Page 53: of Maritime Logistics Professional Magazine (Q1 2011)
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VARIETY: DECISIONS, DECISIONS
Approximately 32 ECDIS systems are on the market today.
While most if not all meet minimum statutory requirements, all do so in considerably different ways. Most systems also include a myriad of additional features, such as sailing direc- tions or ephemeral overlays. Selecting the right system for your fleet can be problematic, but it is only by careful apples- to-apples comparison that the prospective buyer can avoid making an expensive mistake. For example, and at the e-
Navigation centre, based at ECDIS Ltd’s headquarters in the
United Kingdom, an array of terminals is on permanent dis- play. These include equipment from such manufacturers as
Transas, Kelvin Hughes, OSL, PC Maritime and Totem Plus.
Every system can be connected to the on-site simulator, which provides the unique opportunity to compare and “try before they buy”, as well as giving students the chance to wit- ness some of the system variations.
USE IT OR LOSE IT
At a recent ECDIS conference held in London, it was point- ed out that even after generic and type-specific ECDIS train- ing, it can take months of operating with an ECDIS on board before operators are comfortable enough to go fully paper- less. Forcing the pace of this is undesirable but similarly, a “wait and see” attitude promotes skill ‘fade.’ The choice to install ECDIS need not be driven by regulatory requirements alone. Risk reduction, through (a.) choosing the right system, (b.) timely fitting with proper training and (c.) a safety man- agement system will ensure safe digital navigation. Once in place and used correctly, ECDIS can enhance safety of glob- al navigation. Eventually, the secondary goal of reducing costs can be realized, too.
Soften the STCW Sting
Peter Thornton is Director of Development at ECDIS Ltd (www.ecdis.org), which specializes in providing ECDIS solutions for a wide range of different manufacturer’s systems, as well as being the world’s leading provider of ECDIS courses.