Training

Crucial to implementing ECDIS is the appropriate training for the crew and relevant managerial staff ashore.

All bridge officers should have general ECDIS training that follows the IMO Model Course 1.27. Additional equipment-specific training for the ECDIS model in use onboard is required for every ship, according to the ISM Code. Until the 1st of January 2012, when the new STCW code will include mandatory ECDIS training, two important shipping regulations must be followed.

National authorities may require ECDIS training for vessels in their flag registries, or visiting their ports. The European Union has provided “Guidelines for Port State Control on Electronic Charts” with the Paris Memorandum of Understanding (PSC MOU). Port State control is authorised to determine if “Master and deck watchkeeping officers are able to produce appropriate documentation that generic and type-specific ECDIS familiarization has been undertaken.”

Inspections might require physical demonstrations of competency by your crew as well as evidence of inclusion of ECDIS operation procedures in your onboard safety management systems.

Some commercial operators’ vetting schemes have similar demands and non-compliance with their requirements could ban your vessel from trade. ECDIS training may also affect liability and insurance. You should also talk to your classification society and insurance / P&I club to see if they have any further requirements. An ECDIS manufacturer will be able to assist you.