The International Hydrographic Organisation (IHO) publishes the internationally recognised Standards of Competence for Hydrographic Surveyors (S-5) (Download PDF). This document provides guidance and syllabus for educational and training programmes in order that courses (not individuals) are recognized with Category A or Category B status. In addition to the academic requirements of Category A and Category B courses, an individual must gain appropriate practical experience to become competent as a hydrographic surveyor.

The Australasian Hydrographic Surveyors Certification Panel (AHSCP) certification process is based upon the minimum subject matter as outlined in S-5, recognizing Category A, B and equivalent qualifications and appropriate experience.

The AHSCP certifies surveyors at two competency levels:

Level 1 - The highest attainable level of professional hydrographic surveying certification:

  • Deep understanding (Degree equivalent level) of the theoretical aspects of hydrographic surveying.
  • Extensive experience in practical hydrographic surveying.
  • Experience in leadership and management of project teams.

A Level 1 Hydrographic Surveyor is expected to:

  • Plan, undertake and manage complex hydrographic surveying projects.
  • Identify sources of error and resolve data discrepancies.
  • Maintain quality assurance principles.
  • Provide professional advice on hydrographic matters.
  • Compile and approve project reports.

Level 2 - Initial professional level of hydrographic surveying certification: 

  • A fundamental understanding (Diploma equivalent level) of the theoretical aspects of hydrographic surveying.
  • Practical experience in conducting various hydrographic surveying tasks.

A Level 2 Hydrographic Surveyor is expected to: 

  • Undertake the survey plan as directed.
  • Conduct data processing.
  • Prepare reports.

The subjects contained within the IHO S-5 Standards of Competence include:

(Download PDF)

Basics (compulsory):

  • Mathematics and Statistics
  • Information and Communication Technology
  • Physics
  • Nautical Science

Essentials (compulsory):

  • Bathymetry
  • Water levels and flow
  • Positioning
  • Hydrographic practice
  • Hydrographic data management
  • Environmental science
  • Legal aspects

In addition to the compulsory modules, a course may also provide additional Options and Hydrographic Surveyors will normally specialise in one or more of these areas:

  • Nautical Charting Hydrography
  • Hydrography to support Port Management and Coastal Engineering
  • Offshore Seismic Surveying
  • Offshore Construction Hydrography
  • Remote Sensing
  • Military Hydrography
  • Inland Waters Hydrography