A definition of the severity or adversity of met-ocean conditions under which ships need to maintain manoeuvrability is a basis for formulating power and steering requirements for ships. Specification of such adverse weather conditions is one of the objectives of the SHOPERA (Energy Efficient Safe SHip OPERAtion) (2013-2016) project, funded by the European Commission in the frame of FP7. Three distinct situations requiring different adverse weather criteria are considered in the project: manoeuvring in the open sea, manoeuvring in coastal waters and low-speed manoeuvring in restricted areas. The purpose of the present study is twofold, first to investigate met-ocean climate associated with the three selected scenarios and specifying its main properties, second identifying critical met-ocean characteristics requiring sensitivity studies in numerical simulations and model tests. Both measured and hindcast data are used in the analysis. The North Atlantic deep water met-ocean environment and three coastal locations are considered. Seaway joint statistics for ship routes across the North Atlantic and in European coastal areas is supporting the investigations. It is shown that met-ocean conditions vary significantly in deep and coastal waters with regard to the likelihood of occurrence of sea states as well as their characteristics.