Copyright © 2010 Chia-Hung Shih et al. This is an open access article distributed under the
Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Although there have been a variety of studies about vehicular maneuvers on land or sea, maneuvers within a small area that require direction changes have rarely been discussed. The arrival or departure of ships to or from ports requires safe and effective turning maneuvers within a narrow area. In this study, we decompose the maneuver procedure into several operations, then establish an operational model, simplifying the behaviors of rudders and thrusters that operate the turning maneuver, ignoring the environmental factors. This proposed model is a unified model that can be applied to all types of ships, regardless of individual characteristics. Each operation is defined as an isolated procedure that has its own effect on the maneuver behavior and the whole maneuver procedure can be treated as a combination of these operations. A case study using this model to construct the optimal turning maneuver within a limited sea area is also provided.