The Nautical Institute today launched ECDIS and Positioning, by Dr Andy Norris CNI to provide mariners with a thorough grounding in all aspects of ECDIS and the use of electronic charts.
From 1 July 2012, the use of ECDIS becomes compulsory for certain classes of vessel. In the run up to this, over confidence is being placed in the sole use of GPS for positioning information, mainly due to the inadequacy of training.
The use of ECDIS is a total change from using paper charts and the transition from paper charts to electronic poses a challenge for the industry, particularly for those who have no current experience of electronic charts. Important bridge procedures are significantly affected, and these require careful analysis and consideration if ECDIS assisted groundings are to be avoided.
ECDIS and Positioning, the second volume of Dr Norris’ Integrated Bridge Systems series, helps paper chart-taught officers to make ECDIS work for them. It also helps new entrants to the industry, who may be more familiar with Google Earth, to understand how to use the system within accepted navigational principles.
Dr Norris said: “If you have little or no knowledge of electronic charts, ECDIS and Positioning is a must-read. If you have some knowledge, the book will improve your understanding and approach to the use of electronic charts. If you have good knowledge, the book’s approach will make you think a little harder as to how ECDIS can improve standards of navigation.”
Institute President Captain Richard Coates FNI expressed concern about the “inadequacy” of ECDIS training. “Despite the long use of satellite systems for positioning and the imminent mandating of electronic charts in 2012, there is little information written for the mariner concerning the practical use of these technologies,” he said. “Many are grappling with the problems of using electronic charts and ECDIS after being trained on paper charts.”
Andy Norris spoke about the need for users to develop an ECDIS “mindset.” Significant differences in the skills need to use ECDIS compared with using paper charts required a “major adjustment” in the approach needed to ensure safe navigation, he said. Once mastered, ECDIS provides the means to improve navigational safety but this is not achieved just by the completion of a short course. “The skills have to be developed and honed in the context of the knowledge gained at the course and other sources of guidance.
The use of ECDIS, in general, is not paper chart techniques transferred to a screen,” he said.
At a seminar to launch the book, Capt Nick Nash FNI – a serving Master from Princess Cruises, said: “Mariners need to have in-depth training on this new equipment and fully understand its limitations. Dr. Norris’s book goes along way to help achieve this. It is a well timed, needed and useful book which fully supports the Institute’s view that the IMO model course 1.27 is too shallow – particularly as some training establishments have squeezed the 40 hour course into three days!”
Peter Hinchliffe FNI, the Marine Director of the International Chamber of Shipping said: “The transition to mandatory ECDIS is more revolution than evolution. There is a pressing need to understand its impact on the conduct of navigation and on bridge watchkeeping and to mitigate this through training and awareness. The new Nautical Institute book from Andy Norris is one important step on this road.”
Mark Bull MNI the London P&I Club said: “ECDIS is without doubt a fantastic step forward in marine navigation. The provision alone will not solve the current ills and navigational incidents. It will allow the good to improve but regrettably will not make an ounce of difference to those who are already operating below the minimum standard.”
Capt Coates concluded: “In my final seagoing days there was a plethora of different systems around and confusion in the industry with the many different manufacturers and pieces of kit which I am disappointed to see remains to this day. How I wish this book had been available to me.”
Technology will be of very little benefit in enhancing navigational safety if the watchkeeping officer is not fully trained and properly qualified in its use. The Institute’s own research reveals that most mariners feel that more effective training is needed. As a step towards this, these best practice guides published by The Nautical Institute are essential reading for all serving officers, shipowners, operators, managers and training institutions.
ECDIS and Positioning by Dr Andy Norris CNI, ISBN: 978 1 906915 11 7, price £40, is available from The Nautical Institute www.nautinst.org
Also available in the Integrated Bridge Systems series:
Radar and AIS by Dr Andy Norris CNI, ISBN: 978 1 870077 95 8, Price: £30, is available from The Nautical Institute www.nautinsnt.org
All new radars are required to have mandatory AIS Integration capability; this combined use of data is an example of the power and capability of modern shipboard technology to use two complementary systems on the same display.
Radar and AIS offers operators guidance and instruction when interpreting AIS radar and chart information. The book assesses the new systems approach to onboard integration, builds on basic radar theory and target tracking knowledge, and looks to the future where new technology will provide enhanced performance.
Also available on the subject of ECDIS:
From Paper Charts to ECDIS – A Practical Voyage Plan by Captain Harry Gale FNI, ISBN 978 1 870077 98 9, price £15, is available from The Nautical Institute www.nautinst.org
From Paper Charts to ECDIS offers practical guidance to the shipping industry on the transition from navigation using paper charts to navigation using an electronic chart display and information system (ECDIS).