ECDIS: Navigation in 2018

ECDIS: Navigation in 2018

Captain Paul Whyte, Associate Master Mariner, LOC

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The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has made the carriage of ECDIS (Electronic Chart Display and Information System) mandatory under SOLAS V (Safety of Navigation) for most large vessels, with the deadline for entry into force, fast approaching on July 1, 2018. This regulatory requirement should not be interpreted as a sign that ECDIS should simply meet the carriage of charts requirement, or indeed that any mariner should be over reliant on global navigation satellite systems (GNSS).

The introduction of ECDIS has led to an increasing debate about the importance of ‘active’ navigation as opposed to ‘passive’ navigation. The mandatory use of ECDIS is seen to promote increasingly passive navigation and complacency, with paper charts being relegated to just ‘reference use’ with infrequent plotting of the ship’s position onto paper. As a result, too often GNSS is being relied on as the sole means of navigation.

Groundings or collisions are usually caused by a failure of situational awareness (alongside other contributory factors) and we at LOC seek to establish the causes by analyzing electronic data alongside 

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