The ECDIS Manual - Second Edition

Number of Pages:
Published Date:
October 2019
Book Height:
285 mm
Book Width:
170 mm
1.2 kg
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This is a comprehensive guide to the use of electronic chart display and information systems. It sets out the current regulatory resolutions and compliance requirements and looks in detail at the use of electronic charts and ECDIS software and functions. Each aspect is explained clearly and illustrated with ECDIS screenshots. The manual may be relied on as an onboard source of reference or as a study guide to develop an in-depth understanding of ECDIS operation.

Understanding ECDIS and selecting the right system is vital for ensuring the safe and precise navigation of a vessel on track and on time. The ECDIS Manual, written by and for ECDIS navigators, draws on the knowledge of leading ECDIS experts and manufacturers, as well as classification societies and NGOs, to support a ship’s transition to digital navigation in accordance with IMO, IHO, flag State, PSC, ISM, SMS and SIRE requirements.

The ECDIS Manual outlines the history and development of digital navigation and provides detailed explanations of electronic charts and operating systems, supplemented by over 500 screenshots and colour images. It includes familiarisation checklists for a number of different systems, as well as the CIRM GL-001 Guideline for ECDIS Performance Test Procedure.

Technical and procedural standards have evolved substantially since ECDIS was first established at the IMO/IHO Joint Harmonization Group in 1986. Significant enhancements in digital charts have been matched by increasingly refined human user solutions, designed for the interface between human and machine. IHO S-52 version 4.0 has now safely been adopted by all vessels and S-101 will at some point replace S-57.

While there is emerging evidence that digital navigation is reducing the number of grounding incidents when compared with the record of paper ships, there are always improvements to be made. Similarly, whilst the advent of so-called smart ships is steadily changing the nature and performance of shipping, the core seamanship principles of safety of operations, navigation and people remain vitally important.

The modern seafarer now has the advantage of a continual and automatic plotting aid telling them where they are and a system that enhances safety by looking for any dangers in relation to where they are going.

The new IHO suite of standards is the result of an international collaboration that reaps the benefits of the global digital era. The S-100 Geospatial Data Protocol is under full sea trials, several manufacturers have incorporated the layers into their systems, and seafarers are using the standards and the equipment at sea heralding a step change for digital navigation.

ECDIS has come of age – what was once a replacement for a paper chart is now the core of an integrated safe bridge.

1 History of the Electronic Chart

1.1 International Agreement

2 ECDIS Regulations

2.1 The IHO

2.2 International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC)

2.3 International Maritime Organization (IMO)

2.4 CIRM

2.5 Date Changes in Performance Standards

2.6 IMO Circulars

2.7 Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Convention

3 ISM and Flag Compliance

3.1 Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW) Convention

3.2 International Safety Management (ISM) Code

3.3 Generic ECDIS Training

3.4 Type-Specific and Familiarisation Training

3.5 Safety Management System

3.6 Flag States

3.7 Flag State ECDIS Requirements

3.8 Port State Control (PSC)

3.9 Further Legal Considerations

3.10 SIRE

3.11 ECDIS Operator’s Responsibility

4 The Electronic Chart

4.1 Introduction

4.2 Electronic Chart Data

4.3 Integrating Digital Publications

4.4 Creation of Electronic Chart Data

4.5 Understanding the Electronic Chart

4.6 Latest Performance Standards

4.7 ECDIS Chart Products and New Layers (S-100)

4.8 RNC Charts

5 ECDIS Software and Functions

5.1 ECDIS Definition

5.2 Sailing Paperless

5.3 Alternative ECDIS Screen Displays

5.4 Cyber Security Awareness

5.5 Presentation Independent of Data

5.6 System Electronic Navigation Chart (SENC)

5.7 Investigating Chart Features/Pick Report

5.8 Colour Schemes

5.9 Chart 1

5.10 Setting up the Display

5.11 Selecting Traditional Chart Symbology

5.12 Velocity Vectors

5.13 Defining Safe Water

5.14 Manual Chart Updates

5.15 Official Chart Updates

5.16 Distribution

5.17 Licences and Permits

5.18 Verifying Chart Updates

5.19 Admiralty Information Overlay (AIO)

5.20 Sensors

5.21 Errors and Alarms

5.22 IHO Dataset Check

5.23 Route Planning

5.24 Route Monitoring

5.25 IMO VDR Requirements

5.26 ECDIS Screen Capture

Annex A ECDIS Familiarisation Checklists

Annex B CIRM Guideline


Witherbys titles are developed using scripts developed by technical experts that are peer reviewed within work groups. Typically, they seek to improve understanding of the regulations, recommendations and guidelines issued by Industry.

Witherbys staff have significant expertise in the fields of navigation and hazardous cargoes as well as in the presentation of complex subjects in a graphic and easy to understand manner.


ECDIS Ltd., part of the eMaritime group, is the largest global independent training provider in its field offering over 30 STCW courses.

Number of Pages:
Published Date:
October 2019
Binding Format:
Book Height:
285 mm
Book Width:
170 mm
1.2 kg

Witherbys & ECDIS Ltd.