Dynamic positioning is frequently used onboard ships where it is important to be in control over the ship's movement at all times.

The dynamic positioning system is a computer controlling all thrusters onboard the ship based on input from multiple sensors. The computer will control the direction of thrust and the power delivered to the propellers based on its evaluation of the current weather conditions.

The positioning system relies on position input from different sources:

The system can perform its function with only one of the sensors working, but for optimal performance as many position references as possible are used. This also creates redundancy in case some sensors have shut down or are reporting wrong data.

Different operational modes are available for DP controlled vessels:

The system can be set to strict conformance - leading to high thruster utilisation, but most systems can also be set to a more gentle response - leading to more fuel efficiency (this is also called Green DP).

DP has become a standard on most ships and vessels, being utelized both on cargo carriers, construction ships, drill rigs, and fast boats. It performes much like an autopilot does for planes.