How to implement and write ECDIS procedures

May 01 2014


The UKHO has published an ECDIS guide in which the reader is taken through various stages of electronic chart operations from the very beginning.*

Entitled The Admiralty Guide to ECDIS Implementation, Policy and Procedures (NP232), it complements earlier publications such as The Admiralty Guide to the Practical Use of ENCs (NP231) and The Admiralty Guide to Symbols Used in ECDIS (NP5012).

It was published to provide clear guidelines for those responsible for the introduction of ECDIS on board ship and in particular to those responsible for developing procedures for operating an electronic chart system.

The guide is also intended to provide an on board reference to support a company’s procedures put in place for ECDIS operations.

This will help in the preparation for audits and inspections and provide clarification of a company’s ECDIS policy and procedures, the UKHO said.

It has been produced in two parts. The first of which reflects the nine specific stages identified by the UKHO as needing to be considered by a company when making the transition from paper charts to an ECDIS.

Each of the nine stages, listed overleaf, are covered by separate sections in the book. The UKHO estimated that all nine stages would take around 12-18 months to complete.

Part 2 is devoted to the development of policies and procedures to support shipboard ECDIS operations, once the transition from paper charts to an electronic system has been achieved.

This section includes

  • Bridge organisation - aspects of procedural bridge environment to promote a system’s safe and efficient operation.
  • Voyage planning - using ECDIS features to plan and appraise a voyage.
  • Officer of the Watch duties- how ECDIS affects voyage monitoring and execution and how situational awareness and digital data can enhance bridge navigational practice.
  • ECDIS maintenance - best practice guidance top ensure that the system remains functioning.

Here, the guide complements the ICS’ Bridge Procedures Guide (2007) and the UKHO’s Admiralty Guide to the Practical Use of ENCs, the publisher said.

Instead of regarding the transition to an ECDIS as a standalone activity, away from the practical day-to-day vessel and crew management and operations, the UKHO said that the guide focuses on how this transition should be managed within a company’s Safety Management System (SMS). This change should be influenced by ISM Code requirements and activities within a company’s SMS.

The guide then explains the ISM Code and SMS. Usually, the SMS documentation is contained in one or more safety manuals and these are normally organised to reflect the ISM Code’s layout and its 12 sections.

However, with the introduction of ECDIS navigation, a company will need to develop a series of new policies and procedures to specifically cover its use on board ship for navigational purposes and to manage the risks associated with its introduction.

As each stage of the transition to ECDIS is highlighted, this guide identifies key issues and the ISM Code’s relevant sections to which they apply, the UKHO said.

Navtor claimed that the majority of its customers now opt for a PAYS solution. Zeiler is keen to stress that it’s not only ECDISmandated vessels that are signing up with NAVTOR. “Many shipowners appreciate the tangible benefits of a service that provides safe, efficient and predictable operations, whether they are subject to IMO regulations, or not.



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