Ten tips for ECDIS use

The Navigator magazine recommends ten points to help ensure proper use of ECDIS

The Navigator, a free magazine issued by The Nautical Institute for professional marine navigators, has included in Issue 05 ten key aspects to remember about ECDIS technology

Tips in the list include the following points to take into consideration:

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.

4. Know your terms

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

5. Get familiar

The industry ECDIS group has also identified a comprehensive list of ECDIS familiarisation tasks.  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.


Each issue of The Navigator,  free magazine for professional marine navigators issued by The Nautical Institute , has a theme and comes with a handy list of ten tips called Take 10 that sum up that theme.

View the full list here or visit NI website to read the Take 10s featured in each issue of The Navigator.

Source: The Nautical Institute

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