ECDIS – Strengths and Weaknesses
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ECDIS – Strengths and Weaknesses

May 15, 2012

The Branch was delighted to welcome Professor. Capt. Ralph Becker-Heins, founder and General Manager of Safebridge and MSG MarineServe, to make a presentation to more than 40 branch members and guests in a packed meeting room. This probably reflected the importance and interest in the subject, especially as Owners and Managers are trying to grapple with training issues on ECDIS equipment.

Ralph began by his presentation by laying out the various issues – regulations and legislation, equipment, training requirements (both generic and type specific) and recent incidents attributed to lack of familiarity with ECDIS by navigating officers. He explained that there were many aspects to consider including the best equipment for your needs, cost control, fixing bugs and software issues as well as training!

Ralph explained the justification for type specific training – for example, he showed 6 variations of chart display available from different manufacturers with major differences in the way that navigational data is presented. Route planning menus were another area where there is little conformity between different manufacturers. And finally – terminology, where he showed there are 5 different names for the “safe” area around a ship on an ECDIS display. Depending on manufacturer, it might be called ‘Look ahead alarm’, ‘Added Breadth’, ‘Guard Zone’, ‘Alarm Sector’ or ‘Watch Dog’! How were navigating officers going to get familiar with all these?

He then introduced Safebridge’s solution to type specific ECDIS training using on line worldwide remote computer based training. This means that Officers can complete the  training at their local training facility for a number of different makers of ECDIS instead of having to travel long distances to a training centre.  There is a three week window to complete the course with access 24/7 everywhere connected to the internet. The course is manufacturer approved and comes with an appropriate certificate. Following the training programme, the Officer has to pass a test on the computer to prove that he is suitably familiarized with the equipment.

Following Ralph’s presentation there were many questions from the audience regarding the training requirements and the status of Flag rules and PSC requirements on the issue.

After the presentation, the Speaker, members and guests adjourned to the Aliada Restaurant in Limassol for drinks and further discussions. A very enjoyable evening was had by all.



May 15, 2012


Nautical Institute Cyprus