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19 May 2016

S-52 ECDIS Standard: key considerations & the latest requirements

​Tom Mellor, Chair of the IHO ENC Working Group and Head of OEM Support and Digital Standards at the UKHO, looks at the progress made by ECDIS manufacturers in meeting the IHO’s S-52 Standards and what needs to be done by ship owners to ensure they benefit from the latest presentation library.


The transition to the new ECDIS Standards is definitely gathering pace. I have just taken delivery of another ECDIS for the UKHO’s ECDIS suite and continue to work with manufacturers to ensure users experience the full benefit of the new IHO S-52 Presentation Library edition 4.0. It is encouraging to see such positive progress with ECDIS manufacturers working hard to secure type-approval for their ECDIS software.

As highlighted in my previous blog, this change will bring some significant benefits to the mariner including greater consistency in the display of Electronic Nautical Charts (ENCs) and a reduction in the number of audible alarms. However, there are some other key considerations for ship owners.


What are the key considerations for ship owners?

Naturally, ship owners will have plenty of questions about the new ECDIS Standards. One recurring question is whether there are any compatibility issues between newly produced ENCs and the current Presentation Library edition 3.4. Owners need not be concerned about this, as ENCs themselves are unchanged. The upgrade applies to the Presentation Library, which governs how the ENC data is displayed on the ECDIS screen, not the data itself.

Also the recent announcement of a 12-month extension to the transition period for owners to switch to the new Presentation Library will be welcomed by shipping companies. However, the upgrade requirements will vary from ship to ship, so we continue to encourage every owner to speak to their ECDIS manufacturer now in order to ensure a smooth switchover and to take advantage of the new ECDIS Standards at the earliest opportunity, rather than waiting until the new deadline of 31 August 2017.


How the UKHO can help

The UKHO’s free seminars on ‘Implementing ECDIS’ and ‘Living with ECDIS’, are designed to ensure the navigational benefits of ECDIS are achieved in an efficient and compliant manner. There will be a number of these seminars held at the Posidonia Exhibition in Greece next month. The morning seminar, “Implementing ECDIS” is for those currently still adopting and implementing ECDIS, whilst the afternoon seminar, “Living with ECDIS” is for those who are already operating with ECDIS and wish to be kept informed of new developments such as the latest Presentation Library. Both will give you an opportunity to ask UKHO and independent experts, questions about ECDIS implementation and management, including the latest changes brought through by the IHO. We will also be holding further seminars at locations around the world. They are all free to attend and places can be booked online. We hope to see you there.


> Find out more about the UKHO’s ECDIS Seminars and book your place at our Posidonia seminars

> Find out more about the ADMIRALTY Vector Chart Service (AVCS)

> Read Tom Mellor’s blog on the benefits the new S-52 Standards bring to the mariner