August 2017 
To assist PCOs and Ship staff, IHO have issued a guidance document Information on IHO Standards related to ENC and ECDIS.  This document details the changes introduced in the set of revised IHO standards that relate to the carriage and operation of ECDIS.

July 2017
​Almost three-quarters of cargo ships over 20,000 gross tonnage (GT) are already compliant with the SOLAS-mandated Electronic Chart Display and Information System (ECDIS) deadline of 1st July 2017, according to the latest figures published by the United Kingdom Hydrographic Office (UKHO)

May 2017
Changes introduced in Edition 4.0 of the IHO Presentation Library invalidate the tests contained in the ECDIS Data Presentation and Performance Checks which were specifically designed and developed for ECDIS using previous editions of the Presentation Library.

An ECDIS type approval certificate showing conformance with tests in edition 4.0 of IEC 61174 demonstrates that the ECDIS does not have any of the identified ENC display anomalies.

The subsequent guidance HERE describes the method by which mariners may check the ECDIS displays for the new ENC symbols contained in Edition 4.0 of the Presentation Library.

March 2017
The International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) has revised its ECDIS standards, with an implementation date of 1 September 2017. A new ECDIS installed after 31 August 2017 shall conform to the latest IHO standards.

DNV GL has been approached by customers uncertain about how to interpret the new requirements for their fleet in service. Is an upgrade of the ECDIS in operation required? Or even a complete replacement? Will an exemption application be viable? To name just a few questions. DNV GL Clarifications on ECDIS upgrading – what you should do

September 2016
The United Kingdom Hydrographic Office (UKHO) has called for ship owners, operators and managers to exercise greater vigilance in order to tackle the rise in ECDIS-related detentions and the risks to safety at sea. With a growing majority of the global fleet having completed the switch to digital navigation, evidence is emerging that the number of ECDIS-related issues during inspections and audits is on the rise. Earlier this year, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) reported a significant increase in the number of ships detained because of ECDIS deficiencies. The consequences of ECDIS deficiencies during inspections were highlighted in the recent case of a ship detained in Brisbane by AMSA due to a lack of on-board familiarisation training in the use of ECDIS. This required an ECDIS trainer to be flown in from Singapore to train the crew. The vessel, which had passed through the Great Barrier Reef on its journey, was released from detention upon completion of this crew training.

Speaking at SMM 2016 in Hamburg, Thomas Mellor, Head of OEM Technical Support and Digital Standards at UKHO, said: “ECDIS can deliver tremendous benefits for safe, compliant and efficient navigation. However, once installed ship owners, operators and managers must fulfill their responsibilities for its ongoing use, including compliance with all relevant regulations. This includes updating their bridge procedures, upgrading their ECDIS software to the latest IHO ENC standards and, above all, ensuring that bridge teams are trained and certified in the operation of ECDIS and in line with the requirements of Port State Control inspections and audits. “There can be any number of reasons for non-compliance, ranging from inadequate detail in the ship’s Safety Management System (SMS), a failure to use the latest Electronic Navigational Charts (ENCs) for the voyage plan, or a bridge team unfamiliar with the use of ECDIS. Whatever the reason, the penalties can be severe, whether through the costs of a delayed onward voyage or the impact on an owner’s reputation of a failed SIRE inspection. Most importantly, every incident of non-compliance is a potential threat to the safety of that ship and its crew, as well as other traffic and the marine environment. “PSC inspectors are carrying out more inspections on ships using ECDIS as the primary means of navigation and as a result, are becoming more aware of the latest requirements and which questions to ask. “The good news is that there is plenty of guidance and support available for owners from ECDIS manufacturers and ECDIS training providers. The UKHO has been freely distributing the ADMIRALTY Guide to Audits and Inspections at ECDIS Seminars for several years. “Furthermore we have developed the ADMIRALTY ENC Maintenance Record (NP133C) to make official digital chart information easier to manage, inspect and audit”

18th May 2016

UKHO urges ship owners to upgrade to new digital chart standards
The United Kingdom Hydrographic Office (UKHO) has today reiterated its call for ship owners to upgrade to the latest ECDIS software standards, highlighting the significant benefits that the new IHO S-52 Presentation Library edition 4.0 will offer mariners, including greater consistency in the display of Electronic Nautical Charts (ENCs) and a reduction in the number of audible alarms on the bridge.
According to the UKHO, shipping companies have welcomed the recent announcement of a 12-month extension to the transition period for owners to switch to the new Presentation Library 4.0. However, upgrade requirements will vary from ship to ship, so the UKHO strongly encourages owners to take advantage of the new ECDIS Standards at the earliest opportunity, rather than waiting until the new deadline of 31 August 2017.

Tom Mellor, the UKHO’s Head of Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) Support and Digital Standards and Chairman of the IHO’s ENC Working Group commented:

“The UKHO is continuing to work with manufacturers to ensure that users can experience the full benefit of the latest software standards. The transition to the new ECDIS Standards is definitely gathering pace and it is encouraging to see such positive progress with ECDIS manufacturers working hard to secure type-approval for their ECDIS software.
“Naturally, ship owners will also have questions about the new ECDIS Standards. One recurring question is whether there are any compatibility issues between newly produced ENCs and the current Presentation Library edition 3.4. Owners need not be concerned about this, as ENCs themselves are unchanged. The upgrade applies to the Presentation Library, which governs how the ENC data is displayed on the ECDIS screen, not the data itself.”
Source: UKHO

Technical Standards for ECDIS 
The number one complaint from mariners on ECDIS was the number of alarms generated. The IHO has taken this on board with the latest Presentation Library (version 4.0) which addresses this issue. Also, information such as fairway and anchorage area names now appear on screen, with landmarks, lights and buoys viewable via a ‘hover-over’ function. This reduces the constant need to find information buried in a pick report.

Read the Admiralty Blog "The new S-52 ECDIS Standards: What do they mean for you?" by Tom Mellor, Head of OEM Support and Digital Standards.

The new ECDIS testing standard publication date is expected to be Aug 15th. From this date the new edition of S-52 will be the reference for the type approval of new ECDIS. Existing ECDIS will have to be upgraded to the latest Presentation Library within twelve months.

Industry Recommendations

ECDIS Training Recommendations 

ECDIS Familiarisation Recommendations

Users new to an ECDIS-installed ship should check that sufficient knowledge of items on the familiarisation check list is obtained before using the ECDIS and its back-up at sea. If use is to be made of the RCDS Mode, any differences in operational procedures should also be understood. Items in the list have been identified with a W or an M.

Although users of ECDIS should have an understanding of all items marked W and M, the priority for a watch-keeping officer is to become fully familiar with all items marked W. For those users who are responsible for voyage planning and other ECDIS management activities, items marked W and M have equal priority.

Nautical Institute publication written by Dr Andy Norris FNI:
ECDIS Familiarisation Checklist

Press release issued by the ECDIS Training Group regarding the revised IMO Model Course for ECDIS:
ECDIS press release - IMO Model Course 1.27 2012 Edition

ECDIS Feedback

The Manila Amendments to STCW (which include the use of ECDIS to maintain the safety of navigation as a required competence) came into force on 1st January 2012 and the mandatory carriage of ECDIS began to phase in from 1st July 2012. Over the next 5 years, as more mariners gain experience in using new equipment and technology associated with electronic navigation, there will be many issues arising from this increasing use of ECDIS. The Nautical Institute would like to hear from you on any relevant issues you have experienced in using ECDIS.

Issues may be directly related to the use of equipment and its navigational facilities, including whether information is being appropriately displayed. Other issues may address aspects of the current operational practice of using ECDIS and some may arise solely from insufficient or inappropriate training of users.

To contribute your views, experience or comments to the forum email:

Identification of correspondents will be removed before posting.

The long term aim of this initiative is to improve the design of ECDIS equipment and its data by influencing regulations and standards and also to influence the way in which the use of ECDIS is taught to and used by seafarers.

The Nautical Institute's Technical Committee has arranged to collate any reported issues and submit them to the appropriate bodies including:

• The International Hydrographic Organization (IHO)
• The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC)
• The International Association of Marine Electronics Companies (CIRM) 
• The International Maritime Organization (IMO)

This forum also contains links to useful information for mariners, including casualty reports where ECDIS or ECS has been found to be a contributory factor. (Dates are the date of the investigation report.)