March 25 - Professional Mariner magazine has announced the 2010 winners of the Samuel Plimsoll Awards for outstanding service.

The winner for Outstanding Service by an Organisation is the London-based Nautical Institute. It was honoured for its support of the professional development of mariners and for its promotion of safety in the maritime industry.

The awards are named after Samuel Plimsoll, a British Member of Parliament who strove to end the dangerous practice of overloading vessels. His efforts culminated in legislation passed in 1876 requiring load lines, or Plimsoll marks, to be visible on the hulls of seagoing ships. The awards honour those who, in the spirit of Samuel Plimsoll, make the world a better and safer place for mariners.

The Nautical Institute demonstrably embodies that spirit in its work. Founded by a group of master mariners in 1971, the institute has striven to help mariners improve their performance by raising training standards and disseminating information crucial to greater operational efficiency and safety.

For example, 20 years ago, the Institute recognized that no operational standards existed for what was then a new technology, dynamic positioning systems. In response, the institute developed a code of practice and a curriculum for training and certifying DP operators. Today schools around the world accredited by The Nautical Institute provide the certification training, while The Nautical Institute itself administers the logbook programme that verifies the mariner's progress on the path to DP certification.

One of the organisation's most notable contributions to improved safety is the programme makes it possible for the industry to learn from dangerous incidents and implement changes to avoid accidents in the future. The system encourages mariners to report near misses in which they were involved without having their identities publicly revealed. Those reports are then analysed by The Nautical Institute and disseminated in its Seaways magazine.

The Nautical Institute's Chief Executive, Philip Wake, said: 'We are delighted that our work to improve the safety and efficiency of shipping services through professional standards and development has been recognised by this prestigious Award. It is further encouragement for our members and staff to continue their dedicated efforts for the industry and the protection of the marine environment.'

Pictured below is Bridget Hogan, director Publishing and Marketing from The Nautical Institute with left, Captain George Sandberg FNI, president of the Institute's North East US branch and right, John Gormley, editor of Professional Mariner.