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The ship’s behaviour and manoeuvrability change as depth of water decreases and/or when the ship is near a bank or shoal. This paper conducts a review on shallow water effects (SWE) and bank effects (BE). It summarizes the varying opinions from both experienced mariners and hydrodynamicists about SWE on factors such as resistance, trim, steering, manoeuvrability and stopping, as well as BE on elements such as bank suction and cushion and it is shown that there is not a common sense in the bibliography. This is strange because the successful navigation of a ship along the channel to the dock is an identifiable task whose outcome is the same in all cases. Yet surprisingly it is a subject upon which there are different opinions documented. This review refreshes mariner’s memory and raises controversial topics that need clarification for the benefit of mariners, simulator modellers and the maritime industry they work.