Canadian Hydrographer Certification Scheme

Submitted by Bruce Calderbank, FRICS, CLS, P. Eng.

The Association of Canada Lands Surveyors (ACLS) has developed a certification model for hydrographers and offshore surveyors that has been officially recognized by the IHO/FIG/ICA International Board of Standards and Competence for Hydrographic Surveyors and Nautical Cartographers (IBSC) in April 2016 and is now ready to receive applications.


The ACLS scheme is the second internationally recognized scheme in the world. The scheme is designed to promote IBSC-Accredited Category A or B training in Canada, while standardizing knowledge and experience requirements for individuals possessing non-accredited hydrographic surveying training and experience.

The ACLS program has two levels of certification. The first level is for project leaders and managers and the second level is for technologists. Each level has a variety of itineraries towards certification. There are paths available in both Level 1 and 2 for non-holders of IBSC-Accredited Category A or B training to become certified. The ACLS certification program is open to both ACLS-commissioned and non-commissioned hydrographic and offshore surveyors in Canada and abroad.

08-27-12-06Source – Canadian Hydrographic Service

Certification by a hydrographic or offshore surveyor is desirable because certification:

  • provides a formally recognized and structured career path for the hydrographic or offshore surveyor.
  • establishes the hydrographic or offshore surveyor’s level of expertise and competency.
  • ensures that the hydrographic or offshore surveyor is aware of the changing technologies in these sectors.
  • provides the certificate holder with an enhanced profile within their industry.
  • prepares the hydrographic or offshore surveyor for the next global expansion in these sectors.

The Canadian Hydrographer Certification Scheme is similar to the certification provided by the Australasian Hydrographic Surveyors Certification Panel (AHSCP) which is also recognized by the IBSC. The Canadian Hydrographer Certification Scheme allows persons who execute as well as persons who plan and manage hydrographic and offshore surveys to be certified.  The Scheme also allows for persons with the National Society of Professional Surveyors (NSPS) who are qualified Certified Hydrographers (CH) to become certified by an IBSC-recognized scheme, generally after the completion of a detailed project report.

The ACLS is a national, bilingual, self-regulated, non-governmental professional organization with jurisdiction over Canada’s Offshore Lands. The ACLS promotes and enforces the highest professional qualifications and standards, professional and ethical standards, and annual continuing professional development (CPD) requirements.


Source – Canadian Hydrographic Service

For information on the scheme, please visit the ACLS website at or contact the ACLS Registrar, Jean-Claude Tétreault, at or +1-613-723-9200.

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