  • Safety & security of environment, public use, private/public property
  • Adverse and beneficial environmental impacts analysis
  • Sustainability planning, design and analysis
  • Environmental law and policy with respect to port engineering projects

Design of Port Facilities

  • Wharves, docks, piers
  • Bulkheads, slope protection and retaining structures
  • Cranes, ship loaders, conveyors, gangways
  • Mooring systems (including passing vessel effects)
  • Terminal improvements, gates, utilities, drainage
  • Channel design

Construction of Port Facilities

  • Dredging, rock dikes, landfill
  • Dredged material beneficial uses; disposal
  • Pile installation, tie-back systems
  • Excavations and earthwork, retaining walls, groundwater
  • Pavements
  • Power distribution and lighting
  • Dock and pier installation

Environmental Considerations in Port Engineering

  • Permits and regulatory requirements
  • Contaminated sediments
  • Hazardous material handling
  • Stormwater control
  • Habitat protection and restoration
  • Mitigation of construction and facility impact
  • Environmental impact assessment
  • Seismic issues

Operation and Maintenance of Port Facilities

  • Underwater inspection
  • Hydrographic surveying
  • Wharf, pier and waterfront structure inspection
  • Pavement inspection and repair
  • Scheduling and traffic control; communications


Approved by the ACOPNE Board of Trustees September 16, 2016