The Future of Marine Simulation

For many years the aviation community has embraced simulator-based training as an integral part of teaching syllabi; not as a replacement for time in a real aircraft but to augment and consolidate theory, practice procedures and to push students’ capacity to a degree perhaps not possible in a real aircraft due to the risk inherent in willingly making things go wrong in the air.

Perhaps the collective inertia to integrate and exploit simulators for marine training is finally being overcome with the advent of a new generation of simulation technology. ECDIS Ltd is leading the world in reducing the gap between what training is possible at sea and what training is possible ashore. Through smart integration of existing, but extremely high-end hardware, ECDIS Ltd is able to provide 360° high definition bridge simulators of a quality and realism that has not been seen before. From the perspective of the end user this technology offers training with tangible benefits and at a fraction of the cost, and risk, of conducting such training at sea. Offering bespoke and importantly, flexible simulation solutions, ECDIS Ltd are constantly pathfinding and continue to set the standard of what is achievable in a simulator; solutions that have previously been thought of as unachievable, cost prohibitive or plain untenable are being made a reality. Consider the utility of a full mission bridge modelled on your own fleet of vessels, with the same equipment fully integrated and linked to a series of smaller simulators used to practice tug manoeuvring or counter-piracy tactics. The options and variety of training are no longer limited by technology as boundaries continue to be pushed and inventive, elegant solutions provided by a team of extremely dedicated technicians.

The desire to constantly improve doesn’t end there; complex equipment such as this needs regular and effective maintenance routines. Remote access has been utilised in the IT sector for several years and has now been tested and verified as a viable option for update and upgrade of such simulation technology. Issues can be diagnosed and resolved from many time zones away saving all-important time and ensuring training facilities remain open and fit for purpose. Where this is not enough; rapid deployment of a technician with a targeted aim is completed and problems are addressed in short order. This type of bespoke support and communication is not something found everywhere and sets ECDIS Ltd apart from competitors.

Advances will continue apace. Bridge simulators are not the boundary; this technology can be tailored to many fields and benefit many industries. Consultation with the team is free; we’d be happy to discuss simulation requirements and how we can assist in improving your training.

For more information on our range of Simulators and Vessel & Port Creation services

About The Author

Terry Skinsley
Terry SkinsleyInstructor and Project Manager

Kelvin Hughes MantaDigital Widescreen

ECDIS Ltd provides Kelvin Hughes MantaDigitalTM Widescreen on board familiarisation


UK based ECDIS training and consultancy company ECDIS Ltd are pleased to announce the launch of their new on-board familiarisation course for Kelvin Hughes’ MantaDigital™ Widescreen software.

Kelvin Hughes’ newest ECDIS software has been on the market since 2012 and ECDIS Ltd has now produced its own training solution which meets the requirement of the ISM code and Safety Management System training requirements and is convenient for the marine and the shipping company.

John Ritchie, ECDIS Course Manager at ECDIS Ltd, says,


“Kelvin Hughes are constantly evolving, and a particularly strong example of this is the new MantaDigitalTM Widescreen software. We are delighted to be their international independent training partner and will continue to match the development of their ECDIS software with the highest standard of professional courses.”


Natalie Robson, Marketing Manager at ECDIS Ltd, adds,


“It has been a real pleasure getting to know another ECDIS system, allowing us to provide a realistic and balanced training course for the mariner. The MantaDigitalTM Widescreen has taken a fresh approach to ECDIS bearing little resemblance to the previous versions, highlighting the need for mariners to be trained in each system.”




ECDIS Ltd provide navigation training, purchasing, charting and consultation in Electronic Chart Display and Information Systems (ECDIS) and the military equivalent (WECDIS, ECDIS-N). A forward thinking company, they have pioneered the embodiment of ECDIS in SMS procedures with the ECDIS Procedures Guide and have paved the way for a better understanding of ECDIS with the ECDIS Manual. ECDIS Ltd specialise in providing Flag State approved IMO model ECDIS courses and Equipment Specific training on an extensive number of systems.  Static training is delivered in their state of the art Training Centre near Southampton (UK) and portable training can be conducted in a location of the customer’s choosing, even onboard if facilities can support it.  ECDIS Ltd trainers are highly experienced in the practical use of ECDIS, and combined have taught over 1500 mariners.  Their static ECDIS training is endorsed and accredited by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, whilst their portable training solution is approved by Det Norske Veritas. Equipment Specific training is accredited by the Nautical Institute.

The ECDIS Manual is available for purchase from Witherby Seamanship at and at all good maritime chart and book stockists.

Written by:        ECDIS Ltd
Published by:    Witherby Seamanship International Ltd

ISBN 978-1-85609-507-5
Book £350 +VAT

eBook £350       (eBook excludes any applicable taxes)

The ‘ECDIS Procedures Guide’ is available from Witherby Seamanship at and at all good maritime chart and book stockists.

Written by:        ECDIS Ltd
Published by:    Witherby Seamanship International Ltd
ISBN 978-1-85609-535-8
Book £75 + VAT

eBook £75         (eBook excludes any applicable taxes)



For further information:

Natalie Robson


Ground Floor

Atlantic 3600 Building Parkway

Solent Business Park



PO15 7AN

United Kingdom


Tel: +44 (0) 1489 559677



MaxSea and ECDIS Development

MaxSea and ECDIS Development

Ecdis Ltd’s partnership with MaxSea continues to flourish.  This month Mal Instone, Director of Operations conducted training in Biarritz on their latest product, Time Zero.  Time Zero replaces MaxSea Version 12 and is an entirely new look utilising new technologies.  The essence of Time Zero is the ability to seamlessly zoom from the world chart to the largest scale chart in a heartbeat.  Other attributes include a superb weather feature, aided in design by Michel Desjoyeaux, Vendée Globe winner.  MaxSea software has free and unlimited access to worldwide meteorological forecasts.  A weather forecast is requested from MaxSea and is received by email.  This data is fed into the system and the result is a weather picture overlay.  The user can then advance the weather overlay to see how it will affect the boat over the route.  The really clever part however, is that the system will analyse the data to predict the best route to your destination, given the conditions.

Time Zero is a superb tool for yachtsman, leisure and fishermen alike.  The software facilitates 3D charting and image overlay utilising mapmedia charts.  By viewing the chart in 3D the user is able to get a perspective like no other, with depths and heights allowing greater understanding of the surrounding environment.  If that was not enough there is the ability to overlay this with 3D satellite imagery.  Always looking to improve their product MaxSea are working on 3D technology that uses live echo sounder and sonar data to paint an accurate picture of the sea bed.  This data is overlayed on a 3D Raster or Vector chart so that the two may be compared. Although Time Zero does not contain as many features as Version 12 at present, work is ongoing to incorporate them into future updates.  Whether you are yacht racing, commercial or more leisure inclined, MaxSea Time Zero is a superb tool worth consideration for all your navigation needs.

Ecdis Ltd are exclusive MaxSea trainers in the UK. However, given the sophistication of MaxSea software we would also be very interested in utilising our expertise to work closely with MaxSea in developing their systems to full IMO approved ECDIS status. 

A demo of Time Zero can be seen on our website on the Associates & Partners page.

 Written by Mal Instone of Ecdis Ltd

The importance of ECDIS training

Nautical Telegraph Article on ECDIS Grounding

ACCIDENT investigators have called for an urgent review of proposed international standards for training in the use of electronic chart display and information systems (ECDIS) following the grounding of a general cargoship in the North Sea last year. The Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) found that none of the deck officers onboard the Dutch-flagged CFL Performer had been trained in the use of ECIDS — even though it was the primary means of navigation onboard the paper chart-free ship.

It said the officers were consequently ignorant of many of the system requirements and features and were operating it ‘in a very basic and inherently dangerous manner’. A report on the incident expresses concern about the ‘disturbing’ and increasing number of similar accidents involving the misuse of electronic chart systems, poor training and the use of inappropriate settings.

The 4,106gt vessel grounded on Haisborough Sand, off the coast of Norfolk, where the charted depth was less than 2m — compared with the vessel’s draft of 5.9m. Investigations revealed that the chief officer had used the system to amend a passage plan for the vessel — which was sailing from Suriname to Grimsby with a cargo of bauxite — to enable it arrive an hour earlier than the original ETA so as not to miss high tide and delay berthing. The report says the new voyage plan had taken about five minutes to complete. ‘It is clear that this route was not adequately checked for navigational hazards either when planned or when being monitored,’ it states.

Investigators found that neither the Ukrainian chief officer nor the Filipino second officer had been trained in the operation of ECDIS, although they had used systems on other ships. The Ukrainian master had no previous experience or training in ECDIS or any other form of electronic navigation system. ‘None of the officers were aware of the significance of the safety contour, the safety depth, and the shallow deep contours, and did not know how to establish a watch vector ahead of the vessel, or its significance,’ the report adds. ‘They also did not know how to use the “check page” to ensure that all course lines and associated channel limits were clear of navigational dangers.’

The report warns that ECDIS will soon replace paper charts as the primary means of navigation on most vessels and it notes the ‘compelling’ case for mandatory training requirements. ‘Reliance on the requirements of flag states, knowledge of paper charts, on-the-job training, and self-tuition are not realistic or sensible options for such a vital piece of navigational equipment,’ it adds. And, given the marked differences between different systems, it argues that officers require equipment-specific training. The MAIB also warned that the case shows the danger of watchkeepers placing unquestioning trust in ECDIS displays and failing to monitor the vessel’s position in relation to navigational hazards. The voyage plan being used atthe time of the grounding had been deleted from the system, and the VDR records had not been saved.

The report comments: ‘To enable lessons to be learned from accidents, hazardous incidents and other operational situations, it is important that clear guidance for the reporting of such occurrences and the preservation of evidence — including electronic data from VDRs, ECDIS and other systems, is provided to ships’ crews.’ The report recommends the Maritime & Coastguard Agency to support the ‘expeditious’ adoption of IMO proposals to include ECDIS competences within the STCW Code. It also warns of the need for an urgent review of the IMO model course syllabus for ECDIS training — which was developed eight years ago — to ensure that it is still ‘fit for purpose’. Successful completion of the course should be determined by examination and practical assessment, it added. The report also urges shipowners to ensure that all bridge OOWs are familiar with the navigational systems used on their ships, and to encourage the use of both generic and equipment-specific training in ECDIS.

ECDIS to be made mandatory under SOLAS

ECDIS to be made mandatory under SOLAS

At a meeting of the IMO Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) on 27 May-5 June 2009, amendments to SOLAS regulation V/19, to make mandatory the carriage of Electronic Chart Display and Information Systems (ECDIS) and Bridge Navigational Watch Alarm Systems (BNWAS), under SOLAS chapter V, Safety of Navigation, were adopted, with an expected entry into force date of 1 January 2011. The requirements will be mandatory for new ships and phased-in for existing ships.