ECDIS Limited (Fareham, UK) offers a five-day ECDIS Course, approved by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) as meeting the requirements of the STCW ’95 Regulations, and accredited by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) of the United Kingdom. As an ‘old-school’ navigator I’ve always been sceptical about the use of electronic navigation aids, opting to view them as simply reference tools. The hassle of interpolating numbers, which gave no visual representation as to where the vessel was actually located, also made the task quite mundane. And while impressed with the more recent and user-friendly Electronic Chart Systems, I still found them to be limiting in capability.
Having recently completed ECDIS Limited’s ECDIS Course I have adopted a different perspective and believe that ECDIS has the potential to provide suitable situational awareness, coupled with its other functionalities to assist in navigational safety and collision avoidance. ECDIS Limited’s ECDIS Course covers the legal aspects pertinent to the use of ECDIS for navigation; the different types of Charts and Electronic Chart Systems; and the data available from the system. The majority of the program however is dedicated to practical exercises, ensuring that a proper understanding of the system’s capabilities is achieved. Pleasant and knowledgeable course facilitators, ample and modern workstations, in comfortable surroundings allow for individualized, relevant training, in a relaxed environment.
Ultimately, I am sold on the capability of ECDIS. And although I am in no way promoting over-reliance on ECDIS, and will still consider visual pilotage as the primary mode when maintaining a navigational watch, the capacity of ECDIS cannot be discounted.