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ECDIS standards and regulations

The electronic chart display and information system (ECDIS) is governed by a number of standards and regulations. Find out which ones you need to be aware about and how to be compliant.

Your ship type, size and construction date will determine whether you need to have an ECDIS. In accordance with SOLAS Reg. V/19 certain kinds of ships engaged on international voyages need to be fitted with an ECDIS:

  • passenger ships (500 gross tonnes or more) built after 30 June 2012
  • tankers (3000 gross tonnes or more) built after 30 June 2012
  • cargo ships (10,000 gross tonnes or more) built after 30 June 2013
  • cargo ships (between 3000 and 10,000 gross tonnes) built after 30 June 2014
  • passenger ships (500 gross tonnes or more) built before 1 July 2012, with a first survey after 30 June 2014
  • tankers (3000 gross tonnes or more) built before 1 July 2012, with a first survey after 30 June 2015
  • cargo ships (50,000 gross tonnes or more) built before 1 July 2013, with a first survey after 30 June 2016
  • cargo ships (between 20,000 and 50,000 gross tonnes) built before 1 July 2013, with a first survey after 30 June 2017
  • cargo ships (between 10,000 and 20,000 gross tonnes) built before 1 July 2013, with a first survey after 30 June 2018.

Exemptions may apply for older vessels. Read more about the SOLAS regulations.

Port State control guidance

You can find out more about guidelines and restrictions of use from our marine notice.

Safety certificate declaration

You must add specific information on your safety certificates under SOLAS if you are using ECDIS as a means of navigation.

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

  • Passenger ship safety certificate—form P

  • Cargo ship safety equipment certificate—form E

  • Cargo ship safety certificate—form C

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

Declaring ECDIS in the ships record of equipment makes ECDIS a surveyable item under SOLAS regulations. By stating ECDIS is contained in the relevant form (even though the carriage of ECDIS may not yet be mandatory), it's taken to mean that the ship is using ECDIS to comply with SOLAS Reg V/19. When recorded in the record of equipment, ECDIS equipment must comply with the IMOs performance standards for ECDIS.

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 ships record of equipment. In such cases, both paper charts and ECDIS must comply with SOLAS requirements.

If ECDIS is carried on board as a training aid, a letter from the flag administration or from the relevant marine classification society should be provided to confirm this. Where ECDIS units are installed on board as a training aid, they should be appropriately marked for training purpose only and must not be used for navigation. In such cases, ECDIS must not be listed in the ships record of equipment.

Related information

Last updated: 21 November 2017
Last reviewed: 21 November 2017