Partial least squares (PLS) regression is used for identifying the hydrodynamic derivatives in the Abkowitz model for ship maneuvering motion. To identify the dynamic characteristics in ship maneuvering motion, the derivatives of hydrodynamic model's outputs are set as the target output of the PLS identification model. To verify the effectiveness of PLS parametric identification method in processing data with high dimensionality and heavy multicollinearity, the identified results of the hydrodynamic derivatives from the simulated 20 deg/20 deg zigzag test are compared with the planar motion mechanism (PMM) test results. The performance of PLS regression is also compared with that of the conventional least squares (LS) regression using the same dataset. Simulation results show the satisfactory identification and generalization performances of PLS regression and its superiority in comparison with the LS method, which demonstrates its capability in processing measurement data with high dimensionality and heavy multicollinearity, especially in processing data with small sample size.