Seamanship is a term embracing and affecting all
parts of the shipping industry, and it probably relates
to all professional operative activities. The main
seamanship dimensions skills, knowledge, and
attitude correlate with the ideals of the term
Competence is measured by the ability to put into
practice the knowledge, skills and attitudes which
have been learned and understood. It is this
integration in practice which is the crucial part, not
simply the acquisition of knowledge and skills [4].
According to the Old Testament [6], the
Phoenicians had knowledge of the sea, i.e., one of the
seamanship-related dimensions. King Solomon chose
Origin and Development of Seamanship Competence
. Johansen
UiT The Arctic University of Norway, Tromsø, Norway
ABSTRACT: Seafaring is one of the oldest documented human activities, with a rich heritage created by
generations of seamen. The first boats were developed several thousand years ago, based on primitive
principles, and they were probably not suitable for other than simple purposes. Analyzing the history of boat
building shows a gradual change in designs. These design changes were most likely due to improvements,
related to different aspects of experiences undergone; the changing activity purposes of the boats; and the
continual resolution of a conflict between what is possible and what is desired.
Nevertheless, design changes and different improvements were developed in a relationship between
experiences gained by sailors and shipbuilders. Therefore, the development of seafaring was probably, both
directly and indirectly, based on the experiences of sailors who had gained knowledge of the sea. The first
written documentation to support the relationship between sailors and knowledge of the sea is in the Old
Testament of the Christian Bible, approximately 950 years before Christ. King Solomon of Israel formed an
alliance with the Phoenician king of Tyre, Hiram 1, because he needed the Phoenicians’ ships and naval
“And Hiram sent his servants with the fleet, sailors that have knowledge of the sea, along with the servants of
Solomon” (1. King IX 27).
The phrase “sailors with knowledge of the sea” correlates with a partial core of seamanship science. The science
of seamanship is a multi-dimensional expression, which concerns seamen’s complete competence in sailing and
operating a ship.
The purpose of this article is to discuss the origin and development of the ship-operating aspects of seamanship
and shed light on aspects of the development and challenges regarding exercise of seamanship competence-
related maritime education and training (MET).
International Journal
on Marine Navigation
and Safety of S
ea Transportation
Volume 16
Number 2
June 2022
DOI: 10.12716/1001.16.02.19