Mastering ECDIS: Tips for Maximising Its Potential in Maritime Navigation


Posted on Apr 08, 2024 at 11:04 PM

A groundbreaking navigational system known as Electronic Chart Display and Information System (ECDIS) has changed the game in the maritime industry by making available electronic charts; which not only display current positions but also provide updated information throughout the ship navigation. Nevertheless, it's not designed to be easy and for it to be efficiently integrated as part of your ship's navigational systems, you need the proper training and skillset.

In this article, we offer useful tips that can help you make the most out of ECDIS and provide safe and efficient navigation in your vessels.\

Tips for Maximising EDCIS Potential in Maritime Navigation

ECDIS is known to have multiple applications and advantages in the modern marine world. Nevertheless, it takes a lot of knowledge and skills to incorporate practically and keep your trips accident-free. 

We've developed these tips to support any new sailor on their first trip, so read along to learn more about how to use ECDIS navigation best:

Attend ECDIS Training Courses

It's mandatory to train adequately in ECDIS if you want to efficiently use it as part of your maritime navigation equipment. Your first step should be taking part in advanced Maritime Commercial Practices Courses offering a certificate that can teach you in-depth about ECDIS requirements, chart interpretation, system configuration, and emergency procedures.

It's simple math, having a solid basis of knowledge and experience of the tool use will help you to reach its full potential faster, and students who complete these courses are more likely to have more relevant knowledge afterward.

Familiarize Yourself with the System

Now that you've learned the primary theory of ECDIS, take the time to walk through its application; the human interface, menus performance displays, functions, and set of settings of the ECDIS system. Try working on each application function, including spatial planning, radar overlay, and automatic identification system integration. Any shipmaster must become familiar with the system to understand its strengths and actual limitations to make ECDIS as operational during voyages as possible.

Continuously Update Electronic Charts (ENCS)

Consistently verify electronic navigation charts (ENC) to ensure you are working with up-to-date information. Old faulty charts are the root of unsafe navigation, that's why, learn to use official chart provider advisories and always use the latest available digital charts. It will allow you to focus on the navigation process, preventing you from encountering danger.

Rely on Multiple Sources of Information

Although EDCIS is an efficient option to be the basic navigational guide in your voyage, our advice to you is to add multiple sources of information. The ECDIS is an important help in chart information, but cross-checking with other approved tools is very critical. 

Despite the newer navigation technologies, traditional paper charts, navigation publications, radar systems, and lookout reports remain equally crucial complementary tools for extensive situation awareness. 

When ECDIS is used alongside other sources of information the decision-making process gets better and the single-source dependence can be reduced while other systems are still in use.

Implement Safety Settings and Alarms

ECDIS is equipped with a range of safety features and alarms designed to maintain high level of navigation safety. Adopt and adjust these settings to suit your ship's specifications, voyage environment, and navigation purpose. 

This includes setting the safety depth, grounding alarms, notices of encroachments, and proximity warnings. Adjusting these settings gives an idea of upcoming risks and allows for the required actions to be taken.


Regularly Verify ECDIS Performance and Accuracy:

Conduct periodic system hardware maintenance and investigation to check the correct functionality of the ECDIS. During this ECDIS maintenance ensure that the software updates are loaded, sensors are adequately connected and aligned, and the transmitted data is present in the right place. Conducting functions tests and auditing will ensure the system is secure.

Enhance Situational Awareness:

ECDIS can develop situational awareness, but it also requires active thinking and interpretation. Mariners should always check updated charts, radar targets, AIS data, GPS, and visual observations to provide an adequate integral, up-to-date picture of the position of your vessel as well as the state of the surrounding environment. Employing layered data, diverse chart displays, and discerning information from different sources will simulate your situational awareness.

Stay Updated on ECDIS Regulations and Guidelines

ECDIS regulations and guidelines are periodically updated to improve safety and standardize practices. Stay updated on these regulations to ensure compliance and avoid any violations. Familiarize yourself with the SOLAS standards produced by International Maritime Organization (IMO) as well as any local regulations about ECDIS.

Nowadays, there is no chance to survive on the sea without using ECDIS. Through learning to operate the ECDIS, engaging in training sessions, updating charts, taking advantage of additional features, trying a parallel use, testing alarms, and always being up to speed, you can harness its full potential and sail with confidence in the booming maritime sphere. It is important to keep in mind that ECDIS is a tool that will enhance your navigational skills but will not replace them.