ECDIS – digital tools to enhance safety and effectiveness of navigational operations

ECDISTimelineandMandateThe transition to ECDIS (Electronic Chart Display and Information System) required by the SOLAS Convention (adopted in 2009) is leading to a more pervasive adoption of digital navigation, which is providing powerful tools in supporting navigation and delivering accurate navigational information.
United Kingdom Hydrographic Office’s data reveal that over half of ships trading internationally are now equipped with ECDIS, and almost two thirds subscribe to an ENC(Electronic Navigation Charts) service. Vessels without an ENC service are now a minority of the internationally trading fleet, and by the end of this decade the transition may be completed. Digital navigation is already a reality to handle, and it becomes necessary to define how to use and maintain digital navigation systems.
Shipping companies should apply revised bridge policies and procedures for safe and effective ECDIS operation. To do so, it is necessary to upgrade ECDIS software to meet the latest IHO ENC Standards.
The International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) has unveiled important updates to technical standards, to resolve some issues such as alarm overload, and to provide direct visualization on screen with more detailed information on matters such as anchorage names.
Faster, more efficient and accurate navigational information can also be very helpful to improve maritime navigation: many nautical publications are available in an e-Nautical Publications (e-NPs) format, which allow for a download and application of weekly Notices to Mariners (NM) updates.