Home Blog Page 12

VDR and S-VDR- Requirements, Working, Benefits, Differences


VDR (Voyage Data Recorder)

What is VDR?

A VDR or Voyage Data Recorder is an instrument installed on a ship to continuously record critical information related to the operation of a vessel. It consists of a recording system for a period of at least the last 12 hours which is continuously overwritten by the latest data. This recording is recovered and made use of for various purposes, especially for investigation in the events of accidents.

Just like the black boxes carried on aircraft, VDRs enable accident investigators to review procedures and instructions in the moments before an incident and help to identify the cause of an accident.

Carriage Requirements

​Passenger ships and ships other than passenger ships of 3000 GRT and above, constructed on or after 1 July 2002 must carry voyage data recorders (VDRs) to assist in accident investigations, under regulations adopted in 2000, which entered into force on 1 July 2002. 

Under Regulation 20 of SOLAS Chp V on Voyage data recorders (VDR), the following ships are required to carry VDRs:

  • Passenger ships constructed on or after 1 July 2002;
  • Ro-Ro passenger ships constructed before 1 July 2002 not later than the first survey on or after 1 July 2002;
  • Passenger ships other than Ro-Ro passenger ships constructed before 1 July 2002 not later than 1 January 2004; and
  • Ships, other than passenger ships, of 3,000 GRT and upwards constructed on or after 1 July 2002.

VDRs are required to meet performance standards “not inferior to those adopted by the Organization”.

Performance standards for VDRs were adopted in 1997 and give details on data to be recorded and VDR specifications. They state that the VDR should continuously maintain sequential records of preselected data items relating to the status and output of the ship’s equipment and command and control of the ship. The VDR should be installed in a protective capsule that is brightly colored and fitted with an appropriate device to aid location. It should be entirely automatic in normal operation.

Administrations may exempt ships, other than Ro-Ro passenger ships, constructed before 1 July 2002, from being fitted with a VDR where it can be demonstrated that interfacing a VDR with the existing equipment on the ship is unreasonable and impracticable.

Regulation18 of SOLAS Chapter V on Approval, surveys and performance standards of navigational systems and equipment and voyage data recorder state that:

“The voyage data recorder (VDR) system, including all sensors, shall be subjected to an annual performance test. The test shall be conducted by an approved testing or servicing facility to verify the accuracy, duration, and recoverability of the recorded data. In addition, tests and inspections shall be conducted to determine the serviceability of all protective enclosures and devices fitted to aid location. A copy of the certificate of compliance issued by the testing facility, stating the date of compliance and the applicable performance standards, shall be retained on board the ship.”

Purpose of VDR

  • The main purpose of media is to record and store the data that is shift critical parameters;
  • For navigators, it is a lesson learning tool and does improve improvement into the procedure in the future;
  • A VDR can be used to identify the major cause of actors accident which for the make a major contribution to maritime safety:
    • promotion of the safe practice
    • for investigation and inquiry of accidents;
    • to respond to assessment and study;
    • for training aid and support;
    • for a reduction in insurance costs.

Working of VDR

  • There are various sensors placed on the bridge of the ship and on prominent locations from which the required data is continuously collected. The VDR has to be very flexible in order to be interfaced with the existing equipment and sensors for recording relevant data.
  • The unit should be entirely automatic in normal operation.
    Means are provided whereby recorded data may be saved by an appropriate method following an incident, with minimal interruption to the recording process.
  • All this data or information are then waiting at a storage unit where the whole input is recorded and saved for at least 12 hours.
  • There are also ‘Record” buttons provided in the pressure units that after pushing the button the recorder will start recording a new set of information from that period of time, say during the start of the incident like pollution or grounding.
  • The data collected by VDR is digitalized, compressed, and is stored in a protective storage unit which is mounted in a safe place. This tamper-proof storage unit can be a retrievable fixed or floating unit connected with EPIRB for early location in the event of an accident.

Storage Units:

  • Primary Storage Unit:

    • kept in the Bridge,

    • this is a fixed-type unit

    • has a maximum storage capacity of 30 days or 720 hours;

    • usually used in coastal ships.

  • Secondary Storage:

    • also of a fixed-type;

    • kept inside the Bridge;

    • has 12-hour storage;
    • has a display on the VDR

  • Float-free Storage System

    • has a storage of 48 hours;

    • has a fixed HRU

    • contains a portable capsule.

    • can float free with one EPIRB for up to SIX months at least;

    • this is also called as Black Box;

    • should be made of highly visible colors and use retro-reflective material

Data to be recorded by VDR

The VDRs installed before 1st July 2014 must record the following data:

  • Date & time every 1 second, preferably external to ship (e.g.GNSS)
  • The ship’s position in lat and long,
  • the datum used
  • Speed Over Ground or Speed through Water, Recorded every 1 second to 0.1k resolution
  • Ship’s Heading from Ship’s compass, recorded at intervals of 1s to a resolution of 0.1 deg.
  • Bridge Audio from one or more bridge microphones. Recorded in real-time, both internal and external (150-6000 Hz). This mic test beeps every 12 hrs and this is recorded
  • Communication Audio, from two VHFs; recorded for both transmitted and received audio signals. Audio is compressed and labeled VHF-1 and VHF-2
  • RADAR/ ARPA Display, every 15 secs, from master RADAR Display, including Range Rings, EBLs, VRMs, Radar Maps, parts of SENC, and other essential navigational indications
  • ECDIS Display, in use at the time as the primary means of navigation; 
  • Water Depth from Echo Sounder recorded to a resolution of 0.1 meter
  • Main alarms such as the Main Engine alarm, Steering failure alarm, Fire detection alarm; Bridge VDR Microphones to be recorded with time-stamps. All IMO Mandatory Alarms as well as other mandatory alarms are stored individually
  • Rudder Order and response from/to steering gear and autopilot
  • Engine order & response from telegraphs, controls, and thrusters;
  • Bow thruster order and response; from Bow and/or Stern thrusters. Can be recorded for their orders and responses
  • Hull opening status; from all mandatory status information displayed on the Bridge. to be recorded every 1 sec and stored with time-stamps
  • Wind speed and direction; from Anemometer if fitted, should be stored individually with time-stamps; 
  • AIS target data (if Radar picture is not recorded) should be recorded as a source of information regarding other ships

VDR installed after 1st July 2014 must record, in addition to, or alternately, following data:

  • Bridge Audio should be recorded through the use of at least two channels of audio recording. Microphones positioned outside on bridge wings should be recorded on at least one additional separate channel.
  • VHF Communications audio VHF communications relating to ship operations should be recorded on an additional separate channel to those referred to in the point above.
  • RADAR- Recording of the main displays of both ship’s radar installations as required by SOLAS regulations.
  • AIS- All AIS data should be recorded.
  • ECDIS display in use at the time as the primary means of navigation.
  • Rolling Motion- VDR should be connected to an electronic inclinometer if installed.
  • Configuration data: In addition to the data items, a data block defining the configuration of the VDR and the sensors to which it is connected should be written into the final recording medium during the commissioning of the VDR.
  • Electronic Logbook: Where a ship is fitted with an electronic logbook in accordance with the standards of the Organization the information from this should be recorded.

Additionally, the following requirements shall be fulfilled by the VDRs installed after July 1st, 2014:

The final recording medium should consist of the following items:
a) Fixed Recording Medium:

  • Data recorded for 48 Hrs and continuously overwritten with new data
  • should maintain the recorded data for a period of at least two years following the termination of the recording.

b) Float-free Recording Medium:

  • Data recorded for 48 Hrs and continuously overwritten with new data
  • should maintain the recorded data for a period of at least six months following termination of recording;

c) Long-term Recording Medium:

  • Data recorded for 30 days/ 720 Hrs and continuously overwritten with new data
  • be capable of being accessed from an internal, easily accessible area of the ship;

Components of VDR

Components of Voyage Data Recorder

Data Management Unit: This data, which comprises of voices, various navigational parameters, ship’s location, etc. are fed to a unit called the Data Management Unit. The data collected by the Data Management Unit is digitalized, compressed, and is stored in a specified format in a protective storage unit, called
Final Recording Medium” which is mounted in a safe place.

Audio Module: It consists of an audio mixer for recording audio from microphones placed in the wheelhouse, bridge wings, ECR, and various other locations. VHF audio signals are also interfaced
with this unit.

Final Recording Unit: The final recording module, also sometimes called VDR CAPSULE, comprises of a tamper-proof electronic storage medium(s) encased in a protecting casing. A VDR Capsule is capable of withstanding heavy weather, collisions, fires, and pressure conditions even when a ship is at a depth of several meters in water.
This tamper-proof storage unit can be a retrievable fixed type with an underwater locator or floating unit with an in-built EPIRB for early location in the event of an accident.
Properties of Final Recording Unit:

  • Highly visible color
  • Can withstand temperature up to 1100ºC
  • Can sustain deep-sea pressure of 6000 m
  • Electronically tamper-proof data
  • Easily accessible/ Float-free

Remote Alarm Module: This is a small panel connected to the Data Management Unit that will sound an audio-visual alarm should any error or fault develop in the equipment or if the sensor inputs are missing.

Replay Station: The VDR should provide an interface for downloading the stored data and playback the information to an external computer. The interface should be compatible with an internationally recognized format, such as Ethernet, USB, FireWire, or equivalent.
A playback software should be provided with VDR with the capability to download the stored data and playback the information. The software should be compatible with an operating system available with commercial off-the-shelf laptop computers and where non-standard or proprietary formats are used for storing the data in the VDR, the software should convert the stored data into open industry-standard formats.

Power Source: The VDR should be capable of operating from the ship’s main and emergency source of electric power.

If the ship’s source of electrical power supply fails, the VDR should continue to record Bridge Audio from the dedicated reserve power source for a period of 2 hours. At the end of this 2 hour period, all recording should cease automatically.

S-VDR (Simplified Voyage Data Recorder)


An S-VDR (Simplified VDR) is the same as a VDR. There is no principle
difference between a VDR and an S-VDR except for the amount of information required to be recorded by S-VDR is less.

Data Recorded by S-VDR

  • Date and time; preferably external to ship (e.g. GNSS)
  • Ship’s position from the electronic positioning system
  • SOG and/or STW from Ship’s SDME
  • Heading from Ship’s compass
  • Bridge Audio from one or more bridge microphones
  • Communications audio from VHF communications
  • Radar data: post-display selection from Master Radar display
  • AIS Data to be recorded if it is impossible to record Radar data. If Radar is recorded then AISmay be recorded as an additional source of information
  • Other items to be recorded when additional items for VDR when interfacing is available.

Carriage Requirements

The MSC at its 79th session in December 2004 adopted amendments to regulation 20 of SOLAS chapter V (Safety of Navigation) on a phased-in carriage requirement for a shipborne simplified voyage data recorder (S-VDR). The amendment entered into force on 1 July 2006.

The regulation requires a VDR, which may be an S-VDR, to be fitted on existing cargo ships of 3,000 gross tonnage and upwards, phasing in the requirement for cargo ships of 20,000 gross tonnage and upwards first, to be followed by cargo ships of 3,000 gross tonnage and upwards.

The S-VDR is not required to store the same level of detailed data as a standard VDR, but nonetheless should maintain a store, in a secure and retrievable form, of information concerning the position, movement, physical status, command and control of a vessel over the period leading up to and following an incident.

The phase-in is as follows:

  • To assist in casualty investigations, cargo ships, when engaged on international voyages, shall be fitted with a VDR which may be a simplified voyage data recorder (S-VDR) as follows:
  • in the case of cargo ships of 20,000 GRT and upwards constructed before 1 July 2002, at the first scheduled dry-docking after 1 July 2006 but not later than 1 July 2009;
    in the case of cargo ships of 3,000 GRT and upwards but less than 20,000 GRT constructed before 1 July 2002, at the first scheduled dry-docking after 1 July 2007 but not later than 1 July 2010; and
  • Administrations may exempt cargo ships from the application of the requirements when such ships will be taken permanently out of service within two years after the implementation date specified above.

The IAMSAR Manual in Nutshell


An up-to-date copy of IAMSAR Manuals are required to be carried on board ship as per the requirement of SOLAS Chapter V: Safety of Navigation.

  • International Aeronautical and Maritime Search and Rescue (IAMSAR) Manuals/ Volumes are jointly published by IMO and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO);
  • These three volumes IAMSAR Manual provides guidelines for common aviation and maritime approaches to organizing and providing search and rescue (SAR) services.
  • Each volume can be used as a standalone document or, in conjunction with the other two volumes, as a means to attain a full view of the SAR system.

Purpose of the IAMSAR Manual:

The purpose of IAMSAR Manual is to:

  • assist States in meeting their own SAR need and fulfilling obligations accepted under the International Conventions.
  • These volumes provide guidelines for common aviation and maritime approaches to organizing and providing SAR services. States are encouraged to develop and improve their SAR services, cooperate with neighboring States and to consider their SAR services to be part of a global SAR system.
  • Each volume deals with specific SAR system duties and may be used independently or in conjunction with other volumes to understand the full system of SAR.

The IAMSAR Manual is divided into three volumes:

Volume I: Organization and Management,
discusses the global SAR system concept, establishment, and improvement of national and regional SAR systems and co-operation with neighboring States to provide effective and economical SAR services.

Volume II: Mission Coordination,
assists personnel who plan and coordinate SAR operations and exercises.

Volume III: Mobile Facilities,
is intended to be carried aboard rescue units, aircraft, and vessels to help with the performance of a search, rescue, or on-scene co-ordinator function, and with aspects of SAR that pertain to their own emergencies.

How to correct IAMSAR Manual Volumes

  • IMO in collaboration with the ICAO releases updates to IAMSAR Manual, all three volumes.
  • These updates are published in the form of MSC Circulars and are published on the IMO website. Check Sample copy of such Circular here
  • When these circulars are published, download and take a print out.
  • Then file them along with the original manual.

IAMSAR Manual Volume III


The primary purpose of the IAMSAR Manual Volume III is to assist vessels and aircraft in the performance of a search, rescue, or on-scene coordinator function and with aspects of search and rescue (SAR) that pertain to their own emergencies. It is intended to be carried onboard rescue units, aircraft, and vessels.

The purpose of the International Aeronautical and Maritime Search and Rescue Manual for Mobile Facilities, which is intended for carriage onboard search and rescue units, and onboard civil aircraft and vessels, is to provide guidance to those who:

  • operate aircraft, vessels or other craft, and who may be called upon to use the facility to support SAR operations
  • may need to perform on-scene coordinator functions for multiple facilities in the vicinity of a distress situation
  • experience actual or potential emerg

A new edition is published every three years

Contents of IAMSAR Manual Volume III:

  • Foreword
  • Abbreviations and acronyms
  • Glossary
  • Section 1 Overview
  • Section 2 Rendering assistance
  • Section 3 On-scene co-ordination
  • Section 4 On-board emergencies
  • Section 5 Multiple aircraft SAR operations
  • Appendix A Regulation V/33 of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea, 1974, as amended
  • Appendix B Search action message
  • Appendix C Factors affecting observer effectiveness
  • Appendix D Standard format for search and rescue situation report (SITREP)
  • Appendix E SAR briefing and debriefing form
  • Appendix F Own emergency
  • Appendix G Rendering assistance
  • Appendix H Multiple aircraft SAR operations

Important abbreviations and definitions under IAMSAR Vol 3:

  • ACO: AIRCRAFT COORDINATOR: A person who coordinates the involvement of multiple aircraft in SAR operations.
  • AMVER: AUTOMATED MUTUAL assistance VEssel RESCUE system: A world-wide vessel reporting system for SAR for maintaining estimated position and other data of merchant vessels that participate on a voluntary basis. The system fully supports the SAR and is free of charge for participating vessels and RCCs. Much land-based communication service providers too, world-wide, relay ship reports to AMVER free. The confidentiality of the information provided voluntarily by ships is maintained by USCG and is only revealed to SAR authorities or to others authorized by ships involved. Any merchant vessel more than 1000 gross tons and on any voyage of more than 24 hours can participate. Participation in AMVER has obvious benefits and must be encouraged by ship managers and owners:
    • Quicker response to call for assistance
    • Better chances of reaching aid in shorter time to site of distress
    • Lesser number calls for assistance to vessels not in a position to assist
  • ARCC: AERONAUTICAL RCC: An RCC dealing with aeronautical SAR incidents.
  • OSC: ON SCENE COORDINATOR: Person who is designated to coordinate search and rescue within a specified area.
  • RCC: RESCUE COORDINATION CENTRE: A unit responsible for promoting efficient organization of SAR services and for coordinating the conduct of SAR operations within a SAR region.
  • MRCC: MARITIME RCC: An RCC dealing with maritime SAR incidents.
  • JRCC: JOINT RCC: An RCC responsible for both aeronautical and maritime SAR incidents.
  • RSC: RESCUE SUB CENTRE: A unit subordinate to an RCC established to complement the latter according to particular provisions of the responsible authorities.
  • RESCUE: An operation that comprises of retrieval of persons in distress, providing for their medical and other needs, and finally delivery to the place of safety.
  • SEARCH ACTION PLAN: Message, normally developed by the SMC for passing instructions to SAR facilities and agencies participating in a SAR mission.
  • RESCUE ACTION PLAN: A plan for rescue operations normally prepared by the SMC for implementation by OSC and facilities on-scene.
  • SITREP: Situation Report. It gives information about on-scene mission progress and conditions.SITREPs are used by SAR facilities to keep OSC informed, and by OSC to keep SMC informed and by SMC to keep superiors, RCCs and RSCs informed The standard format of SITREP is given in Appendix D of Volume III.
  • SMC: SAR MISSION COORDINATOR: The official temporarily assigned to coordinate the response to an actual or apparent distress situation.
  • SRR: SAR REGION: An area of defined dimensions, associated with an RCC, within which SAR services are provided.
  • SRU: SEARCH and RESCUE UNIT: A unit composed of trained personnel and provided with equipment suitable for the expeditious conduct of SAR operations.
  • SART: SEARCH AND RESCUE TRANSPONDER: A survival craft transponder that, when activated, sends out a signal automatically when a pulse from a nearby radar reaches it. The signal appears on the interrogating radar screen and gives the bearing and distance of the transponder from the interrogating radar for SAR purposes.
  • SC: SEARCH and rescue COORDINATOR: SCs are top-level SAR mangers. Each state may have one or more SCs, who could be a person or an agency.
  • TAS: TRUE AIRSPEED: Speed of aircraft through the air mass. TAS corrected for wind speed gives ground speed.

Procedure to choose Search Patterns:

  • Search patterns and procedures must be pre-planned so as to enable minimum delay, risks and maximum efficiency. Standard search patterns have been devised to meet differing situations.
  • They are based on visual search and have been selected for simplicity and effectiveness.
  • The OSC should obtain a search action plan from the SMC via the RCC or RSC ASAP. OSC should keep the SMC informed at regular intervals and whenever the situation has changed.
  • The choice of search pattern will be decided by following factors:
    • Type and size of distressed craft.
    • Meteorological visibility.
    • Sea and weather conditions.
    • Time of day or night.
    • Time of arrival at datum and size of area to be searched.

List of IAMSAR Search Patterns under Volume 3 of IAMSAR Manual

Expanding Square Search (SS)

  • Most effective when the location of the search object is known within relatively close limits.
  • The commence search point is always the datum position.
  • Often appropriate for vessels or small boats to use when searching for persons in the water or other search objects with little or no leeway.
  • Due to the small area involved, this procedure must not be used simultaneously by multiple aircraft at similar altitudes or by multiple vessels.
  • Accurate navigation is required; the first leg is usually oriented directly into the wind to minimize navigational errors.
  • It is difficult for fixed-wing aircraft to fly legs close to datum if S is less than 2 NM.

Sector Search (VS)

  • Most effective when the position of the search object is accurately known and the search area is small.
  • Used to search a circular area centered on a datum point.
  • Due to the small area involved, this procedure must not be used simultaneously by multiple aircraft at similar altitudes or by multiple vessels.
  • An aircraft and a vessel may be used together to perform independent sector searches of the same area.
  • A suitable marker (for example, a smoke float or a radio beacon) may be dropped at the datum position and used as a reference or navigational aid marking the center of the pattern.
  • For aircraft, the search pattern radius is usually between 5 nm and 20 nm.
  • For vessels, the search pattern radius is usually between 2 nm and 5 nm, and each turn is 120°, normally turned to starboard.

Track Line Search (TS):

  • Track Line Search is normally used when an aircraft or vessel has disappeared without a trace along a known route.
  • Often used as initial search effort due to ease of planning and implementation.
  • Consists of a rapid and reasonably thorough search along intended route of the distressed craft.
  • Search may be along the side of the track line and return in the opposite direction on the other side (TSR).
  • Search may be along the intended track and once on each side, then search facility continues on its way and doesn’t return (ISN).
  • Aircrafts are frequently used for TS due to their high speed.
  • Aircraft search height usually 300- 600 m during daylight or 600- 900 m at night.

Parallel Sweep Search (PS):

  • Used to search a large area when survivor location is uncertain.
  • Most effective over water or flat terrain.
  • Usually used when a large search area must be divided into sub areas for assignment to individual search facilities on scene at the same time.
  • The commence search point is in one corner of the sub area, one half track space inside the rectangle from each of the two sides forming the corner.
  • Search legs are parallel to each other and to the long sides of the sub area.
  • Multiple vessels may be used for:
  • Parallel sweep by 2,3,4 and 5 or more ships.

Radar Search:

  • When several assisting ships are available, a radar search may be effective, especially when the position of the incident is not known reliably and the SAR aircraft may not be available.
  • No prescribed pattern has been provided for this contingency.
  • the OSC should normally direct the ships to proceed in “loose line abreast”, maintaining a track spacing between ships of the expected detection range * 1.5.


  • IAMSAR Manual Volume III Here
  • the IMO Website

IMO Performance Standards for ECDIS


As per IMO Resolution A.817(19) Recommendations for IMO Performance Standards for ECDIS, adopted on 23 November 1995

A. ECDIS should be capable of displaying all SENC information. 

“The System Electronic Navigational Chart (SENC) means a database resulting from the transformation of the ENC by ECDIS for appropriate use, updates to the ENC by appropriate means and other data added by the mariner. It is this database that is actually accessed by ECDIS for the display generation and other navigational functions and is the equivalent to an up-to-date paper chart.”

B. SENC information available for display during route planning and route monitoring should be subdivided into three categories, display base, standard display, and all other information.

C. ECDIS should present the standard display at any time by single operator action.

D. When a chart is first displayed on ECDIS, it should provide the standard display at the largest scale available in the SENC for the displayed area.

E. It should be easy to add or remove information from the ECDIS display. It should not be possible to remove information contained in the display base.

F. The ENC and all updates to it should be displayed without any degradation of their information content.

G. It should be possible for the mariner to select a safety contour from the depth contours provided by the SENC. ECDIS should give the safety contour more emphasis than other contours on the display.

H. It should be possible for the mariner to select a safety depth. ECDIS should emphasize soundings equal to or less than the safety depth whenever spot soundings are selected for display.

I. ECDIS should provide a means of ensuring that the ENC and all updates to it have been correctly loaded into the SENC.

J. ECDIS should provide a method to ensure that the ENC and all updates to it have been correctly loaded into the SENC.

K. The ENC data and updates to it should be clearly distinguishable from other displayed information.

L. ECDIS should be interfaced with:

  • A ship’s Position-fixing system,
  • To gyro compass and
  • To speed and distance measuring device.

For any ships without a gyrocompass, ECDIS should be connected to a marine transmitting heading device.
Additional navigation systems incorporated into ECDIS can include but are not limited to:

  • AIS
  • VDR
  • Echosounder

M. ECDIS should be possible for the mariner to select a safety contour from the depth contours provided by the SENC. ECDIS should emphasize the safety contour over other contours on the display.

N. ECDIS should be possible for the mariner to select a safety depth. ECDIS should emphasize soundings equal to or less than the safety depth whenever spot soundings are selected for display.

O. Display Mode and Generation of Neighbouring Area:

  • It should always be possible to display the SENC in a “North Up” orientation. other orientations are permitted.
  • ECDIS should provide for true motion mode. Other modes are permitted.
  • When true motion mode is in use, reset and generation of the neighbouring area should take place automatically at a distance from the border of the display determined by the mariner

P. Colours and Symbols

  • IHO recommend colours and symbols should be used to represent SENC information
  • The colours and symbols other than those mentioned above should be those used to describe the navigational elements
  • SENC information when displayed at the scale specified in the ENC should use the specified size of symbols, figures and letters
  • ECDIS should allow the mariner to select whether own ship is displayed in true scale or as a symbol

Q. Display Requirements & Symbols: ECDIS must be capable of showing

  • Route planning and supplementary navigation tasks;
  • Route Monitoring
  • The effective size of the chart presentation for route monitoring should be at least 270 mm by 270 mm.

R. Provision and Updating Chart Information:

  • The chart information to be used in ECDIS should be the latest edition of that originated by a government-authorized hydrographic office and conform to IHO standards.
  • The contents of the SENC should be adequate and up-to-date for the intended voyage to comply with Regulation V/20 of the SOLAS 1974.
  • It should not be possible to alter the contents of the ENC. Updates should be stored separately from the ENC.

S. Display for other navigational information:

  • Radar information or other navigational information may be added to the ECDIS display. However, it should not degrade the SENC information and it should be clearly distinguishable from the SENC information.
  • ECDIS and added navigational information should use a common reference system. If this is not the case, an indication should be provided.

T. Route Planning, Monitoring and Voyage Recording:

  • It should be possible to carry out route planning and route monitoring in a simple and reliable manner including both straight and curved segments
  • It should be possible to adjust a planned route by, for example: Adding waypoints to a route, Deleting waypoints from a route, Changing the position of a waypoint, Changing the order of the waypoints in the route.
  • It should be possible to plan an alternate route in addition to the selected route. The selected route should be clearly distinguishable from the other.

U. Connections with other equipment:

  • ECDIS should not degrade the performance of any equipment providing sensor inputs. Nor should the connection of optional equipment degrade the performance of ECDIS below this standard.
  • ECDIS should be connected to systems providing continuous position fixing, heading and speed information.

V. Performance Tests, Malfunction Alarms and Indications:
– ECDIS should be provided with means for either automatically or manually carrying out on-board tests of major functions. In case of a failure, the test should display information to indicate which module is at fault.

W. Power Supply:
– It should be possible to operate ECDIS and all equipment necessary for its normal functioning when supplied by an emergency source of electrical power in accordance with the appropriate requirements of SOLAS Chp. II-1
– Changing from one source of power supply to another or any interruption of the supply for a period of up to 45 seconds should not require the equipment to be manually re-initialized.

Do you know the definition of ECDIS? What is ECDIS?

Difference Between Raster and Vector Charts


The basic difference between the raster chart and vector chart is the way they are rendered.

Raster Chart

Vector Chart

  •  Scanned Image: Raster Chart is the “photographic image” or scanned image of Paper Chart.
  • From Paper to Pixels: Vector Chart, also called ENC Chart is the Pixeled Image of paper chart
  • Being a scanned copy, these charts are one image and cannot be broken in parts 
  • ENC Charts has its own look on ECDIS Display and due to layering of information there is less cluttering.
  • As looks exactly like paper chart, Vector Charts get cluttered on ECDIS Display.
  • In Vector Charts each point is defined electronically.

Raster Charts takes a lot of memory on data storage. In MBs

Vector Charts takes less memory compared to Raster Charts. In KBs

Edit Information

User can add information, do plotting and all the work that he can do.

  • Interrogation for more information is not possible
  • Interrogation for more information is possible

In Raster Chart, the chart is available in one layer.

In ENCs, the charts are multi-layered. Total 11 layers are available for users to play with.

Image Credits: http://www.charts.gc.ca/
Image Credits: http://www.charts.gc.ca/
Integration with other equipment

Integration with other equipment like RADAR and ARPA Overlay, GPS Positioning on both Raster and Vector Chart is possible.


With approval from IMO, Raster Charts can only be used as back-up charts.

Vector Charts are being used on ECDIS

Display Customization
  • Being scanned copy of paper charts, Raster Charts cannot be customized. 
  • Presentation will always be North Up.
  • User sees all the data, elimination of any information is not possible.
  • Display is customizable.
  • Any presentation is possible.
  • User can hide unwanted information from display.

Nautical Publications required for Passage Planning along with their contents


Nautical Publications required for Passage Planning is required to be carried onboard ship as per the requirement of SOLAS Regulations 19, 21, 27 and Annex III


List of Nautical Publications required for Passage Planning are listed below:

  • Voyage Charts (Small Scale to Large Scale)
  • Local passage planning charts
  • ADMIRALTY Port Approach Guides
  • ADMIRALTY Maritime Security Charts 
  • Chart Catalogue (NP 131)
  • Admiralty Sailing Direction (Pilots)
  • Admiralty Tide Tables (NP 201- 208)
  • Admiralty List of Radio Signals
  • Admiralty List of Lights
  • Routeing Charts
  • Ocean Current Atlas
  • Tidal Stream Atlas
  • Weekly Notices to Mariners
  • Annual Summary of Admiralty Notices to Mariners ((NP 247))
  • Cumulative List of Admiralty Notices to Mariners (NP 234 A/B)
  • Merchant Shipping Notices (Check here)
  • Mariner’s Guidance Note
  • Mariner’s information Note
  • IMO Routeing Guide
  • Ocean Passage of the World
  • Mariner’s Hand Book (NP 100)
  • Nautical Almanac (Check Here)
  • International Code of Signals
  • Instruction and operating manuals for various Navigational Equipment
  • Distance Table
  • Symbols and Abbreviation used on Admiralty Charts (Chart 5011)
  • Ice charts.
  • Regional Climatology Atlases

Content of Nautical Publications required in Passage Planning:

Voyage Charts:-

  • Chart’s NO. with prefix (B A –British Admiralty )
  • Chart’s scale
  • Chart’s edition.
  • Depth of sea bottom at datum height.
  • Land feature.
  • IMO Adopted TSS
  • Area covered by charts (i.e. bottom margin and top margin in lat and long)

ADMIRALTY Port Approach Guides

  • Port Approach Guides are single, port-scale charts that contain a wide range of planning information for some of the world’s busiest approaches. Taken from existing ADMIRALTY charts and publications, this information can help to simplify a number of passage planning tasks and support Master Pilot Exchange (MPX).
  • Each Port Approach Guide displays a range of planning information for a specific approach. This additional planning information may include contact details and harbor regulations, Vessel Traffic Service (VTS) information, principal lights and landmarks, specific warnings, tide and climate information, anchorages and prohibited areas, dangerous cargo, pilotage, berth information, and port services.  Clearly displayed on one chart, this information can help to save bridge officer’s time during passage planning and Master Pilot Exchange (MPX). It can also help to make the planning of port navigation quicker and easier. 
  • Key features of Port Approach Guides include:
    • Planning information for individual ports including principal lights and landmarks, pilotage, and port-specific warnings. Displayed on one chart, this information can help users to simplify the planning of port entry and exit.​​
    • International Code of Signals (ICS) flags and QR codes to help bridge officers quickly identify warnings and current notices for specific ports, increasing situational awareness and supporting safe navigation.

Chart Catalogue (NP 131):

This publication has 10 parts:

  • The UK products and services;
  • Navigational charts;
  • Thematic Charts;
  • Navigational publications;
  • Digital products;
  • Miscellaneous products and services;
  • Leisure products;
  • Advertisers;
  • Numerical Index;
  • Price list;
  • Procedure for correction this volume;

Admiralty Sailing Directions

This Admiralty nautical publication is published in 72 volumes covering the whole ocean area. These volumes contain:

  • General information and local knowledge of the area;
  • Port facilities;
  • Navigational hazards regarding port entry;
  • Buoyage System;
  • Coast line views and chart information ;

Admiralty Tide Table

Published in seven volumes, covering the whole Ocean Area. It contains:

  • Daily prediction for the time and height of high water and low water;
  • Selection of standard ports.
  • Correction to standard ports information enabling daily prediction for secondary ports.
  • Graphs enabling an estimation of tide height at time in between high water and low water.
  • Also include some tidal stream prediction.

Admiralty List of Radio Signals

ALRS comes in SIX Volumes.


Admiralty List of Lights

  • Characteristics of all navigation lights and beacons
  • Position of the light
  • Name of the light
  • Height of the light from the charted datum.
  • Range and flashing characteristic of the light.

Routeing Charts

  • Ice information –maximum ice limit
  • Mean temperature guide
  • Prevailing wind rose
  • Recommended track and distances
  • Load line limits zone for the time of year
  • Ocean currents, predominant current direction ad speed in knots
  • Dew point and mean sea temperature
  • Percentage frequency of beau fort wind force of 7 and over, predominant TRS
  • Area of low pressure and high pressure
  • The scale of the chart
  • Iceberg limit and pack ice limit
  • Load line for Mediterranian sea, Suez channel, and black sea

Ocean Current Atlas

Ocean current may be considered more constant then tidal streams and many flows throughout the year with only small changes in direction and rate. Others may suffer seasonal changes when monsoon wind changes. The main example of these changes is the North Indian Ocean area at the change of southwest and northwest monsoon.

Tidal Stream Atlas/es

  • Diagrams showing major tidal streams of NW Europe.
  • Direction and rate of tidal streams.
  • Mean neap and spring tidal rates.
  • Horizontal water movement.

Weekly Notices to Mariners

Divided in SIX Sections:

  • Section I: Index to Section II together with Explanatory note
  • Section II: Notice for correction to charts .these includes all notices affecting navigational charts and listed consecutively from the onset of the year. The section also includes temporary (T) and preliminary (P) notices to the week. The list weekly notice of each month will also list the temporary and preliminary notices which are remaining current. Any new addition of the chart publication issued is listed in this section. Typical examples include- sailing direction or list of lights etc. latest edition of publications are listed at the end of March, June September, and December. Updates to standard navigation charts
  • Section III: Navigational warnings are reprinted in this section. All warnings which are in force are included in the first weekly notice of each year. Additionally, all long-range warnings issued during the week are included in this section and listed on a monthly basis. List of NAVAREAs, HYDROLANT, and HYDROPAC messages. Re-print of radio navigational warnings
  • Section IV: All correction affecting admiralty sailing direction which is published that week. A cumulative list of that correction in force is also published on a monthly basis. Amendment to admiralty sailing direction.
  • Section V: All correction required for the admiralty list of lights and fog signals. Mariners are advised that these corrections may not be coincident with any chart correcting information. Amendment to admiralty list of light and fog-signals.
  • Section VI: Correction to Admiralty List of Radio Signals are contained in this last section. Amendment to the list of Radio Signals.

Annual Summary of Admiralty Notices to Mariners (NP 247- 1 & 2)

  • T’s&P’s in force as of January 1st of every year
  • Chapter 1: Admiralty Tide Tables
  • Chapter 2: Suppliers of admiralty chars and publications
  • Chapter 3: Safety and British merchant ships in tension, crisis, conflict of war
  • Chapter 4: Distress and rescue at sea vessels and aircraft
    • Distress and safety communications.
    • Statutory duties of master of a vessel.
    • Vessel in distress.
    • Aircraft in distress
  • Chapter 5: Firing practice and exercise area
  • Chapter 6: Former marine danger area, cleared routes and instructions regarding explosives picked up at sea.
  • Chapter 7: UK and Russian federation agreement on the prevention of incidents at sea beyond territorial waters.
  • Chapter 8: Information concerning submarine
    • Warning Signals
    • Light shown when on the surface.
    • Sunken submarine procedure.
  • Chapter 9: Hydrographic information
  • Chapter 10: Minelaying and mine countermeasure exercises
  • Chapter 12 National claims to maritime jurisdiction
  • Chapter13 Worldwide navigational warning service and world meteorological
  • organization
  • Chapter 15: Under keel clearance allowance
  • Chapter 16: Protection of historic, dangerous, and military wreck site
  • Chapter 17: Traffic separation schemes
  • Chapter 17A: UK automatic ship identification and reporting system and automatic ship identification system
  • Chapter 18: Carriage of nautical charts and publication-regulation (International code of signals, The mariner handbook, MSN, MGN, and MIN, Annual summary notice to mariners, list of radio signals, list of lights, Sailing directions, nautical almanac, Tide table, tidal stream atlases.)
  • Chapter 19: Satellite navigation system position and charts accuracy
  • Chapter 20: Canadian charts and nautical publication regulation
  • Chapter 22: US Navigation safety regulations
  • Chapter 23: High-speed craft
  • Chapter 24: Submarine cable and pipeline
  • Chapter 25: Electronic navigational charts (Limitation of ENC )

Cumulative List of Admiralty Notices to Mariners (NP 234 A/B)

CNTMs (NP234 A/B) are issued in January and July of each year. These contain the list of all correction which are been issued since last three years and also the list of latest nautical publication. CNTMs contain:

  • Date of the latest edition of each admiralty charts
  • Numerical list of all admiralty notice to mariner numbers affecting a particular chart during the past two and half years.
  • Australian and New Zealand charts which are republished within the admiralty series receive the same treatment.

Merchant Shipping Notices (MSN)

  • MSNs are:
    • white in color.
    • used only to convey mandatory information that must be complied with under UK legislation.
    • related to statuary instruments and contain technical detail of regulation
    • numbered in sequence
    • continuous the sequence in use prior 11th march 1997 but with prefix MSN

Mariner’s Guidance Note (MGN)

  • MGNs are:
    • blue in color;
    • provide guidance and advice to relevant parties in order to improve the safety of shipping and life at sea and pollution prevention;
    • numbered in sequence from M G N – 1

Mariner’s Information Notes (MINs)

  • MINs:
    • are green in color;
    • provide information for a more limited audience/ readers e.g.:- training establishments, equipment manufacturers, or which will be used for a short period of time;
    • has a fixed cancellation date which usually 12 months after publication.
    • are numbered in sequence MIN– 1 and so on

IMO Routeing Guide

The purpose of ship routing is to improve the safety of navigation in the converging area and in area where the density of traffic is great or where freedom of movement of shipping is inhibited by restricted sea room, the existence of obstruction to
navigation, limited depth, or unfavorable meteorological conditions and information on traffic separation scheme (Adopted or Non-adopted). The contents are:

  • Definitions;
  • Routing System;
  • Traffic Separation Scheme;
  • Separation zone or line;
  • Traffic Lane;
  • Roundabouts;
  • Inshore Traffic Zone;
  • Two-way route;
  • Recommended route;
  • Recommended track;
  • Deepwater route

Ocean Passage of the World

Ocean routes to port to port around the world it has two parts and 10 chapters.

  • Part- 1: Chapters
    • Planning a passage
    • North Atlantic ocean
    • South Atlantic ocean
    • Caribbean sea and gulf of México
    • The Mediterranean Sea.
    • The Indian Ocean.
    • The Pacific Ocean and sea boarding it.
  • Part -2
    • Introductory remarks and the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean sea sailing rules.
    • The Indian Ocean, Red Sea, and eastern archipelago sailing routes.
    • Pacific ocean sailing rules
  • Table, gazetteer, and index
  • Table A– Beaufort wind scale
  • Table B– seasonal wind/monsoon table-west Pacific and the Indian Ocean.
  • Table C- tropical storm table.
  • Gazetteer
  • Index to general subjects and routes.

Mariner’s Handbook (NP 100)

Mariner’s Handbook has Nine chapters

  • Charts books, a system of name, International Hydrographic Organization, and the International Maritime Organization.
  • The use of charts and other navigational aids
  • Operational information and regulation.
  • The sea (tide, tidal stream, ocean currents, and waves.
  • Meteorology
  • Ice (sea ice, icebergs, ice glossary)
  • Operation in the polar region and where ice is prevalent
  • Observing and reporting
  • IALA maritime buoyage system
  • Annexes, glossary, and index

Nautical Almanac

  • Altitude correction table for sun, stars, and planets.
  • Additional refraction correction for non-standard condition
  • Title page, preface, etc
  • Phases of the moon
  • Calendars
  • Eclipses
  • Planet notes and diagram
  • Daily pages: ephemerides of sun, moon, Aries, and planets, sunrise, sunset, twilight, moonrise, moonset, etc
  • Explanation
  • Standard time
  • Star chart
  • Stars: SHA and Declination of 173stars in order of SHA accuracy 0.1
  • Polaris table (pole star)
  • Sight reduction procedure: direct computation
  • Concise sight reduction table
  • Form for use with concise sight reduction table
  • Conversion table of arc to time
  • Table of increments and correction for sun, planets, Aries, and Moon
  • Table for interpolating sunrise, sunset, twilights, moonrise, moonset, moon’s meridian passage
  • Index to selected stars
  • Altitude correction table for the moon.

What is ECDIS (Electronic Chart Display and Information System)?


As mentioned in Resolution A.817(19) of IMO, Performance Standards of ECDIS,
“Electronic chart display and information system (ECDIS) is a navigation information system which, with adequate back-up arrangements, can be accepted as complying with the up-to-date chart required by Regulation V/19 of the 1974 SOLAS Convention, by displaying selected information from a system electronic navigational chart (SENC) with positional information from navigation sensors to assist the mariner in route planning and route monitoring, and by displaying additional navigation-related information if required. “

In simple terms, ECDIS is a computer-based navigation system that complies with IMO Regulations and can be used as an alternative to paper navigation charts. By integrating a variety of real-time information, it is an automated decision aid capable of continuously determining a vessel’s position in relation to land, charted objects, navigation aids, and unseen hazards.

ECDIS Consists of:

  • Hardware
  • Software
  • Data

The HARDWARE of ECDIS is generally a computer with Graphics Capabilities, a higher performance PC or a graphics workstation installed in a console integrated/ linked with other items of ship’s equipment.
Thus, ECDIS obtains,

  • the course from Gyro Compass
  • The rate of turn from Rate of Turn Indicator
  • The speed through water from ship’s Speed Log

The key features are the links with the position sensors of the ship (transit satellite navigation system) and in particular with the GPS (Global Positioning System, a satellite-based positioning system), supplying via the NMEA interface a constant stream of highly precise position data (NMEA, National Marine Electronics Association; NMEA0183 Standard for Interfacing Marine Electronic Devices, data record), Even RADAR pictures can be superimposed, either as raw data from raster-scan radar, or as synthetic ARPA RADAR information.

The Hardware should be of type-approved and comply with the guidelines of the International Electro-technical Commission.

The SOFTWARE of ECDIS should be as per IMO Performance Standards (Res A817(19)). It consists of the User Interface and the so-called ECDIS Kernel, a software that makes it possible to read the data and display a chart. This software is also called “Function Library”. In addition to the chart picture, the user interface shows buttons and keys for handling the charts.

The Data:

ENC (Electronic Navigational Chart), there are two different types of electronic charts in use with ECDIS and all navigational officers and marine managers should be aware of their differences and limitations. These types are:

  • ENC Charts
  • Raster Charts

What is ENC Chart?

What is ECDIS-ENC Chart


Image Credits: http://www.charts.gc.ca/

ENC (Electronic Navigational Chart), also called ‘Vector Charts’. Vector Charts are layered with digital information that enables mariners to electronically interrogate features on the charts such as buoys, Navigational Marks, Traffic Separation Schemes (TSS), and Safety Contours with detailed information displayed for the user.
ENCs enable users to set different types of navigational Alarms to act as a warning to the mariner. These warnings are usually visuals as well as audible to give a clear indication of any dangers lay ahead. The navigational alarms include hazards such as shallow depths, shoals, and isolated dangers as well as minimum under-keel clearance, like an anti-grounding alarm, provided that the ship’s Echo Sounder is integrated with the ECDIS, draught details and alarms parameters specified.
Early warning alarm of approaching way-points, and alteration of the course points and Position-fixing reminders and changing electronic chart alarm can also be specified within the alarm parameters.
The ENCs provide mariners with a clear display of the navigational situation without distorting the chart display while reducing the chart scale. ENCs must conform to IHO S-57 Standards.

What is a Raster Chart?



Image Credits: http://www.charts.gc.ca/

These are the charts that are produced by converting paper charts to digital images by using scanners. These images are similar to digital camera pictures, which could be zoomed in for more detailed information as it does in ENCs. IHO Publication S-61 provides guidelines for the production of raster data IMO Resolution MSC.86(70) permits ECDIS equipment to operate in Raster Chart Display System (RCDS) mode in the absence of ENC.

The IHO has issued a circular warning that ECDIS may not display some isolated shoal depths when operating id ‘base’ or ‘standard display’ mode. As a result, passage planning and monitoring alarms may not always be activated when approaching such dangers and may result in grounding.
Mariners must ensure that their ECDIS display has been set-up properly to the circumstances and conditions so that it includes all information necessary for safe navigation. ECDIS display modes that are set-up in ‘base’ display mode may remove vital information.

Advantages of ECDIS over Paper Charts:

  • Real-time Navigation and Continuous Monitoring: Gives the actual position of the ship, which increases situational awareness. Paper Chart gives the ship’s position only when you plot it. Imagine plotting positions on Paper Charts while in Canakkale Strait or Singapore Strait.
  • Easy to Update: You might remember when the ship gets alongside at the port and ship’s agent comes with a bundle of NTM’s and Navigating Officer used to update the Charts and Publications. Hectic, isn’t it? That all is past now. With ECDIS, the Navigating Officer receives weekly updates via Email which he downloads and uploads them to the ECDIS. Even the T&P notices can be updated electronically on the ECDIS.
  • Availability of Charts: Ship’s Agent used to come on-board not only with NTMs but charts for the next voyage, if it is a new voyage and charts are not present on-board, and if not then start the voyage without some of the voyage charts as they were provided during the voyage. With ECDIS, Navigating Officer just requests the charts not programmed in system and upload them after receiving, with latest updates.
  • All-in-One Information: Integration of all the navigation equipment in ECDIS, gives you all the required information on ECDIS Display. GPS position, Depth, Draught, information of targeted vessels, etc. are all available at one glance.
  • Enhances Search and Rescue Capabilities: With integration on NAVTEX, GPS, and EGC, ECDIS can all types of warnings and alerts can be displayed on ECDIS Screen.

Over-reliance on ECDIS when using ENC data may prove dangerous when inadequate training and familiarization has been given. Unfamiliarity with the ENC data and ECDIS functionality may cause operator error.

[ninja_tables id="1133"]

Now you know what ECDIS means then also check the IMO Performance Standards for ECDIS.

Liferafts: SOLAS Requirements: Carriage Requirements, Construction, Equipment, Markings


Carriage Requirements (SOLAS Chp III, Part B/ Reg 31)

For Cargo Ships:

  • Every Cargo Ship shall carry number of inflatable or rigid liferafts which can accomodate total number of persons on board, ON BOTH SIDES of the ship, complying with the requirements of LSA Code and of a mass of less than 185 kg and stowed in a position providing for easy side-to- side transfer at a single open deck level, in addition to totally enclosed lifeboats.
  • The liferafts on at least one side of the ship shall be served by launching appliances.

For Cargo Ships of less than 85 m in length other than oil tankers, chemical tankers and gas carriers:

  • Shall carry on each side of the ship one or more inflatable or rigid liferafts to accommodate the total number of persons on board
  • If the mass of the liferaft carried on board is more than 185 kg, then additional liferafts shall be provided so that the total capacity available on each side will accommodate 150% of the total number of persons on board.
  • if the rescue boat required on such ship is also a is also a totally enclosed lifeboat and can accomodate the total capacity of persons on board, provided that the total capacity available on either side of the ship is at least 150% of the total number of persons on board
  • if the rescue boat required on such ship is also a is also a totally enclosed lifeboat and can accomodate the total capacity of persons on board, provided that the total capacity available on either side of the ship is at least 150% of the total number of persons on board

For Cargo Ships where the horizontal distance from the extreme end of the forward or aft of the ship to the nearest end of the closest Lifeboat is more than 100 m shall carry, in addition to the liferafts required mentioned above, a liferaft stowed as far forward or aft, or one as far forward and another as far aft, as is reasonable and practicable. Such liferaft(s) may be securely fastened so as to permit manual release and need not be of the type which can be launched from an approved launching device. (SOLAS Chp III/ Reg 31.1.4)

Construction (Reg 4.1.1 of LSA Code, Chp IV):

  • should be capable of withstanding exposure for 30 days afloat in all sea condition.
  • Drop test for liferaft and its equipment is 18 meters. If the height of stowage is more than it should be tested accordingly.
  • Liferaft should be able to withstand repeated jumps from 4.5 meters above its floor with or without canopy.
  • Liferaft and its fittings should be able to be towed at a speed of three knots with its full equipment, complement of persons and one anchor streaming.
  • Canopy of the liferaft should be able to provide insulation and protection against heat and cold by two layers of material separated by air gap.
  • Interior should be non-discomforting colour.
  • Should be able to admit sufficient air for breathing.
  • Should have at least one viewing port.
  • Should have means to collect rainwater.
  • Should have means to mount a radar transponder at least one meter above sea water level.
  • Should have sufficient headroom for all occupants.
  • Should be able to carry at least SIX occupants.
  • Maximum weight of the container along with its equipment should be 185 kgs.
  • Fittings: Lifelines shall be securely becketed around the inside and outside of the liferaft.
  • Painter Line: Painter’s length should be minimum 10 meters plus the distance from the stowed position to the water line or 15 meters whichever is greater.
  • Lights:
    • Exterior Light:
      • A manually operated all- round white light.
      • Duration: At least 12 hours
      • Luminous Intensity: 4.3 cd in all directions of the upper hemisphere
      • Flashing: at a rate of not less than 50 flashes and not more than 70 flashes per minute for the 12 h operating period
      • Batteries: shall be of a type that does not deteriorate due to dampness or humidity in stowed liferaft
    • Interior Light:
      • A manually operated all- round white light.
      • shall be able to light automatically when canopy is erected
      • Duration: At least 12 hours
      • Luminous Intensity: not less than 0.5 cd when measured over the entire upper hemisphere to permit reading of survival and equipment instructions.
      • Batteries:shall be of a type that does not deteriorate due to dampness or humidity in stowed liferaft.

Liferaft Equipment

Markings on Liferaft Container:

  • Manufacturer’s Name/ Trademark
  • Serial Number
  • Name of Authority
  • Capacity
  • Type of Emergency Pack enclosed (SOLAS Pack A or Pack B)
  • Date of Last Service
  • Length of Painter
  • Maximum height of stowage
  • Launching Instructions

Markings on Inflatable Liferaft:

  • Manufacturer’s Name/ Trade Mark
  • Serial Number
  • Date of Manufacturing
  • Name of Approving Authority
  • Name and Place of Last Service
  • Number of persons permitted
  • Minimum character height of 100 mm

Preparing Vessel for a Cargo Ship Safety Equipment Survey

  • Inspect all the lifeboat stores and equipment. Check the expiry dates for food rations, first aid kit, anti-sickness tablets, etc.
  • Inspect the lifeboat/ rescue boat, pay particular attention to the buoyancy material and check that the bottom boards and thwarts are not cracked, repaint the ship’s name and port of registry if required.
  • When the boats are in water run any lifeboat engines both ahead and astern, for resetting of the on-load release mechanism to be strictly adhered to.
  • Check that the inflatable liferafts have been serviced within the last 12 months if HRU is a mechanical type the same has to be serviced annually if servicing not carried out annually due to valid reason then dispensation form from the flag state to be obtained.
  • Lubricate and grease all moving parts, davits, winches and blocks and lifeboat falls.
  • Inspect the survival crafts launching procedures are ship specific and are posted under emergency lighting.
  • Inspect the lifebuoys especially the self-igniting lights and check that they are correctly located as per plan.
  • Make sure all the life saving and fire fighting appliances are placed as per their respective plans.
  • Examine the lifejackets for any damage and their lifejacket lights for properly working and they are properly distributed.
  • Update all the records regarding LSA and FFA including PMS and Maintenance Records.
  • All stenciling, instruction pertaining to LSA/ FFA to be proper.
  • Check Pyrotechnics for expiry dates.
  • Test the emergency lighting system.
  • Check fire control plans are posted and still legible.
  • Test the fire and/or smoke detection system.
  • Check fire hoses, nozzles and their applicators are in good condition.
  • Check the fire line and fire hydrants, rectify the leakages if any, check isolation valves for the fire line.
  • Check Immersion Suits and Thermal Protective Aids (TPA)
  • Check the conditions of portable fire extinguishers and fixed fire fighting system.
  • Check spare charges of portable fire extinguishers.
  • Check all the items of Fireman’s Outfit and recharge the compressed Breathing Apparatus.
  • Check EEBD for its good condition.
  • Navigational Equipment are also surveyed under the Ship Safety Equipment Survey, make sure that all the equipment are working and are in good condition including Navigational Shapes.
  • Check the Training Manual, the same to be ship-specific.
  • Check the fire safety operational booklet, the same to be ship-specific.
  • Check for all the IMO Symbols, replace if required.
  • Try out the manual sprinkler system for the paint locker and in accommodation if it’s fitted there.
  • Check the International Shore Coupling.
  • Inspect the Pilot Ladder and rectify the defect if any.
  • Overhaul any applicable closing arrangement for ventilators, skylights, doors, etc.
  • Check Retro-reflective tape for various appliances and renew if required.
  • Logbook entries, checklists, and documentation to be up to date, drills to be carried as per Safety Management System.
  • Check all relevant certificates are available on-board and valid.
  • Carry out checks are per Form-E of SEQ Certificate and also as per the Records of Safety Equipment, any checklist for such surveys should be referred.

Contents of Bridge Procedure Guide (Contents of BPG), updated


Introduction to Bridge Procedure Guide

  • Bridge Procedures Guide was published by International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) in 1977, the intention behind the ICS has been to reflect current best navigational practice on commercial ships, operating in all sectors and trades.
  • The Bridge Procedures Guide is generally acknowledged as the principal industry advice on safe bridge procedures.
  • Bridge Procedures Guide aims to reflect best practice a board merchant ships embracing standards and recommendations promoted by the IMO. This includes the concept of continuous improvement as described in the ISM code and the watchkeeping requirements of STCW Chp VIII.
  • Consequently it is used as a reference publication by Masters, watchkeeping officers, shipping companies, training institutions and accident investigators worldwide. The target audience for this Guide remains, first and foremost, Masters and officers in charge of a navigational watch at sea.
  • Keeping the Bridge Procedures Guide up to date and relevant is a major responsibility, and an important example of the work which ICS undertakes on behalf of the international shipping industry.
  • Technological and regulatory developments can contribute to making keeping a safe watch a complex and increasingly challenging responsibility.
  • The purpose of the Guide therefore is to provide clear guidance on best practice approaches to watchkeeping that make safe and effective use of modern technology.
  • The latest fifth edition of BPG continues to embrace internationally agreed standards and recommendations adopted by the IMO.
  • BPG also includes extensive checklists for use by Masters and those officers responsible for developing ship specific checklists for bridge procedures. A new feature of this edition is the increased use of diagrams and highlighted text emphasising key points.
  • The 2010 amendments to the STCW Convention have introduced inter alia enhanced Bridge Resource Management training for all officers in charge of a navigational watch, and stricter minimum rest hour requirements. This was a direct response to the recognition by regulators and accident investigators of the importance of the human element in ship safety.
  • New equipment and technology underlines the need for familiarisation with ship specific arrangements.
  • In addition to contributing to maritime safety, efficient and well planned sea passages are necessary for the economic health of the shipping industry. Together with new environmental requirements, including rules to reduce air emissions, there are additional pressures to ensure effective passage planning and efficient execution.
  • The Guide continues to stress the importance of effective bridge procedures to support the conduct of safe navigation, efficient ship operations and the prevention of pollution.
  • Good practice on the bridge is the result of clear operational requirements established in the ship’s Safety Management System and the Master’s Standing Orders, effective management of trained and familiarised bridge personnel, and a thoroughly prepared passage plan on which the Bridge Team has been fully briefed.

Contents of Bridge Procedure Guide

Part A: Guidance for Masters and Watch-keeping Officers

  • Bridge Organisation
    • General
    • Passage Plan
    • Safety System – Maintenance and Training
  • Passage Planning
    • Responsibility for Passage Planning
    • Pilotage and Passage Planning
    • Notes on Passage Planning
    • Parallel Index Plotting
  • Duties Of The Officer On Watch
    • General
    • Keeping a Good Watch
    • Main Engines
    • Changing Over the Watch
    • Periodic Checks of Navigational Equipment
    • Helmsman/ Autopilot
    • Navigation in Coastal Waters
    • Restricted Visibility
    • Calling the Master
    • Navigation With Pilot Embarked
    • Watch-keeping Personnel
    • Search and Rescue
    • Helicopter Operations
    • Log Books
    • Bridge and Emergency Checklists
    • Ship at Anchor
    • Ships Draft and Manoeuvering Information
    • Bridge Located Systems/ Systems Controls/ Monitoring And Operations
  • Operation And Maintenance Of Navigational Equipment
    • General
    • Radar and ARPA
    • Steering Gear and Autopilot
    • Gyro and Magnetic Compasses
    • Chronometres
    • Echo Sounders
    • Speed and Distance Recorders
    • Electronic Position Fixing Aids
    • Direction Finders
    • Hydrographic Publications
    • Emergency Navigational Lights and Signal Equipment
    • Radiotelephone
    • Ship Radio Reporting Systems and Requirements

Part B: Bridge Checklists

  • Familiarisation with Bridge Equipment
  • Daily Tests and Checks
  • Preparation for Sea
  • Embarkation/ Disembarkation of Pilot
  • Master/ Pilot Information Exchange
  • Navigation, Deep-Sea
  • Navigation, Coastal Waters / Traffic Separation Schemes
  • Changing Over the Watch
  • Preparation for Arrival in Port
  • Anchoring and Anchor Watch
  • Restricted Visibility
  • Navigating In Heavy Weather or In Tropical Storm Areas
  • Navigating In Ice

Part C: Emergency Checklists

  • Main Engine Failure
  • Steering Failure
  • Gyro Failure/ Compass Failure
  • Bridge Control/ Telegraph Failure
  • Imminent Collision/ Collision
  • Stranding
  • Fire
  • Flooding
  • Boat/ Liferaft Stations
  • Man over Board
  • Search and Rescue


Bridge Procedure Guide, Fifth Edition, 2016; Download Here

List of Liferaft Equipment


List of equipment to carry on Liferaft (Liferaft Equipment) are as follows:

As per Reg 4.1.5 of Chp IV of LSA Code every liferaft equipment shall consist of:

  • Rescue Quoits with minimum 30 metes lines
  • 1 non-folding knife with buoyant handle, if 12 persons or less, and a second knife if 13 persons or more,
  • 1 Bailer of 12 persons or less, 2 Bailers for 13 persons or more
  • 2 sponges
  • 2 Sea Anchor
  • 2 Buoyant Paddles
  • 3 Tin Openers
  • 1 Scissors
  • 1 First Aid Kit with Waterproof Box
  • 1 Whistle
  • 6 Handheld Flares
  • 4 Rockets
  • 2 Smoke Signals
  • 1 Waterproof Torch for Morse with one set of spare batteries and bulb
  • 1 RADAR Reflector
  • 1 Daylight Signalling Mirror
  • 1 Lifesaving Saving Signal Waterproof Card
  • 1 Fishing Tackle
  • Food Ration with minimum 10,000 kJ per person
  • 1.5 liters of water per person
  • 1 Rustproof Graduated Drinking Vessel
  • Anti-seasickness tablets sufficient for everyone for 48 hours
  • 1 Sea-sickness Bag per person
  • TPA for 10% of capacity or 2, whichever is greater
  • Survival Booklet

Above mentioned equipment vary depending on the area the ship is sailing. To know more go to Difference between SOLAS Pack A and Pack B