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ECDIS – Are you confused by the different options available?

Posted on 26th December 2016

We have put together a list of our top 10 ECDIS questions to help you understand what is available on the market today.

Is there more than one way to buy? 

You don’t always have to spend a large chunk of your capital budget on ECDIS. Rental options are available, which will allow you to use your operational budget instead. Choosing a system that has an option to lease can be an attractive alternative and offer various benefits. It is useful to ask if your supplier offers a ‘Buy now pay later’ option. 

Can you see and use the software before you make your decision? 

Some ECDIS software is easy to use and others require more in-depth training. Having a detailed demonstration of the software, or time to familiarise yourself with the software can be highly beneficial before making a decision.

Does the ECDIS comply with the latest regulations? 

Regulations are known to change and be updated. Are you sure the ECDIS you are looking at meets the current legislation and are you confident that you will be 100% compliant when the system is installed? Click here to read more about the latest regulations.

Are there any ongoing maintenance costs? 

Some ECDIS systems have no moving parts due to the fact that they use a solid state hard drive and contain a fanless motor. No moving parts mean no ongoing maintenance COSTS. This can save you a lot of money each year and reduce the LIFETIME cost of the system. Some systems are made using standard computer parts which lack the durability required on a vessel. Moving parts are known to break easily and have to be replaced regularly. It’s useful to ask your supplier to prepare you for the replacement costs if this is the case.

Will the hardware stand up to the harsh marine environment? 

ECDIS is a computer at the end of the day and some systems are not built to withstand the harsh conditions out at sea. Good questions to ask are:

  • How rugged is the hardware and was it built using military grade materials/specifications?
  • Is the screen glare proof and can you see it during bright daylight?

Can the ECDIS system be installed anywhere on the bridge? 

In our experience a lot of ships don’t have a lot of free space on the bridge to install large ECDIS equipment. Has your supplier looked at the space available and advised accordingly? Some ECDIS mounting systems can be customised to fit in any space so this should be taken into consideration before making a decision. It’s useful to know that some suppliers offer a free vessel survey!

Is the ECDIS system locked as an ‘ECDIS ONLY’ system? 

Some systems on the market allow other applications to be installed which can distract crewmembers whereas others as locked to eliminate this risk.

Does your ECDIS supplier offer the full solution and package flexibility?  

One size doesn’t fit everyone when reviewing ECDIS options! Ask your supplier if they will provide consultancy, training, installation, charts and servicing? Are you confident that once your ECDIS system is installed your crew will receive the best quality training and 27/7 support? This is an important factor to consider as you will want to get the most out of your ECDIS system. The penalties for non-compliance are not to be taken lightly!

Are there flexible training options? 

There are different training options available such as onshore, offshore, web and Computer Based Training (CBT). You need to make sure that your training provider meets the IMO standards.

Can your ECDIS supplier also advise and support you with your procurement of electronic charts? 

It’s a good idea to ask about electronic chart provision and options to ensure you can always sail, comfortable in the knowledge that you are fully compliant. Charts don’t have to cost a fortune and there lots of different options available. Make sure you only pay for what you want and what you need.

If you would like to talk to one of our ECIDS consultants about your requirements please get in touch. We have lots of experience advising companies as well as providing flexible and end-to-end solutions.

Click here to find out more information on iECDIS and receive a free iPlan ECDIS project implementation plan when you enquire using the online form.