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Chapter 6e - Additional Navigational Procedures for ships fitted with

(Print off hard copy of the ECDIS Procedures SI6e here) 


6e.1 These instructions are to be used by all vessels that have ECDIS as the primary means of navigation
as authorised by the managers and have endorsements on SEC certificate Form E. 
All other vessels which have an ECDIS unit(s) onboard must use these procedures as a means of
familiarising themselves with using ECDIS for navigation providing in doing so they do not stop using paper
charts as a primary means of navigation.
This is an addendum to Standing Instructions Ch.6 which must still be complied with, unless explicitly
advised in the below instructions. 
Bridge Checklist #11 must be used by all offices and Master for ECDIS Familiarisation. 
Vessels who are operating with ECDIS as Primary Means of Navigation with Paper Charts as Backup are to
follow the following procedure.
ECDIS is Primary and should therefore have the Passage Plan and all associated information included on it
via User Maps, including but not limited to PI’s, Contingency Anchorages, Abort Points, Landfalls, Radio
Reporting, Position Fixing Methods/intervals, UKC notes, Echo sounder on, Calling Master etc. It must also
be updated with all the latest Navigation information including T&P’s (via AIO), Navtex Messages
(automatically plotted or manually input) & EGC Nav Warnings.
Paper Charts used as Backup are to be fully corrected with both permanent and temporary/preliminary
corrections (a/p SI.Ch.6.27). All paper charts for the voyage are to be available and ready for immediate
use. The passage plan should be plotted for the current voyage and any areas of critical navigation are to
have all information drawn on the chart as per normal practice. In all other parts of the voyage there is no
need to add full details from the passage plan as the charts are only there for emergency use should the
ECDIS fail.
Over-Reliance on ECDIS and Limitations of RCDS:
6e.2 Bridge team members must maintaining situational awareness and warned against over-reliance on
the ECDIS information.
When Raster charts are used, RCDS mode does not have the full functionality of ECDIS, and limitations
imposed in this mode must be understood by all officers.
No other software shall be loaded onto the unit, nor shall the ECDIS be used for any other purpose other
than Navigation.
As detailed in Standing Instructions Ch 6.173 the GPS units must always be kept on WGS84 datum. An
ECDIS unit should correctly recognize the GPS input and the datum
If you are navigating on an ENC cell which is based on an old survey and you find a difference between the
GPS fix on the ECDIS and the RADAR fix, use the chart offset facility to correct the GPS position. If you do
this make sure all members of the Bridge team are aware of it and continue to monitor it, changing back
when the offset has gone or applying a different offset if necessary.
There are a small number of British (GB…….) and Indonesian (ID…….) charts that are based on surveys
which cannot be accurately referred to WGS84. Charts which this applies to will clearly show cautionary
notes advising of the same. If navigating on a chart such as this, make sure alternative position
monitoring/fixing is carried out very frequently.
Primary and Back-up ECDIS 
6e.3 The Primary and backup ECDIS where fitted must have a full set of electronic charts for the vessels
voyage and all ENC’s must be updated to the latest correction.

Each unit must be connected to its own Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) capable of keeping the system
running in case of a blackout until emergency power is available.
When a second ECDIS units is installed to meet the back-up requirements in SOLAS Ch 5, then the primary
ECDIS and back-up ECDIS are to be labeled as “PRIMARY ECDIS and “BACK-UP ECDIS”.


6e.4 In addition to the mandatory inputs (GPS, Gyro and log), ECDIS units are capable of being integrated
with a number of navigational aids such as Radar, Navtex, AIS, etc. which are displayed on the ECDIS as
data layers to assist in route monitoring. The number of inputs will largely depend on the compatibility of
the systems to integrate with the ECDIS and ECDIS units on different ships may have different inputs and

All ships will have the following inputs connected to the ECDIS units (primary and back-up)

        Position fixing systems (GPS) capable of continuously plotting the position on the screen. The back-
up ECDIS shall be connected to an independent GPS input (unit).

        Gyro compass

        Speed and distance measuring device (Log).

6e.4.1 In order to assist in route monitoring, WHERE COMPATIBLE, the following additional navigation aids
may be connected to the primary ECDIS

        Second position fixing system (GPS). In such cases ECDIS should be capable of identifying
discrepancies between the two sources. Where a vessel has 2 GPS units both of which are plugged into
each unit then she shall use different GPS units as POS1 so that in case of failure of one, the other
continues as normal. Any differences between the two will still be noticed. Alarm settings to warn the
OOW in case of a discrepancy between the two different positions should be as per Master Standing
Orders and known to OOW (generally 0.1nm)
        ARPA(s) and radar overlay capable of displaying both the radar image on the same scale as the chart
and acquired ARPA targets to enhance situational awareness.
        AIS
        Navtex
        Echosounder
        BNWAS

Where compatible, inputs from additional navigational aids may also be connected to the back-up ECDIS.

When it not been possible to connect additional inputs into the ECDIS, the relevant equipment will be used

Vessels who are equipped with both a Master and Backup ECDIS must have both units switched on well
before the vessel approaches an area containing navigational hazards, ports, or congested waters so that in
the case of the Master unit developing an error, navigation can continue seamlessly using the Backup unit.
 Any maintenance/updating that has to be done on an ECDIS unit must be done only one at a time. And
after confirming that the ECDIS unit is working normally should the second unit be maintained/updated. 
6e.5 All vessels operating with ECDIS as their primary means of navigation shall ensure that they have
adequate ENC (AVCS) coverage for the entire voyage
Raster charts shall only be used when no suitable scale ENC is available. Contact Supply dept as early as
possible in order to arrange this, if a vessel is operating using Raster Charts then she must have paper
charts as a backup. Vessels will ensure that the permit for the charts they are using for the current voyage
are licensed until after the end of the voyage and shall ensure that they are kept updated with any weekly
updates provided by the chart maintenance software used on board together with updates received in hard
copy by base/update discs. 
To order electronic charts vessels will use ChartCo’s One Ocean software (Do not use the Admiralty digital
catalogue). To select the charts you need you can follow the comprehensive instructions contained within
the user manual for selecting the cells you need and then follow latest instructions as per Zodiac Supply
ENC’s should be ordered as individual cell basis not by folio.
Vessels are to carefully check the ENC cells they are ordering in order to avoid duplication, there are parts
of the world where more than one chart provider has cells of the same scale covering the same area.
ChartCo work 24hrs a day and if a cell is needed in an emergency you will receive it almost immediately.
You must still send a request to Supply Dept too.
6e.6 Master is responsible for the navigational library and its updating, however he may delegate this to
the Navigation Officer (Second Officer).
The Master will ensure that all ENC’s are available for the voyage, are up to date and with valid permits.
The latest AIO’s are available and applied to the ENC’s. He will sign ECDIS Passage Plan Form VO52 as
verification he has checked and approved the plan.

6e.7 ECDIS display should be set up in such a manner that all the required information is available on the
screen but the screen is not cluttered with unnecessary information which may obscure important
There are three display modes on an ECDIS. 

• Base Display: Important objects that cannot be deleted from the charts, such as coastline and own
ship’s safety contour.
• Standard Display: Objects less important than base display, such as drying line, indication of fixed
and floating aids to navigation and boundaries of fairways, channels, etc.
• Other Display: Other objects, such as spot soundings, submarine cables and pipelines, ferry routes
and details of all isolated dangers.
Base display shall not be used for navigation. It displays only very basic information and important
navigational information will not be displayed. 
Company policy is to use the ‘Other’ display mode for navigation. This will lead to all information being
displayed and the chart becoming cluttered. Therefore after selecting Other display mode, go into display
mode settings and remove unnecessary information that is not needed for general navigation i.e. Quality of
the soundings. 
The company’s recommended setting for Other Display are listed below. The Master may choose to amend
them as necessary providing that the changes are advised to all officers.
Recommended Display Settings
The standard settings to be used for navigation are to be detailed in the Masters Standing Orders. 
The Display settings are only to be changed with the approval of the Master.
All bridge team are to be familiar with the various display modes of the ECDIS. When in normal operation
mode the charts will be displayed ‘North Up’. It is at the discretion of the OOW if the motion is relative or
true. However a thorough understanding of each mode is essential. 
True Motion – Land and other fixed objects are fixed on the display and Own Vessel moves past them.
When Own Vessel has moved past the predetermined limit, the chart is automatically shifted so that Own
Vessel always remains on the screen. 
Relative Motion - Own Vessel is fixed at the centre of the screen and the fixed objects such as land move
relatively past. It is also possible to offset Own Vessel in the same way you can with a Radar screen. This is
the most useful view on an ECDIS, as long as care is taken that the area behind the vessel can still be
viewed to see any overtaking AIS/ARPA targets. 
Free – You can freely shift around the chart regardless of Own Vessels position and heading. In this mode if
Own Vessel leaves the chart view it will not automatically shift the chart. This mode can be used for looking
ahead at the route and navigation objects but the chart must not be left in this mode.
Care is to be taken to ensure that the ECDIS does not affect the OOW’s vision at night, as such the display
should be on night mode and the brightness turned down to the minimum needed to use it easily. 

Interrogating Charts

One of the advantages to using ECDIS is the ability to interrogate charts and symbols in order to get all the
available information from the charts. Similarly with the Admiralty Information Overlay (AIO) data overlaid
on the chart the vessel has access to the current Temporary and Preliminary notices in force.  

Vessels must ensure that the correct settings are entered into the ECDIS in the Depth Alarm Settings
When calculating UKC all vessels must continue to refer to SI Ch 6.217 and subsequent UKC sections
including VO32 Page 5 (UKC).  
•  Safety Depth: Any depth shallower than this will be displayed on the chart as a spot sounding in
Bold. Company policy is to set this as:

Safety Depth = Current Draught + Squat + UKC( Open Water) 

(In above case the water depth is more than 2 times the current deepest draught)

The safety depth shall be kept like this at all times unless the vessel is entering an area or port in which
she will be draught restricted. At such times only on the Masters explicit orders, the vessel can factor in the
current height of tide into the safety depth. Once she is clear from this area the safety depth shall be
returned to its original setting as above. Failure to change back may lead the vessel to believe she is in
safe water when she is in fact not. 

Safety Depth Settings When Entering or Transiting Tidally critical ports or areas.
Safety Depth = Current Draught(Max) + Squat(Max) + UKC(Shallow Water) – (Current)
Ht of Tide.
(Shallow waters to mean where water depth is less than 2 times the vessels deepest
 Safety Contour: Company policy is to set this as:
Safety Contour = Set the same as current Safety Depth.

(The ECDIS will automatically default this to the next deepest contour). 

 Deep Contour:Deep contour shades the area in a light grey colour below the set value.
Beyond the deep contour the area is shaded white when using the recommended 4 colour
mode setting. Please note that the deep contour provides only a visual reference of the
depth as set up and it does not activate any alarms. 
Company Policy is to set this as:

                                           Deep Contour = 100 meters.

 Shallow Contour: This is to highlight the gradient of the seabed adjacent to the safety
contour. Company Policy is to set this as:
Shallow Contour = Contour shallower than the Safety Contour

 Two Colour Depth: Generally, the sea is displayed on charts with sea depths divided into four
colour’s. However, when Two Colour Depth is selected, the sea depths are displayed in two
colour’s, with Line of "Shallow Contour" and "Safety Contour" displayed as one colour, and
Line of "Deep Contour" displayed as another colour. ("Safety Depth" is displayed at the
value). This feature is used to clearly indicate and divide the sea into safe areas and
dangerous areas where care must be taken during the voyage.

 Shallow Pattern: With Shallow Pattern option selected, grid lines are displayed in areas
bound by the Safety and Shallow Contours. This function is for highlighting areas that require
special care during the voyage and is the electronic equivalent of No Go Areas.
 Show Isolated Danger In Shallow Water – When this option is selected, any isolated danger
mark on the chart which is inside the Safety Contour will display as a standard chart symbol. 

This is not a perfect system and is reliant on the available contours on the ENC in use, for example a
vessel with a safety depth of 14m will have it defaulted to 20m if there is no 15m contour in between
the 10 & 20m contours. This will lead to a depth alarm, however it shall only sound once and, if
acknowledged by the OOW once confirmed to be safe, it will not sound again. Spot sounding depths
will show up in bold if they are below the safety depth, however these will not trigger a depth alarm.
Any time a vessel crosses the safety contour the Master must be informed, during the planning stage
for the passage the Master can identify the hazardous areas in which the vessel may need to cross the
safety contour and plan his attendance on the bridge and rest hours accordingly.

If the vessel has to cross the safety contour in order to proceed with her passage, all safety
depth soundings (highlighted in bold) must be manually enclosed within a NGA line such as you
would put onto a paper chart. If the ECDIS has the facility use a ‘warning line’ for this as it will
trigger an alarm when the Safety Vector/Sector comes across it.

Danger Detection Vector/Sector – Guard Zone – Look Ahead Function (labelled differently by
different manufacturers).

Safety Sector/Vector
6e.9 Vessels using ECDIS for primary means of navigation, or as an additional aid to navigation shall
ensure that the guard zone or look ahead function is setup correctly and is functioning. Whilst it shall not
replace a competent lookout by the OOW, it can give the OOW an early warning of upcoming dangers. The
alarm for this shall be audible on all part of the bridge (volume of the buzzer to be set loud enough.).

The audible alarms should never be silenced on the ECDIS, however they may be managed to avoid undue
distraction at the particular stage of navigation eg during canal transits or pilotages. The Master may
consider reducing the length/width of the Vector/Sector or switching it off completely in order to prevent
the Bridge Team from being distracted. (When Master leaves the bridge any changes made to the
recommended vector/sector settings by the Master must be entered in the night order book.)

It may only be adjusted by the Master and the recommended condition in which to switch it off completely
is if the vessel is in watch level 3 or 4 (see SI 6.26)

The normal navigation condition of the alarms should be restored as soon as the vessel has completed the

The recommended settings for a Danger Detection Sector are to use an angle more than twice that of the
off course alarm. E.g. if the Off Course alarm is set to 15degrees then set the angle to more than
30degrees to ensure full coverage. The length of the sector should reflect the current navigational
conditions, i.e. the time should be sufficient for the vessel to assess the danger and the current
navigational/traffic constraints and take avoiding action. 15mins is a good rule of thumb. (Some ECDIS
systems may default to a maximum length of 5NM if the vessel selects a length of time which will work out
longer given her current speed). 
The recommended settings for a Danger Detection Vector are to use the maximum width setting (normally
250m both sides). The length of the Vector should be set as per the above. 
The recommended setting for the Sector in confined waters is 1 cable both side and 6mins ahead.

If the vessels ECDIS is capable of displaying both a danger detection Vector and Sector then it is
recommended to use both at the same time as some manufacturers have different alarm activations on
each one. By selecting both you ensure that all alarms are received.All of these setting must be updated
before the vessel sails from Port and if necessary due to changes in draught on route due to ballast
operations must be updated whilst she is underway. The Master must verify that these settings are setup
correctly when he appraises the passage plan and any changes to them must be authorised by him.

ECDIS setup and use will be assessed on-board By ISM Auditors during training Voyages/Audits using CL
VO51 and can be endorsed on VC300 Page 25. 

Hardware & System Settings

6e.10 All of the bridge team must be aware of the hardware connections in the ECDIS, this will include but
may not be limited to GPS, RADAR/ARPA, Gyro, Echo sounder, Navtex, AIS & Log. 
All officers must be aware of the connection menu in the ECDIS and be able to check to see if the data is
being received properly. All alarms relating to hardware connections must be switched on and audible. 
All officers must be able to switch between the external connections settings. 
GPS must be left in auto mode (if available), so that in the event that the GPS which is currently in use
develops an error such as HDOP or fails, the ECDIS unit automatically switches to the secondary GPS. The
POSN alarm which identifies an error with the primary means of position fixing must be turned on.. 
UPS – The UPS systems for both units must be in good working order. They shall be checked as
operational on a weekly basis and any problems are notified to the E/E immediately.
The following controls shall be exercised to avoid damage or software errors in the ECDIS:-

1.      Master shall ensure that ECDIS computers are not used for any non-    navigational purposes. 
2.      Non-essential and non-approved programs such as Windows Media Player etc. shall not be

3.      Only dedicated media storage devices (USBs or hard drives) shall be used in conjunction with
ECDIS unit. Personal media storage devices shall not be used

System Settings

6e.11 Alarms

Vessels will ensure that the Alarm Limit Settings are set up correctly 

•        Where the position input are from two different sensors the difference between Position input from 2
different position sensors   (Recommended - 1 cable)

•        Shift of indicated position (Recommended - 1 cable)

•        Off Course (Recommended - 15°)

•        Arrival Last WPT (Recommended – 5cbls)

Alarm Limit settings are to be set by the Master and detailed in his standing orders.

Track Control Systems

6e.12 If the vessel has an approved Track control system which is connected to the ECDIS, she may use it
for sailing with the Masters approval whilst in clear open water only. As soon as the OOW has determined
that there is a risk of collision with another vessel/object the vessel must exit from TCS. All officers must be
aware that a TCS will not alter course automatically for a traffic situation. 
Care must be taken to ensure that the ECDIS route is checked for dangers and limitations in order for the
ECDIS to approve the route for TCS use. 
Altering course shall be done by hand or by using the auto pilot. Whilst the TCS has the capability to alter
course, unless it has all the maneuvering data entered in one hundred percent accurately it is prone to
overshooting and over-steering on course alterations. 
The TCS shall be monitored closely at all times, particularly in adverse weather conditions, care should be
taken to ensure that its performance is sufficient. It may be that auto-pilot steers a more efficient course.  
Auto Track Control shall not be used in coastal passages.

6e.13 RADAR Overlays and Position fixing

The ability to overlay the RADAR picture from either the X or S Band is a useful feature which allows the
navigator to verify the vessels position as determined by GPS. 
If the RADAR is to be overlaid onto the ECDIS it must be tuned in the same way that it is on the RADAR
unit. This can be done with either the physical controls (if available) or using the on screen menu. 
If for any reason a vessel is unable to overlay the RADAR picture on to the ECDIS, they should still
crosscheck the position by Radar using EBL’s and VRM’s from the radar screen and plot them on the ECDIS
in a similar way in which you would plot a radar fix on a paper chart. Not having a radar overlay on the
ECDIS is not an excuse to not use it for position fixing.
In addition to position fixing you can use the RADAR/ECDIS for Parallel Indexing. Even without
RADAR/ECDIS integration you can measure off a PI on the ECDIS at the planning stage and then use it on
to the RADAR at the appropriate time.
There is a possibility of visual discrepancies when overlaying the RADAR image on the ECDIS as the RADAR
will change the scale of the chart to a RADAR scale ie 6, 12, 24NM which are not natural scales for the
charts. This problem should have been rectified with subsequent updates from the IHO, ENC providers and
ECDIS manufacturers but it is worth double checking the information being displayed.
Collision Avoidance

6e.14 ECDIS has the ability to display targets from one or more ARPA’s and the AIS on the display. This is
a useful feature enabling the OOW to enhance his situational awareness and determine what the traffic
might be expected to do. 
It shall be remembered that RADAR and ARPA are the primary means of collision avoidance. An
overlay of targets (AIS & TT) on the ECDIS is useful but shall be used only to enhance
situational awareness.
If both ARPA (TT) and AIS targets are displayed on the screen then there will be some of duplication of
targets. This can be adjusted in the association settings menu. This will pair targets together when both the
ARPA (TT) and AIS is in the same place. Priority should always be set to ARPA (TT, target track is a true
representation of where the other vessel actually is. 
Like the ARPA the ECDIS has the features of CPA/TCPA limits. This shall be set to the same limits as set for
the ARPA and shall be as mentioned in the Masters standing orders/night orders.. 

Position Fixing

6e.15 There is a danger of over-reliance on GPS when operating solely on ECDIS. This must be avoided
and the vessels position cross-checked frequently. Cross checking position on the ECDIS is not a
replacement for, but may be used in conjunction with, position monitoring on the RADAR or by visual
means. Overlaying the RADAR picture on the ECDIS is a quick and efficient method of checking GPS
accuracy but is not a substitute for PI’s on the Radar.

Vessel operating with ECDIS as Primary means of Navigation may undertake position monitoring with PI’s
and Raday Overlay function (where fitted) as the primary positioning method as long as the following
procedure is followed and the outlined factors accounted for.

        As the vessel approaches a landfall she shall make a series of Radar/Visual fixes in order to
determine the accuracy of her GPS fix on the ECDIS.

        If she determines the GPS fix to be accurate then she shall switch to position monitoring (Primarily
PI’s) at a suitable range from land. Taking into account the following:

        Suitability of coastline for Parallel Indexing. (i.e. Good echo from the land, distinct and conspicuous
radar targets etc)

        Performance of Radar Units in Parallel Indexing.

        She will continue to monitor the vessel position via Parallel Indexing, using Radar Overlay on the
ECDIS as an additional verification.

        Radar/Visual fixes will be made at least every leg of the passage. Interval between fixes to be as
per the passage plan.

        Radar/Visual fixing frequency is to be increased in the following circumstances;

o   When in the vicinity of navigational dangers

o   When there are any error alarms/messages in the GPS units (i.e. HDOP, position jump, DR
mode, difference in position between the two GPS units).

o   When there is an unexpected/unidentifiable difference between the GPS position and the
Radar/Visual fix.

o   If the vessel is in any doubt whatsoever as to her position.

o   If the vessel is experiencing large tidal streams.

o   If the vessel is experiencing large amounts of leeway.

o   If there are insufficient/poor quality/out of position Nav Aids.

o   If the vessel is transiting close to her UKC limits.

o   Whenever else the Master deems it necessary.

If the vessel finds the GPS fix on the ECDIS to be inaccurate position monitoring and position fixing method
/ interval to comply with SI Ch 6.107 consideration must be made about whether to increase the manning
on the bridge.

Sole Position Monitoring by PI and Raday Overlay is not to be used in any circumstances when the vessel is
navigating on ENC cells which are not referred to WGS 84. On cells such as these the vessel must navigate
with extreme caution and make regular position fixes from the Radar/Visual bearings as per SI Ch.6.107.

The advantage of using position monitoring in conjunction with ECDIS is it allows the OOW to maintain
better situational awareness.

LOP fixes from the Radar may be used instead of fixes taken from the Radar Overlay on the ECDIS. 

Parallel Indexing and Radar/Visual fixing is to be well planned out during the passage planning stage and
notated on the chart as User Maps and in the passage plan.

Visual Bearings/Running Fixes/Clearing Bearings/Transits can be used to check/monitor the vessels


When the vessel is out of radar range of the land and whenever weather/conditions permit celestial
navigation should be used to verify the vessels position.

Vessels shall keep a scrap log for celestial fixes.

Record Keeping

6e.16 All vessels even those operating solely by ECDIS shall keep a GPS logbook. The vessels position
must be record at least once per watch in the deck log book and any alterations of course also.. 
The ECDIS log function must be turned on. In the Logbook settings menu, ensure all options are selected
and the time interval is set to the lowest available value (Between 3 and 15mins is recommended, but this
will be dependent on the manufacturers minimum settings). Ensure the Logbook is set to keep records for
the longest available time period (Ordinarily this will be 90days).
The ECDIS log will keep a record of all navigational alarms, i.e. going off course, arriving at a waypoint etc.
It will also record cross-checks of the vessels position such as EP’s/DR’s via LOP’s/Visual Bearings/Radar
Fixes. All of this information is important evidence that the vessel is not solely relying on GPS for
determining her position. Therefore the logbook should be backed up externally from the ECDIS unit on a
monthly basis or more frequently if the logbook cannot store more than one month of information at a
time. The ECDIS has an export to .CSV function. Export this to a USB drive or a floppy drive and store it on
another computer. 

Passage Planning

6e.17.1. The second officer must check and ensure that prior to departure from a port, all necessary ENC’s
required for the current Voyage are loaded onto both ECDIS’s and are licensed on board until the end of the
Voyage. This must be verified by the Master prior to departure

6e.17.2. All Paper & Digital publications for the intended voyage are on board and fully corrected.

6e.17.3. In case needed, missing ENC’s are to be ordered immediately and paper publications should be
purchased locally or obtained from another vessel or if time permits, be requisitioned from the Office. In
cases where the appropriate charts/publications cannot be obtained the Master should contact the
Managers Operations Dept.

6e.17.4. The latest appropriate permit file should be loaded onto both of the ECDIS units in order to
remove any expired ENC’s from the chart portfolio The Permit file received from the ChartCo contains all
the valid permits presently active in vessels system.

Passage Planning using ECDIS shall be conducted to the same standard as on paper charts. The principle
behind passage planning (as opposed to producing a set of waypoints) is that by investing time and
intelligent effort, the Navigating Officer makes the job of the Officer of the Watch simpler and therefore
safer. The advantage of ECDIS when planning a passage is the speed with which it can be completed if
used properly and once familiar with the equipment.
SI Ch 6.38-6.41 are still applicable to vessels navigating by ECDIS. 

The APEM (Appraisal, Planning, Execution, Monitoring) method of passage planning is to be followed along
the following lines
6e.17.5. Appraisal

• The second officer will correctly select the ENC cells needed to safely sail the voyage, allowing for any
reasonable deviation that may occur due to heavy weather.
• The FAQ should be referred to ensure that the port is not in one of the regions where there is
insufficient ENC coverage, and paper charts are required. 
• All areas where our vessels navigate should now be covered by ENC cells. If a vessel navigates
through an area in which she believes ENC coverage is not available or that the scale available is not
practical for safe navigation she shall contact the office immediately.
• All ENC cells to be used for the voyage shall be checked to ensure that they have valid permits. If
there are any cells which do not have an active permit, the vessel will request one from the chart
provider/supply dept as per the current procedure.
• All ENC cells are to be checked to make sure they are updated to the latest received NTM. If there are
any problems with this the office is to be notified immediately.
• Any ENC cells which are to be used shall be checked to ensure they are current editions. If an ENC cell
has had a new edition issued since the last Base Disc received onboard, the vessel will request that
individual cell to be sent to them should that cell be needed for the present voyage, if it is a cell
which is not used for the immediate voyage then you can wait until the next base disc/update DVD
is received in order to update it. It should be noted which cells are old editions so that they are not
used for navigation, or are updated should a base disc not arrive in time. All Vessels should be
aware that an AVCS Update DVD is the same as a set of AVCS Base Discs. If you receive an update
DVD then installing it on the ECDIS units means all the ENC’s are updated to that week.
• All of the above procedures are to be made on both the primary and secondary ECDIS units. 
• Publications, both paper and digital are to be selected for the route and checked to make sure they
are updated to the latest NTM and are current editions. 
• Local regulations regarding carriage of national charts are to be checked and complied with (contact
local agents).
6e.17.6 Planning

• The route shall be plotted on the ECDIS using either the table or graphical input. Once complete from
berth to berth it can then be checked for any navigational hazards. This check shall be made on the
largest scale possible to ensure all relevant dangers are highlighted.  During the planning stage it is
recommended that additional display items are used such as CATZOC (sounding confidence –
See ECDIS FAQ’s) in order to plan the route through the safest waters. The Display settings should
be returned to those stated in the Masters Standing Orders once the planning stage has been
• Once the waypoints have been selected and checked the vessel should select a suitable speed and
XTE limit on each leg. It should be as wide as practicable as the wider the route is, the more safe
water the vessel will have for collision avoidance. When the vessel runs the route safety check
function on the ECDIS the check will only extend to the limits of the set XTE. Therefore if a vessel
sets an initially small XTE and during her passage she has to alter course out of this for collision
avoidance purposes, she will be navigating in waters not checked for dangers. There is nothing
wrong with leaving the XTE but in doing so the OOW must be aware that there may be dangers not
accounted for in the passage plan. 
• It is important that the correct maneuvering information is entered into the route. The correct speed
and turn radius should be entered as per the vessels maneuvering characteristics. This is so that
when the safety check is run it checks the actual expected track of the vessel and not the straight
line in between two waypoints.
• The Safety depths and contour settings must be updated with the correct data based on the vessels
sailing draught and speed. This must be done with the agreement of the Master. 
• All passage planning features used on paper charts must be used on electronic charts. No Go areas
are covered by safety contours and shallow pattern marking. Wheel-over Lines will be automatically
plotted if the vessel inputs her maneuvering data and plans the route using a TCS method
(regardless of having TCS fitted/operational or not). Abort points, Contingency anchorages, Notices
to Master/ER, reporting points (not available on ENC), fix intervals and PI information can all be
added on as a User Map. Labelling the User Maps for the voyage with the voyage number at the
start will make it easy to find which map needs to be loaded.
• The second officer  must ensure that the latest AIO data is updated on to the charts and that any
notices which intersect with the route that the vessel intends to sail are carefully checked.
• The second officer must ensure that the latest Navigational warnings are obtained from the chart
maintenance software on board and the SAT-C. The route must be checked against them to see if
there are any warnings that intersect with the intended route. Relevant Navigational warnings can
be manually drawn onto the chart using User Maps.
• The second officer must ensure that the latest Navtex messages are received on board from the
relevant stations and checked to see if there are any that intersect with the vessels intended route.
If the vessel has the Navtex connected to the ECDIS the display function must be turned on. If the
Navtex is connected then check the message is displayed properly on the ECDIS. If the ECDIS is not
connected and the warning is in the ships route then a user map/mariners note shall be drawn on
the chart in a suitable place highlighting the warning.
• Once depths have been input the safety check can be run. This must be a twofold process, firstly by
manually scrolling along the route to check for any dangers and secondly by running the inbuilt
safety check as mentioned previously. Any dangers found must be checked carefully and the route
adjusted as necessary. If the waypoints are adjusted, the Safety checks must be run on these legs
• The route validation check shall be carried out at the nominal scale of the chart and not at the range
scale of chart currently on display. This is to prevent any objects not being displayed at the current
scale due to specific attributes of ECDIS such as SCAMIN / Over-scale / Under-scale etc.
• If the vessel intends to use the Track Control System at any time in the voyage the limit check must
be run to ensure that all the legs are feasible for the vessels maneuvering characteristics. 
• When planning the route the second officer shall take into account features which will enable the
vessel to cross-check her position. These shall be noted in the passage plan and on the chart if
• Any areas where the vessel will have to report to local VTS or national reporting centres shall be
noted in the passage plan and on the chart if appropriate. 
• Once the passage is complete and fully checked, it shall be loaded onto both ECDIS units, both
RADARs (if applicable) and backed up externally on the bridge (on a flash drive etc.) so that in the
unlikely event of it disappearing from the ECDIS units it is immediately available for use. 
• The Master must check and verify that all the above has been completed. 
• In addition to VO32 Passage Plan form VO52 will be used for Passage planning on managed vessels
where ECDIS is being used as the Primary means of Navigation. The Master and all Navigation
Officers will review the passage plan and the contents before signing it. 
6e.17.7 Execution

• Both ECDIS units should be setup and ready to use as per the settings described in ECDIS display
settings/depth contour settings & alarm settings.
6e.17.8 Monitoring

• Whilst the vessel is on passage the bridge team will monitor the position and the route as per the plan
laid out. 
• Alarms received on the ECDIS unit must be checked properly by the OOW, investigated and
acknowledged within a reasonable time. 
All Deck Officers must be able to plan a passage using the ECDIS. It may be necessary for the vessel to
alter the passage plan at short notice e.g. during pilotage, going to an anchorage or due to a new
navigational hazard ahead. Whilst the 2nd Officer is normally tasked with making passage plans, he may
not be available (on mooring station or taking rest). Therefore it is vital that all the deck officers are able to
make a temporary route or modify the current route, as the vessel cannot sail without a passage plan. In
circumstances such as this the Master will be on the bridge and this can be done with his authorisation. 
Navigational Audits

6e.18 When carrying out navigational audits as required by SI 6.98, the Master is required to carry out an
audit of voyage planning on ECDIS using form VO50 and also assess the effective use if ECDIS by the
Bridge watch keepers by carrying out audits using form VO 51.   

Virus / ECDIS software Protection.

6e.19 ECDIS Units do not have anti-virus software built in, nor are ships authorised to install any on the
systems either. Because of this the units are at risk form virus infection. In order to minimize the risk a
dedicated USB flash drive shall be used for the ECDIS units and each time it is plugged in to the ChartCo
computer it shall be scanned for viruses and reformatted before being used.

The following procedures are to be followed in order to prevent vessels from losing ECDIS Functionality.

1.    When any updates / installation of ENC permit files / maintenance are being carried out, then this
shall be carried out on one ECDIS unit at a time.

2.    Prior to carrying out updates / installation of ENC permit files / maintenance on the first unit, the
second unit MUST be operational on Navigation Mode with passage plan loaded and being used for

3.    Updating / Maintenance of ECDIS Units shall NOT be carried out in confined / coastal / pilotage
waters. Any maintenance that needs to be done on the ECDIS units, for example updating the ENC
cells, should be done either in port, at anchor or in open waters. If the cells currently being used
need updating, then the office must be informed for approval.

4.    After completing updates / installation of ENC permit files / maintenance on the first ECDIS, the
navigation mode shall be started and the ECDIS checked to ensure that it is fully operational. If you
are unsure that the unit is fully operational, DO NOT attempt to update the second ECDIS unit and
contact the office for further instructions.   

5.    Only after that it has been confirmed that the first ECDIS is fully operational and running in
navigation mode, should the updates / installation of ENC permit files / maintenance be done on the
second unit.

6.    The procedure for updating ECDIS using USB media is as follows.

a.    A dedicated USB drive shall be for ECDIS use only. This shall only be in the possession of and
used by the Second Officer.

b.    This USB Drive may only be inserted into the ECDIS units and the ChartCo computer (which
shall be used for nothing other than Navigation purposes).

c.    The ChartCo computer shall have at a minimum USB Disk Security software installed. If you
do not have this please contact Tech/IVC.

d.    Every time the USB drive is inserted into the ChartCo computer it shall be formatted without

e.    When writing the ENC corrections to the USB drive the box `Empty drive before writing' shall
be ticked.

f.     Once the corrections have been made on one ECDIS the unit shall be checked to make sure it
is fully functioning with no error messages before the second ECDIS unit is updated.

If you need to use the USB drive for anything else with ECDIS, i.e. performing an authorised software
update, updating the permit file or exporting route files, steps a) to d) shall be followed.

If the vessel has the capability to communicate between ECDIS units using LAN cables, i.e. they share a
network hard drive, then you only need to transfer data on to one ECDIS unit and then copy it over to the
other units via the network. Where there is automatic synchronization between the two ECDIS it shall be
removed while updating as mentioned in 4 above.

Data Verification.

6e.20 Changes introduced in Edition 4.0 of the IHO Presentation Library invalidate the tests contained in the
ECDIS Data Presentation and Performance Checks which were specifically designed and developed for ECDIS
using previous editions of the Presentation Library.

An ECDIS type approval certificate showing conformance with tests in edition 4.0 of IEC 61174
demonstrates that the ECDIS does not have any of the identified ENC display anomalies.

The subsequent guidance describes the method by which mariners may check the ECDIS displays for the
new ENC symbols contained in Edition 4.0 of the Presentation Library. The checks should be run at least
once after installing an ECDIS.  A re-run is recommended only after a software update, system
upgrade or change of equipment. A copy of the checks should be retained on board. See FAQ’s
section H.

ECDIS Sensor Failures and ECDIS Failures

6e.21 This section is to be read in conjunction with

·        SM 7.11.2 Risk Assessment Navigation

                    - Failure of one ECDIS

                    - Failure of both ECDIS

·        Emergency Procedures Manual Ch 16 Contingency Planning for Critical Systems (Position Fixing – ECDIS)

·        Company Checklist Bridge C/L No. 12

Failures of mandatory sensor inputs (GPS, Gyro Compass, Log) require Management Template reporting
as per 'Emergency Procedures Manual' Chapter 14 - Breakdown or failure of any identified critical
equipment. Your Tech Manager will obtain exemptions as required.
Failure of an ECDIS unit (either primary or backup), require Management Template reporting as per
'Emergency Procedures Manual' Chapter 14 - Breakdown or failure of any identified critical equipment. Your
Tech Manager will provide guidance and obtain exemptions as required.

Failure of both ECDIS units (TOTAL failure of ECDIS) require Emergency Notification by telephone to
DPA and Fleet Tech Manager followed by Management Template message as per 'Emergency Procedures
Manual' Chapter 14.
Input failures of additional equipment (second GPS, ARPA and RADAR overlay, AIS, Navtex,
Echosounder, BNWAS) will be reported to Tech manager. Failures of additional inputs do not affect the
criticality of the ECDIS system. Measures to restore additional inputs will be evaluated by Tech Managers in
a cost effective manner and the equipment will be used independently as were it not connected to the
ECDIS.  Where the equipment is categorised as critical equipment in QP 8.5, the reporting of failures will be
for the equipment and not under ECDIS.

The Master shall always assess the impact of the sensor input failure or ECDIS failure on the safe
navigation of the vessel and should only continue the voyage when it is safe to do so. If any failure or
breakdown endangers the vessel, reported directly by phone to the DPA as per Emergency Notification
(Emergency Procedures Manual Ch 14).
The following chart is quick reference guide 

Sensor Type Function Affected Alternate Input Reporting

Additional GPS if fitted

Manual GPS input Management Template
GPS input into ECDIS
Position Fixing reporting (Emergency
OR Procedures Manual Ch 14)

Manual DR input

Additional Gyro if fitted

Heading input from Magnetic
Gyro Compass input Management Template
into ECDIS Heading reporting (Emergency
(Mandatory) Procedures Manual Ch 14)
Manual Heading input

Additional Log if fitted

Speed and Distance input from  
  GPS (if available)
Management Template
Log input into ECDIS
Speed and Distance OR reporting (Emergency
Procedures Manual Ch 14)
Manual speed and distance

  System Redundancy Use equipment which is working Management Template

– backup ready for immediate
reporting (Emergency
ECDIS Failure (Single use in areas where navigation
Procedures Manual Ch 14)
unit -Primary or hazards exist.

Total ECDIS Failure Emergency Procedures Manual Emergency Notification

Navigation – Critical
(Both Primary and Ch 16 Contingency Planning for (Emergency Procedures
System Critical Systems (Position Fixing
back-up) Manual Ch 14)

Additional Inputs:  
Second GPS, ARPA
Equipment used independently
and RADAR overlay,  
AIS, Navtex,
Echosounder, Routine reporting to Tech
Route Monitoring
BNWAS) Manager SI Ch 2.
Manual Input (If applicable)

ECDIS Software Maintenance.

6e.22 The Company will always ensure continued compliance as per IMO Circ.266/rev1 ‘ECDIS that is not
updated for the latest version of IHO Standards may not meet the chart carriage requirements as set out in

The Company will co-ordinate with Manufacturers and Shore Based Maintenance providers to ensure any
critical software updates are pushed out to vessels as and when required.

The current software versions for each manufacturer are detailed in the Additional guidance for ECDIS.

Frequently Asked Questions regarding ECDIS (split the FAQ into 3 sections for ease of use):

Frequently Asked Questions regarding ECDIS Part 1

Frequently Asked Questions regarding ECDIS Part 2

Frequently Asked Questions regarding ECDIS Part 3 (Paper Charts required on board)

The FAQ's include general guidance on the ECDIS along with information regarding Software Versions,
CATZOC, Antivirus, insufficient coverage from ENC's, etc.

6e.23 ECDIS Performance Standards (as per IMO A.817(19) and amendments including MSC 232(82))
included in Regs4ship.