Most of the ships engaged in international voyages and subject to the SOLAS Chapter V Regulation 19.2, are already ECDIS-compliant, theoretically. This means the hard work begins with the installation of ECDIS and does not end with it.
In order to make an impact and increase the safety of navigation, every shipowner should choose an ENC distributor, as well as update their SMS in the use of ECDIS. Even more importantly, emergency procedures need to be taken for possible ECDIS failure. Additionally, proper training of the onboard crew is crucial, along with familiarisation and a 24/7 support system. Moreover, deck officers should be assessed on a regular basis on how they operate the system on board and be provided with proper guidance.
When it comes to professional training and assessment, Safebridge helps shipowners in this very important process.
ECDIS – OPERATION AND PROPER TRAINING
Prof. Ralph Becker-Heins, owner of Safebridge, states in his book ECDIS Basics, A Guide to the Operational Use of Electronic Chart Display and Information Systems, that “the latest amendments of the STCW-Code, the Manila Amendments 2010, require competence, knowledge, understanding and proficiency in navigation using ECDIS”. Additionally, the code “enables modern training methodology including distance learning and web-based learning”.
MANUFACTURER-APPROVED ECDIS TRAINING COURSES PRODUCED BY SAFEBRIDGE
Mr. Razvan Braghesiu, MNI, Content Manager at Safebridge, explains the importance of ECDIS training courses developed by the company, which are manufacturer-approved, a very vital characteristic of their high quality. The course content is designed to reflect real-life use of ECDIS on board. He notes: “We are trying to cover as much as possible the gap between ‘how we think ECDIS is used’ versus ‘how ECDIS is actually used’.”
One supplementary functionality of Safebridge’s courses is the “FreePlay” mode, which means the seafarer can access and play with the ECDIS software, gaining valuable hands-on experience before boarding the ship. Moreover, everything is online, therefore quite easy to access by seafarers around the world.
EXPERIENCE AND SPECIALISED KNOWLEDGE PRODUCES HIGH QUALITY ECDIS TRAINING COURSES
“Safebridge’s Content/Course Development team consists of experienced deck officers, e-learning developers and multimedia developers”, according to Mr. Braghesiu.
He continues: “The aim is that every seafarer will understand every feature and functionality of the specific ECDIS. We are focused on covering the how (how to access a specific function or how to set up the equipment) and also the why (why is it important to do so).” These come in combination with real-life scenarios which are implemented often, facilitating the learning process once on board.
Additionally, when it comes to assessing if the training given ashore is followed up at sea, Safebridge offers a range of solutions helping shipowners and third parties to close this loop.
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