Take 10: Issue 5

01 Feb 2014 The Navigator

The focus has been firmly on ECDIS in this issue of The Navigator. Here are 10 key aspects to remember about this increasingly important technology

1 Not all ECS are ECDIS

Electronic Chart Systems (ECS) is a generic term for systems that show charts electronically; most are not legal for navigation. An Electronic Chart Display and Information System (ECDIS) is a system approved by the IMO for navigation. Know what you’re using!

2 Be competent

All ECDIS users must have passed an approved course based on the IMO ECDIS Model Course (1.27 – 2012 edition). They must also demonstrate ‘familiarisation’ with the onboard system before taking a navigational watch.

3 Be confident

Being competent is a legal requirement; being confident is showing professional pride. Continuous practice, self study, the use of scenarios are all useful ways to ensure confidence.

Leading international maritime organisations have worked together to clearly identify key terms such as generic training and familiarisation, and what competencies these require. Download from The Nautical Institute ECDIS forum at http://www.nautinst.org/en/forums/ecdis/

5 Get familiar

The industry ECDIS group has also identified a comprehensive list of ECDIS familiarisation tasks. These can be downloaded for free from the ECDIS forum (see no. 4). Many companies have incorporated this list into their SMS and onboard requirements.

6 Be a champion

Many companies have found that identifying an ECDIS champion is an extremely effective way of promoting and ensuing ECDIS competence

7 Size matters

The ship’s ECDIS should provide a large display needed for looking ahead and making better decisions – but it is still vital to be aware of your surroundings

8 Mentoring

ECDIS can provide junior officers with a means to contribute to effective communication and resource management through mentoring senior officers, and vice versa.

9 Accidents

Happen when there is over-reliance on equipment, lack of training, poor bridge layout and lack of support from the Master.

10 Managing change

A very important aspect of the change from paper charts to ECDIS is that of standards. Masters are responsible for ‘setting the bar’ and junior officers need to take pride in how they meet these standards. How we manage this is entirely up to us.