Published on Australian Maritime Safety Authority (

Electronic chart display and information system

The use of Electronic Chart Display and Information Systems (ECDIS) on board ships contributes significantly to the safety of navigation.

ECDIS offers many benefits.  These include increased situational awareness, real-time positioning, and reduced workload.  This means the Officer of the Watch has more time to devote to route monitoring, keeping a lookout, assessing situations, and avoiding collisions. 

Many ships now carry ECDIS and electronic navigational charts (ENCs) to meet the chart carriage requirement of Regulation V/19.2.10 of the International Convention on the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS). 

The following vessels on international voyages are required to carry an approved ECDIS as required by SOLAS V Regulation 19 – Carriage requirements for shipborne navigational systems and equipment: 

Ships calling at Australian ports 

AMSA Marine Notice on Electronic Chart Display and Information Systems [link to new marine notice] offers guidance on ECDIS for ships calling at Australian ports.  It draws attention to the latest IMO guidance on the use of ECDIS. More detail can be found in IMO’s ECDIS – Guidance for Good Practice (MSC.1/Circ.1503/Rev.1). 

Safety certificate declaration 

Details of a ship’s navigational systems and equipment are recorded in the record of equipment attached to safety certificates under SOLAS including: 

If a ship uses ECDIS for navigation, the record of equipment must clearly state that it is used, and the back-up arrangements that are in place. 

Declaring ECDIS in the ship’s record of equipment indicates that the ship is using ECDIS to comply with SOLAS Reg V/19 and makes ECDIS a surveyable item under SOLAS regulations.  The ECDIS must comply with the relevant IMO performance standards.   

If a ship requires flexibility in using either paper charts or ECDIS as the means of navigation (and if this is permissible for the ship in question in relation to SOLAS Reg V/19), such an arrangement must be clearly indicated by including both in the ship’s record of equipment. In such cases, both paper charts and ECDIS must comply with SOLAS requirements. 

Last updated: 26 November 2021