24 Aug 2023
by Victoria Mentor

Get involved with our Special Interest Groups 

In the first of a series of blogs looking at volunteering opportunities in the Institute, Victoria Mentor, IMarEST Technical and Policy Co-ordinator, takes a look at ways members can get involved with our community through our Special Interest groups. 

If you’ve ever thought of volunteering and don’t know where to start, our Special Interest Groups (SIGs) may be the ideal place. They are open to all IMarEST members. We have a diverse range of topics covered by the SIGs on some of the most pressing issues in the marine sector such as alternative fuels, emissions in the shipping industry, artificial intelligence in the maritime domain, offshore renewables, naval engineering, plastic litter, and seafarer safety.  

Each group is run by a group of active committee members led by a chair (or co-chairs) who meet regularly to determine the activities that make up the programme and monitor progress – this includes establishing the deliverables and agreeing workstreams to deliver the SIG’s goals and objectives.  

Any member can sign up to a SIG mailing list and become a corresponding member to receive updates from the committee on activities and progress. Corresponding members can also provide expert input, advice or opinion as needed, as well as participate in all activities organised by the SIG.  

What are the SIGs doing? 

Every SIG has different goals, objectives, and outputs – it’s up to the members how they want to contribute to the marine and maritime sectors. SIGs have several ways they can create valuable outputs including sharing technical knowledge, creating policy, being involved with standards boards, and looking into training and education opportunities for our members.  

Some SIGs are focused on knowledge sharing; they share knowledge on past trends, current themes, and emerging research. They do this by creating webinars, reports, and other materials for their corresponding members. For example, the Maritime Autonomous Surface Ship and AI SIGs, Ship Repair Maintenance and Safety SIG, Marine Mammals SIG, and Coastal Science and Engineering SIGs, frequently engage members with technical webinars. The Global Fisheries SIG is planning a panel discussion of experts, while the Ballast Water Management and the Biofouling Management SIGs are working towards technical conferences.  

Other SIGs are involved in creating technical papers which range from drafting and or editing policy documents, creating position statements, producing best practice guides, advising on different standards boards, or working with other industry bodies to produce research reports. The Human Element, Marine Plastic and Ocean Litter, Operational Oceanography and Small Ships SIGs frequently engage in this type of activity.  

Some SIGs are passionate about training, education and closing the skills gap in some key marine sectors. The Naval Engineering, Offshore Renewables and Superyacht SIGs are all working towards bridging the skills gap.  

There are currently 18 active SIGs you can be a part of, or if you think there is a topic that is not being discussed you can create your own group. Learn about the SIGs and how you can get involved here.