Is the testing phase of a watercraft (including boats, ships, and submarines). It is also referred to as a "shakedown cruise" by many naval personnel. It is usually the last phase of construction and takes place on open water, and it can last from a few hours to many days.
Sea trials are conducted to measure a vessel’s performance and general seaworthiness. Testing of a vessel’s speed, maneuverability, equipment and safety features are usually conducted. Usually in attendance are technical representatives from the builder (and from builders of major systems), governing and certification officials, and representatives of the owners. Successful sea trials subsequently lead to a vessel’s cretification for commissioning and acceptance by its owner.
Although sea trials are commonly thought to be conducted only on new-built vessels (referred by shipbuilders as 'builders trials'), they are regularly conducted on commissioned vessels as well. In new vessels, they are used to determine conformance to construction specifications. On commissioned vessels, they are generally used to confirm the impact of any modifications.
Information Courtesy of Wikipedia