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ECDIS familiarisation

ECDIS familiarisation ensures that master and navigating officers are familiar with the specific make and model of the ECDIS equipment onboard (including backup) before taking charge of a navigational watch.

Familiarisation should build on previously completed ECDIS generic training. 

In accordance with the ISM code, the company should establish procedures, plans and instructions, including checklists, for key shipboard operations such as the use of ECDIS for navigation. The requirement for familiarisation is recognised under the provisions of section 6.3 and 6.5 of the ISM Code. 

If the generic training includes familiarisation with a particular type (i.e. same make and model) of ECDIS equipment installed onboard, such training can be considered to fulfil the requirement of both generic training and familiarisation. The master is expected to verify that all officers in charge of a navigational watch are competent in the safe and effective use of the ship’s ECDIS. 

ECDIS familiarisation should follow a structured plan and cover the following areas: 

  • familiarisation with available functions 
  • familiarisation with the menu structure 
  • display setup 
  • setting of safety values 
  • recognition of alarms and malfunction indicators and action to be taken 
  • route planning 
  • route monitoring 
  • changing over to backup systems 
  • loading charts and licenses 
  • updating of software. 

Trickle-down-familiarisation (e.g. one crew member training another) is not acceptable. It is unstructured, and leads to incomplete knowledge of the equipment capabilities, especially the lesser used functions. The Nautical Institute has developed a useful check list on ECDIS familiarisation that lists the key tasks for using ECDIS as a means of navigation.  It can be found here

AMSA’s port State control inspectors expect to see documented evidence for generic ECDIS training. They do not expect type specific approved training certificates for the purpose of meeting familiarisation requirements. Our port State control inspectors may request the master and officers to demonstrate their competence in the use of the equipment installed onboard. 

Last updated: 26 November 2021