All at Sea - The Navigator Issue 5

01 Feb 2014 The Navigator

In the last edition of The Navigator, we looked at the topic of positioning. Now, we turn our attention to ECDIS and ask what the change from paper charts to more modern technology means in real terms for today’s navigators.

A very important aspect of the change from paper charts to ECDIS is that of standards. As Master, I am responsible for ‘setting the bar’ onboard. If junior officers see that I view navigation and watch-keeping as a skill and take pride in how I undertake these, they will similarly follow suit. The change is inevitable. How we manage it is entirely up to us.
Tim Spencer MNI

I had never sailed on a vessel with ECDIS till March last year. Over a long 20 days of sailing, I familiarised myself well with it. On arriving in Brazil, I was made to shift anchorage ten times in seven days, due to local regulations. Believe me, that was the time I realised how useful ECDIS is to a navigator!
G B Singh AFNI

One of the perceived problems with ECDIS is that its use will lead to a degradation of traditional chart work and navigation skills. This need not be the case. All traditional navigation skills, which were previously taught by nautical colleges and practised for centuries by navigators, are possible using ECDIS.
Kevin Vallance MNI

Like any system, an ECDIS is not infallible. It has the same shortcomings that exist in any technical device. So, over-reliance may be dangerous.
Captain Cem Akyol

Change is the only constant in the maritime domain. Galloping technology mandates acceptance of change. ECDIS has definitely been an enabler for navigation safety, its pitfalls not withstanding. We need to accept the change and thrive with it.
Kamal Singh

The easiest way to check [the accuracy of an ECDIS position] is to use the radar overlay, and if this is not available, to cross-check with radar ranges and bearings. The big advantage of ECDIS is that it shows your position at all times. Even if you constantly plot positions into paper charts during an approach, you will not see any set and drift problem as quickly as you can see it on ECDIS.
Baerbel Beuse AFNI

Electronic navigation is here; the charts and technologies are excellent and will only grow in usability. The next question is, how does the seasoned smart navigator incorporate ECDIS and these charts into his or her overall navigation work?
John Carlisle MNI

We are always interested in hearing your views on the important topics discussed in this publication.
Contact the editor, Emma Ward at, or look out for the LinkedIn discussion. The next issue looks at electronic charts.
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