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Presence in marine simulator training and research .......................................... 5
Simulator based training (SBT) and quality assurance .................................... 10
The use of marine simulators in developing the concepts and technology of
e-navigation .................................................................................................... 18
The IBS as part of the bridge team ................................................................. 27
Research on standardization of marine simulator training and assessment ...... 32
Effective simulator training in preparation for icebreaking operations and ice
management assessment ................................................................................. 38
BRM course for deck cadets of maritime institutions ..................................... 46
Navigation simulators role in maritime english teaching ............................... 52
Assessing competence in ECDIS navigation .................................................. 60
How does the use of marine navigation simulators vary in the training and
examination of ship masters, globally? ........................................................... 76
Simulation training of boat handling: Contributions of problem solving style,

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Christian Hempstead (U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, USA)
Abstract: The STCW training requirements for ECDIS adopted in 2010 intend that watch-
standers are prepared to navigate safely while applying ECDIS. The commonplace static re-
view of ECDIS principles and functions must now include some measures of mastery in
adapting the ECDIS to dynamic contexts. This means that the training must occur predomi-
nantly in an underway environment. Through navigation simulation, the most effective
training can be accomplished on type-approved ECDIS embedded in ownship functionality.
Ideally, the training environment would include several semi-isolated integrated visual own-
ships for solo navigation using ECDIS. Each trainee should be able to practice many aspects
of navigation with ECDIS. The development of the necessary skills should then be similarly
assessed. Proof that the skillful use of ECDIS can enhance the safety of navigation requires a
solo environment and simulation exercises designed to require ECDIS-based solutions. The
fundamental rule must be stated in the negative: Any unsafe navigational event might have
been avoided through a more effective use of ECDIS. Groundings, allisions, collisions or
even near misses should by definition invalidate otherwise satisfactory skill assessments. In
this paper it is suggested that evaluation of ECDIS navigation follows a competency-based
matrix consisting of a quality scale of 1 to 3 for approximately 50 specific skill sets. These
skill sets are organized into task groups, and are closely aligned with the new KUP and
evaluation criteria listed in STCW-2010 Tables A-II/1 and A-II/2. Scoring is tallied accord-
ing to the task groups with the application of weighted averages as a method for recognizing
the higher degree of relevance of certain task groups in ECDIS navigation.
Above all, the new competence of ECDIS in
STCW-2010 is succinctly stated: Use of ECDIS
to maintain the safety of navigation. This not
only aligns ECDIS with other navigational aids
included in STCW, but it also places ECDIS qua-
lification in the service of navigation. For this to
be the outcome, the training scheme and methods
of assessing that qualification must take the same
approach, namely, in the service of navigational
safety. It must be stated at the outset that ECDIS
by its very nature is a centralizing instrument with
the unique function of integrating many aspects of
navigation. To learn ECDIS outside the context on
such integration and outside the context of un-
derway navigation is to risk developing a very
unwelcome competence in what should be called

This paper will attempt to demonstrate an effec-
tive method of training and assessing ECDIS
competence that is closely aligned with the detail
and intent of STCW-2010. To accomplish this, the

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new STCW language is provided, since it is likely
to be unfamiliar at this early date in the probable
scheme of implementation (2012 through 2017 is
generally expected). This is followed by a brief
description of the form and function of an ECDIS
navigation simulation arrangement optimally
suited to accomplish these requirements. Then a
sequence of underway exercises will be presented
in order to illustrate the central theme of training
in navigation with ECDIS. In connection with the
exercise examples, specific tasks of ECDIS navi-
gation are identified within a set of ten task groups.
A matrix of ECDIS-related tasks in the same
groups is then presented in order to streamline the
effort of assessing the application of skills in EC-
DIS navigation. The matrix also provides a means
of guidance for the training process, as well as a
means of adjusting the weight or relative impor-
tance for task groups depending on the desired
emphasis of the training outcome. As a culmina-
tion of the scoring, a method is provided to apply
the weighted averages of the task groups into a
tally that represents the achieved skills in ECDIS
navigation with reliability and validity.

It should be noted also at the outset that, despite
the commonplace use of rubrics and matrices for
scoring demonstrated competencies across a broad
spectrum of training and educational disciplines,
this method is not yet being applied in ECDIS
navigation training, to the best of the authors
knowledge. The discussion in this paper about
ECDIS simulator standards, ECDIS navigation
exercises, the task groups, competency matrix,
and scoring method are all derived from the au-
thors own experience over the last decade in EC-
DIS course development and training, and espe-
cially through several years of implementing vis-
ual solo navigation training labs specifically for
ECDIS navigation at the U.S. Merchant Marine
Academy in Kings Point, New York [2]. The au-
thor also had significant input into the language
initially and eventually written into the ECDIS
section of the Comprehensive Review of the
STCW Code [1][5].

The STCW-2010 training requirements for
ECDIS on vessels subject to SOLAS are signifi-
cantly different from the previous Code. First, the
new competence is succinctly stated: Use of
ECDIS to maintain the safety of navigation.
Second, there are distinct and appropriate differ-
ence in requirements under the Functions of Na-
vigation at the Operational Level (Table A-II/1)
and Navigation at the Management Level (Table
A-II/2). New ECDIS training requirements also
apply to navigational watch officers and masters
on ships < 500GT through Table A-II/3, but the
description of KUP is limited to Thorough
knowledge of and ability to use ECDIS. Third,
there is specific detail provided in both KUP
(Knowledge, understanding and proficiency) and
Criteria (Criteria for evaluating competence) cat-
egories. Fourth, the requirements apply in all three
Tables to STCW-endorsed seafarers who serve on
ships fitted with ECDIS [1]. (As of this writing,
the Manila Conference of June 2010 has not yet
occurred, so final documents are not available, nor
are dates that the requirements will enter into

The new STCW ECDIS training requirements
are reproduced below, and will be referenced and
discussed in the subsequent sections of this paper.
1.1. Table A-II/1: Navigation using ECDIS
Knowledge, understanding and proficiency
Knowledge of the capability and limitations of
ECDIS operations including:
.1 a thorough understanding of Electronic Na-
vigational Chart (ENC) data, data accuracy, pres-

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entation rules, display options and other chart data
.2 the dangers of over reliance
.3 familiarity with the functions of ECDIS re-
quired by performance standards in force

Proficiency in operation, interpretation, and
analysis of information obtained from ECDIS,
.1 use of functions that are integrated with other
navigation systems in various installations, in-
cluding proper functioning and adjustment to de-
sired settings
.2 safe monitoring and adjustment of informa-
tion including own position, sea area display,
mode and orientation, chart data displayed, route
monitoring, user-created information layers, con-
tacts (when interfaced with AIS and/or radar
tracking) and radar overlay functions (when inter-
.3 confirmation of vessel position by alternate
.4 efficient use of settings to ensure confor-
mance to operational procedures, including alarm
parameters for anti-grounding, proximity to con-
tacts and special areas, completeness of chart data
and chart update status, and backup arrangements
.5 adjustment of settings and values to suit the
present conditions
.6 situational awareness while using ECDIS in-
cluding safe water and proximity of hazards, set
and drift, chart data and scale selection, suitability
of route, contact detection and management, and
integrity of sensors

Criteria for evaluating competence
Monitors information on ECDIS in a manner
that contributes to safe navigation

Information obtained from ECDIS (including
radar overlay and/or radar tracking functions,
when fitted) is correctly interpreted and analyzed
taking into account the limitations of the equip-
ment, all connected sensors (including radar and
AIS where interfaced), and prevailing circums-
tances and conditions

Safety of navigation is maintained through ad-
justments made to the ships course and speed
through ECDIS-controlled track keeping functions
(when fitted)

Communication is clear, concise and acknowl-
edged at all times in a seamanlike manner

1.2. Table A-II/2: Navigation using ECDIS
Knowledge, understanding and proficiency
Management of operational procedures, system
files and data, including:
.1 manage procurement, licensing and updating
of chart data and system software to conform to
established procedures
.2 system and information updating including
the ability to update ECDIS system version in
accordance with vendors product development
.3 create and maintain system configuration and
backup files
.4 create and maintain log files in accordance
with established procedures
.5 create and maintain route plan files in accor-
dance with established procedures
.6 use ECDIS logbook and track history func-
tions for inspection of system functions, alarm
settings and user responses
.7 use ECDIS playback functionality for pas-
sage review, route planning and review of system

Criteria for evaluating competence
Operational procedures for using ECDIS are
established, applied, and monitored
Actions taken to minimize risk to safety of na-

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1.3. Commentary on baseline competency
The intent and specific criteria of the revised
STCW Code on ECDIS is plain to see. Any Offic-
er in Charge of a Navigational Watch (OIC) must
be able to monitor information on ECDIS in a
manner that contributes to safe navigation, while
any Chief Mate or Master must be able to also
establish, apply and monitor operation procedures
for using ECDIS.

Where these skills are acquired and assessed
using approved ECDIS simulator training, the
simulator and the associated ECDIS course of
instruction must be able to produce a navigational
environment where unsafe events will occur when
ECDIS information is incorrectly monitored and
when ECDIS operating procedures are inade-
quately applied.

In other words, it is the unsafe navigational
events in a given scenario, where preventable by
proper operation of ECDIS, which should deter-
mine the baseline competency. Interwoven with
this is the opportunity to practice and apply the
very many specific ECDIS functions that add up
to proper operation, and which will help avoid
distraction by ECDIS through complete familiari-

The methods for demonstrating this competence
require either underway experience or ECDIS
simulator training. The existing IMO Model
Course 1.27 is long overdue for revision for its
lack of specifying simulation standards, its lack of
formalizing competency standards, and its lack of
specific learning goals for time allotted to practic-
al exercises [3].

Any proposed revision should establish the high
importance of replicating that underway naviga-
tional experience with ECDIS in simulator train-
ing. It is fair to state that ECDIS simulator train-
ing that does not meet the "underway standard"
cannot possibly satisfy the letter or intent of the
revised STCW Code.

2.1. Simulation in STCW
As given under Section A-I/12, Standards go-
verning the use of simulators, the STCW-95
Code requires that any simulator used for manda-
tory simulator-based training "be capable of si-
mulating the operating capabilities of shipboard
equipment concerned, to a level of physical real-
ism appropriate to training objectives and assess-
ment objectives." The content of this section of
the Code has not been altered from STCW-95 in
the comprehensive review of 2010 [4].

As given under Section B-I/12, Guidance re-
garding the use of simulators, performance stan-
dards for non-mandatory simulation equipment
used for training and/or assessment of competence
or demonstration of skills in navigation and
watchkeeping and in ship handling and maneu-
vering should "provide a realistic visual scenario
by day or by night ..." This is in addition to meet-
ing all applicable performance standards set out in
section A-I/12. Here also, the content has not been
altered from STCW-95.

However, as given under Section B-I/12,
Guidance regarding the use of simulators, sig-
nificant details regarding training and assessment
in the operational use of the ECDIS have been
added [5]. This section recognizes the necessity of
gaining practical skills on individual ECDIS si-
mulators. Its source is an IMO Circular from 2001
[6]. That guidance predates the cost-effective
technology now available for individual ownship

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workstations integrated with the visual scene and
the full emulation of all instrumentation plus the
inclusion of type-approved ECDIS. Nonetheless,
its intent to promote navigational understanding
and skill with ECDIS is fully relevant. "The main
objective of simulator exercises is to ensure that
trainees understand their responsibilities in the
operational use of ECDIS in all safety-relevant
aspects and are thoroughly familiar with the sys-
tem and equipment used" [6, para. 47, as pro-
2.2. ECDIS simulation
ECDIS is unlike any other navigational aid in
its ability to capture the user's attention for ex-
tended periods of time. Absorption in menus,
functional tasks, and potential ambiguities in in-
formation can swiftly undermine the safety of na-
vigation even where the user has the best inten-
tions of standing a vigilant watch. ECDIS is an
encyclopedia of live information both graphic and
textual, in the medium of a PC display whose near
total capture of the digital age has evolved on the
basis of surfing, browsing, interacting, storing,
retrieving - in general, of being captivating.

Effective ECDIS training demands that each
user develops the practical discipline of ap-
proaching the ECDIS with a single question to
resolve at any one time - confirm position, present
track tendency, confirm progress in a critical turn,
next course to steer, ETA to upcoming waypoint,
chart information, contact data, adjustment to dis-
play, adapting the route to changes in plans, etc.
Developing this single point query approach helps
ensure that the ECDIS serves as an aid to naviga-
tion, such that its reliability can be efficiently ve-

For this form of training, each trainee in an
ECDIS course following such a revised approach
should be, through simulation, provided with their
own live ECDIS to operate and their own vessel to
operate, the navigational functions of which are
fully integrated.

This approach is necessary for the progressive
development of skills and for the assessment of
their achievement in the underway context of na-
vigation. There is, in this approach to the training,
no place for multiple users on one ECDIS, or an
ECDIS that is not receiving underway sensor in-
put, or an underway environment devoid of an
integrated visualization of the scene.
2.3. Toward ECDIS simulation standards
The following description of ECDIS simulation
is meant to apply in each setting where ECDIS
training is conducted:

ECDIS simulation equipment shall be capable
of simulating the operational capabilities of EC-
DIS which meet all applicable performance stan-
dards adopted by the Organization, and shall in-
corporate facilities to:
1) handle ENC data, licenses and update files
2) interface with the following emulated or
OEM equipment:
a) position indicator, including emulation of
fix quality and, in the instance of GNSS,
satellite constellation
b) alternative position source, preferably a
second GNSS unit
c) heading indicator, both true and magnetic,
including graphic course recording
d) speed indicator
e) depth indicator
f) ARPA tracked target data
g) AIS, including control of static data and
h) radar data including emulated raw video,
cursor, EBL and VRM
i) autopilot capable of control by heading
(course), COG, and track, where moni-

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tored track may be provided through both
instructor control and alternatively
through ECDIS at ownship
3) provide radar overlay, with functions operat-
ing independently from ownship radar
4) provide audio for navigation and assessment
systems when fitted
5) provide VHF communications between all
ownships and instructor
6) permit all ownships to interact with one
another, depending on the exercise design
7) provide for viewing visual scene by scrolling
in all directions horizontally and vertically, or
horizontally without scrolling where fixed
visual channels cover 360 degrees
8) provide for taking accurate visual bearing
9) provide adequate and well-lit surface for plot-
ting navigation information on paper charts as
the required means of back-up required for
single ECDIS installation
10) permit simultaneous navigation on paper
charts associated with area databases as ap-
propriate to ECDIS watchstanding
2.4. Integrated navigation labs at USMMA
ECDIS is an integrating device, and its use
must be mastered in solo watchstanding. It fol-
lows that ECDIS simulation must suit solo watch-
standing training, and this certainly demands the
inclusion of the visual scene at all times. In order
to accomplish the goals of training and assessment
included in any appropriate revision to the ECDIS
Model Course, ECDIS simulation should adhere
to the foregoing as performance standards.
In place at the United States Merchant Marine
Academy (USMMA) at Kings Point, New York,
are 2 integrated navigation labs each with 16 iso-
lated ownships (32 total), a classroom (open lab)
with 24 workstations, and another classroom with
18 workstations. All four labs have the same fully
integrated simulation software package installed
(Transas NTPro 4000, version 4.62, to be up-
graded to NTPro 5000 in 2011). Each lab is de-
signed to run any combination of interacting
ownships, depending on the exercise design.

Each ownship in the integrated navigation labs
consists of the visual scene on a 42 display, con-
ning including autopilot with track control and
other navigation instruments, hardware conning
controls, ECDIS and radar, VHF, and chart table.
Sound is also integrated. Each ownship is in a 9ft
x 5ft cubicle, where the conning officer stands.
There is room for a team of two.

The coaching on equipment and exercise re-
view are conducted in the open lab. The real
learning takes place in the ownships. The integra-
tion means there is always a visual scene for the
underway context in the classrooms and in the
semi-isolated ownship labs. The multiple own-
ships allow for a wide variety of scenarios, from
single ownship exercises run simultaneously in
parallel, to a single exercise with all ownships
interacting as well as with target vessels from the

There is a fundamental difference between the
demonstration and practice of ECDIS functionali-
ties, on the one hand, and the unassisted applica-
tion of ECDIS while faced with navigational deci-
sion making, on the other hand. These are separate
learning experiences and should for the most part
be conducted separately. Nonetheless, all ECDIS
workstations should have the same fully inte-
grated simulation software package. Whether the
lesson is being conducted in a classroom or open
environment or the exercise is being conducted in
the semi-isolation of a multiple ownship naviga-
tion lab, each network is designed to run any
combination of interacting ownships, depending
on the exercise design [2].

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It is well established in practical training
schemes that development of complex skill sets
should follow a certain progression to allow for
reinforcement and to achieve a stated and mea-
surable outcome with consistency. As applied to a
40-hour training scheme in ECDIS navigation, the
progression should ideally follow the sequence:
1) Elements of ECDIS (10.5 hours)
2) Watchstanding with ECDIS (8 hours)
3) ECDIS route planning (7 hours)
4) ECDIS charts, targets & system (10 hours)
5) ECDIS responsibility (4.5 hours)

Sample exercises are outlined below for each of
these stages.
3.1. Elements of ECDIS (2.5 hours of solo
underway exercises)
Exercise 1, option (A): Piloting in open
waters for 1 ownship (assign 12 times simulta-
Task groups:
Safe navigation through skills integration
Adjust heading to maintain track
Navigate with ECDIS
1-person watch
Cooperative navigation
Visual lookout
Limited maneuvering

Exercise 1, option (B): Piloting in open
waters for 1 ownship (assign 12 times simulta-
Task groups:
Safe navigation through skills integration
Navigate with ECDIS
Monitor SOG & COG
Apply standing orders: > 1 nm off land
Keep vessel in counter current
1-person watch
Visual lookout
3.2. Watchstanding with ECDIS (2 hours of
solo underway exercises)
Exercise 2, option (A): Piloting in open
waters for 12 ownships (in a single exercise of
inbound/outbound in TSS)
Task groups:
Safe navigation through skills integration
Adjust heading to maintain track
Navigate with ECDIS
1-person watch
Cooperative navigation
Visual lookout

Exercise 2, option (B): Piloting in open
waters for 6 ownships (inbound in TSS, assigned
2 times)
Task groups:
Safe navigation through skills integration
Adjust heading to maintain track in strong
Navigate with ECDIS
Detect leeway by radar and visual plotting
1-person watch
Cooperative navigation
Visual lookout

Exercise 2, option (C): Piloting in open
waters for 12 ownships (large area TSS)
Task groups:
Safe navigation through skills integration
Adjust heading to maintain track
Observe TSS rules
Alarm zones (triggered by maneuvers)

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Navigate with ECDIS
1-person watch
Cooperative navigation
Visual lookout
3.3. ECDIS route planning (2 hours of solo
underway exercises)
Exercise 3, option (A): Piloting in
semi-confined waters for 12 ownships
Task groups:
Safe navigation through skills integration
Adapt instruments to conditions
Adapt track-keeping to workload
Navigate with ECDIS
1-person watch
Cooperative navigation
Visual lookout

Exercise 3, option (B): Anchoring in
semi-confined waters for 6 ownships (assign 2
Task groups:
Safe navigation through skills integration
Create and apply route
Create ECDIS user layer
Adjust heading to maintain track
Observe anchorage rules
Apply ECDIS user layer for anchoring
Navigate with ECDIS
1-person watch
Cooperative navigation
Visual lookout
3.4. ECDIS charts, targets & system (2 hours
of solo underway exercises)
Exercise 4, option (A): Piloting in open
waters for 6 ownships 2-person watches (assign 1
Task groups:
Safe navigation through skills integration
Adapt ECDIS route for Search & Rescue
Find man overboard
Share ECDIS route
2-person watch
Cooperative navigation
Team & communications
Visual lookout

Exercise 4, option (B): Piloting in confined
waters for 12 ownships
Task groups:
Safe navigation through skills integration
Adapt instruments to conditions
Adapt track-keeping to workload
Create and apply route
Adjust heading to maintain track
Navigate with ECDIS
1-person watch
Cooperative navigation
Visual lookout

Exercise 4, option (C): Piloting in open
waters for 6 ownships (assign 2 times)
Task groups:
Safe navigation through skills integration
Adapt instruments to conditions
Create and apply route
Adapt track-keeping to workload
Adjust heading to maintain track
Observe TSS rules
Alarm zones
Navigate with ECDIS
1-person watch

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Cooperative navigation
Visual lookout
3.5. ECDIS underway evaluation (2.5 hours
of solo underway)

Exercise 5, Evaluation: Piloting in
semi-confined waters for 6 ownships solo watch
(assign 1 time)
Task groups:
ECDIS Competency Assessment (use of all
ECDIS functions is observed)
Safe navigation through skills integration
Adapt instruments to conditions
Create route (from a prior lesson) and apply
Modify route underway
Adapt track-keeping to workload
Comply with VTS and TSS rules
Navigate with ECDIS
1-person watch
Cooperative navigation
Visual lookout

The culminating exercise is run as a formal
demonstration of competency, and is scored ac-
cording to a detailed matrix. This scoring metho-
dology will be examined in Sections 6 & 7.
3.6. Explanation of hours
The tasks and task groups in the foregoing
scheme of exercises progress in complexity in a
combination of ways. The later tasks themselves
are more demanding of time and involve more
steps. The groupings of tasks involve progres-
sively more variety. The application of later tasks
occurs in more demanding underway circums-
tances. The outcomes, while retaining consistency,
become progressively more challenging to main-
tain as the navigational workload increases.
The significance of this process in mastering
ECDIS is that navigational safety remains the
central outcome, and can therefore stand as a
baseline measure of ECDIS competency.

Typically, a professional training course is de-
signed to suit a 40-hour work week. This is mini-
mally feasible with gaining proficiency in ECDIS
navigation, particularly when the basic skill sets
of navigation are already familiar, such as plotting
positions determined visually and by radar, main-
taining a rough log, track keeping in coastal wa-
terways, and maneuvering for traffic. When these
types of skills are unfamiliar, they may be learned
quite optimally during training in ECDIS naviga-
tion, but more time is needed. For that reason,
added exercise options are provided for each stage
in the training scheme. Whether maintaining the
40 hour schedule or a 50 hour schedule (such as
USMMA), the percentage of solo underway time,
including the evaluation, should be kept to about
30% (or 12 of 40 hours, and 15 of 50 hours).
Preparation time for solo trainees in the simulator
should be limited to 20 minutes prior to getting
underway. This allows for route familiarization
and instrument setups.

In the instance of the underway evaluation, the
ECDIS route plan should be created and saved in
classroom time, and evaluated separately for
completeness and accuracy. Each trainee installs
their own validated route in the preparation period
of the underway evaluation. This act personalizes
that exercise, and requires that the trainee mod-
ifies a portion of the route for the actual position
of each ones ownship. This accomplishes the
A-II/2 Management level competency: create and
maintain route plan files in accordance with estab-
lished procedures.

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Specific learning objectives can be achieved by
clustering task elements that support the over-
arching goal of safe navigation. The purpose of
grouping tasks is to help the instructor and each
trainee maintain a focus on the intended outcomes
for an exercise. This approach allows tasks to shift
in importance as an exercise unfolds. Trainees
make decisions based on information that may
become apparent depending on the skill with the
given tasks. It is crucial that the process of inte-
grated ECDIS navigation training is at no time
reduced to a set of particular functions performed
on ECDIS to the neglect prudent watchstanding.
Concentration on the specific tasks for a given
stage in the ECDIS training is necessary, but not
to the exclusion of other desired outcomes, such
as looking out, plotting on paper charts as the
backup system, keeping a detailed rough log, and
scanning source sensors. Task grouping requires
more underway exercise time than ECDIS courses
are typically designed for. But the result is a mea-
surably appropriate reliance on ECDIS precisely
due to the mastery of outcomes constituting safe
4.1. Explanation of ECDIS task groups
The task groups shown in Table 1 are meant to
isolate significant skill sets directly related to ef-
fective ECDIS navigation. The groups that focus
on ECDIS account for using critical interfaces on
ECDIS (1), procedural setups (3), relevant info (4),
all position options (5), and making adjustments
(6). The other groups account for externals critical
to effective ECDIS navigation.

Table 1 ECDIS Task Groups

No. Task Group Focus
1 Use all navigation systems inter- On ECDIS
faced with ECDIS
2 Verify settings of interfaced sensors
Other sen-
Check that setting conform to pro-
cedures (exercise briefing)
Monitor information on ECDIS for
safe navigation
5 Verify position by alternate means On ECDIS
Adjust settings to suit conditions
and adapt to changing conditions
Use ECDIS-managed track control
On autopilot
Maneuver according to accepted
navigational practice and with
regard to COLREGS
Conning &
Responses to role play with regards
to ECDIS use
with VTS
Manage AIS and assess environ-
mental conditions

The last group (On ECDIS: manage AIS and
assess environmental conditions) is considered
optional for two reasons: First, AIS messaging and
environmental factors such as tidal current cycles
may not suit all evaluation exercise scenarios, and
second, not all Integrated Multiple Ownship Si-
mulators can be expected to include this functio-
nality, although they should since these are com-
monly a vital and integral aspect of navigation in
confined and semi-confined waters (see Section
3.3 above regarding ECDIS simulation standards).
The scoring of an Optional Task Group will be
discussed in Section 7 below.
4.2. Weighted averaging for Task Groups
It is anticipated that a non-normative weighted
average would be preferred, such that (1) would
be some value > 1, and that the weights for the
Task Groups could be altered in order to create a

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scoring system that accurately represents the de-
sired balance of emphasis between tasks per-
formed directly on ECDIS and other navigational
tasks not performed on ECDIS.

The formula used for weighted averages is
standard for non-blank values, where the divisor
of 10 represents the number of Task Group
weights as presented in Section 5.1 and in Table 2

A:g o wcigts =

The weights chosen for the instance of the un-
derway competency score sheet presented in Table
2 and Figure 1 below emphasize the relative im-
portance of skills performed on ECDIS, but still
allows for the consideration in the scoring of im-
portant navigational tasks not performed directly
on ECDIS, but nonetheless central to maintaining
the safety of navigation.

The application of weighted averages in the
evaluation tally results in a change in a trainees
overall score percentile, while the non-zero aver-
age score itself remains unaffected. The change in
percentile is slight when the weight of one or
another Task Group is varied even by a factor of 2
or 3. For example, when the weight of a Task
Group is increased from 1.0 to 2.0, the percentile
score for a high-scoring trainee increases from
91.1% to 91.8%. However, the percentile score
increases by only 0.2% for a trainee scoring mod-
erately in that particular Task Group.

4.3. Explanation of outcomes
Perhaps the most significant challenge facing
instructional design for ECDIS use is the recogni-
tion that the mastery of navigational functionality
of the device does not equate to skillful and safe
navigation with ECDIS. Because ECDIS is an
integrative device by its structure and purpose and
placement in integrated bridge systems, the use of
it and its use in the various acts of navigation
cannot be separated for very long. The conse-
quence of training on ECDIS outside of its navi-
gational context is to develop skills that depend
upon not having any other navigational distrac-
tions. There can be no argument that this is the
most undesirable outcome imaginable for training
in the use of ECDIS. Regrettably, this particular
approach, common to part-task training every-
where, has taken hold in most instances of ECDIS
certified training worldwide.
With the advent of STCW-2010, however, the
fundamental competence is now defined as a na-
vigation function at both levels: Maintain the
safety of navigation through the use of ECDIS [1].
As with many other STCW navigational compe-
tencies, this desired outcome of ECDIS use must
be demonstrated as a solo act, and that fact de-
mands that safe navigation with ECDIS is prac-
ticed and ultimately evaluated in a solo naviga-
tional environment. When ECDIS competence is
kept in its integrated context, it becomes clear that
many general aspects of navigation must be eva-
luated, as well as the use of specific ECDIS func-
tions at the right time and place. Indirectly, the
behavior that is being assessed is the trainees
ability to divide attention evenly amongst all na-
vigational aids and systems, not least being the
visual scene. Taking the STCW criteria for eva-
luating ECDIS competence as desired outcomes,
then Table A-II/1 requires:
Monitoring appropriate information
Interpreting that information correctly
Controlling the vessels speed and autopilot
Utilizing effective communications,
and Table A-II/2 requires (in the same evaluation):
Making and using operational procedures
Making navigation safe by minimizing risk
Such training should encourage the application
of judgment and development of situational

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5.1. Competency score sheet
The score sheet shown in Table 2 below is
meant for each trainee in the underway evaluation.
Instructions: Score 3 (all), 2 (some), 1 (not
enough), leave blank if n/a. Scoring 0 on [*] (in
Task group 8) represents a Critical Fault. In that
instance, the trainee should retake the evaluation
because it is always plausible that better use of
ECDIS would have mitigated the dangers related
to close quarters and proximity to shoal water. An
important consideration used in this scoring
scheme is to avoid a penalty for un-scored tasks,
unless the entire Task Group is un-scored.

Table 2 ECDIS Underway Score Sheet
Tasks by group score Comment No.
1 Use all navigation systems interfaced with ECDIS
Weight: 1.5
Tag targets 1
Acquire radar targets 2
DGPS on PS1 3
2 Verify settings of interfaced sensors
Weight: 1.0
GPS HDOP recorded 4
Sounder set to DBK 5
Speed log set to BT 6
PS2 initialized 7
Radar displays route 8
AP settings adjusted for
Track Control

3 Check that setting conform to procedures (exercise
briefing and Standing Orders on Rough Log sheet)
Weight: 1.5
Anti-grounding parameters 10
Vector length set 11
Route monitored 12
Route waypoints named &

Route XTE zones set for

Ship Time Zone set 15
Paper chart backup: route,
DR, notes, etc.

4 Monitor information on ECDIS for safe navigation
Weight: 1.5
EC look ahead occasional 17
Adjust EC scale occasional 18
EC chart choice 19
Route Data panel dis-

Query tracked targets,
chart objects

Acknowledge alarms 22

5 Verify position by alternate means
Weight: 1.0
Radar cursor on EC 23
PS2 into EC (if on) 24
Radar overlay occasional 25
Paper chart: plot visual &
radar fixes

6 Adjust settings to suit conditions and adapt to
changing conditions
Weight: 1.5
Set day/night palette 27
Custom layers set for low

Dual panel - full screen plus

Route plan schedule set for

ETA & speed made good
displayed on Multipanel

CU/NU and RM/TM modes

Revise route as needed 33
Add Info layers used & 34

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Radar overlay used 35
7 Use ECDIS-managed track control autopilot
Weight: 0.5
Track Control occasional 36
Track Control turns use safe
radius on EC

8 Maneuver according to accepted navigational prac-
tice and with regard to COLREGS
Weight: 1.0
Effective VHF use 38
Proactive passing 39
[*] Safe CPA always 40
Safe turns executed 41
Safe speed always 42
[*] Safe DBK always 43
Navigation lights on 44
Fog signals used 45
Rough Log complete 46
9 Responses to role play with regards to ECDIS use
Weight: 1.0
Provide ETA on request 47
Provide revised plan on

Provide requested environ-
mental info

Call VTS on request 50
10 Manage AIS and assess environmental conditions
Weight: 0.5
AIS messaging managed
from EC

RIB targets tracked 52
Display tide & current info
on EC

Query tide & port info on

The scoring could be kept simple with the use
of integers, or decimal values could be used for
finer differentiation. Consistency in either case is
essential. The values recorded in the underway
score sheet are applied in the evaluation tally with
weighted averages for each Task Group (see Sec-
tion 7 below).
Fig. 1 Sample underway score sheet
Figure 1 is a sample score sheet for eight trai-
nees each assigned to solo navigation in one un-
derway evaluation exercise where all eight own-
ships are fully interactive (see Section 4.5 above).
In this instance, the scenario was placed in a wide,
deep and lengthy waterway with a Traffic Separa-
tion Scheme (TSS) and some crossing ferries and
additional target vessels in the TSS. Four own-
ships were northbound, while the other four were
southbound. Each trainee created a validated route
prior to the evaluation. The trainees set up their
integrated systems and paper charts for 30 minutes.
Underway time lasted about 2 hours.

5.2. Instructors methods of observation

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As alluded to in Section 5.3 above, safe solo
ECDIS navigation should include (but is not li-
mited to) passage planning, underway transits
(near-coastal, in TSS and their junctions, in-port,
entering anchorages), track-keeping, use of Track
Control in autopilot, and traffic management. In
connection with ECDIS generally, this entails
maintaining a visual lookout, situational aware-
ness, use of backup systems, application of all
available means, communication, log keeping, and
slow-speed control of ownship. Specifically with
regards to ECDIS, this means appropriate chart
portfolios, electronic updates, route planning
safety checks and route monitoring, sensors
working and connected and used, anti-grounding
alarms set, an informative and unambiguous dis-
play, user layers, settings adapted to changing

In order for an instructor to score a given trai-
nees application of such general as well as spe-
cific skills, some method of observation must be
developed. This is very effectively done using
remote control software (software that can display
the screen of another computer), such that the in-
structors mouse pointer is not active on the trai-
nees display. At an instructors station equipped
with an additional monitor or two, a window into
each trainees ECDIS can be opened. This allows
the sequential monitoring of the trainees ECDIS
use without any form of intrusion.

Additionally, the instructor should observe au-
tomatically recorded events (depending on the
simulators functionality), such as each trainees
dangerous approaches to other vessels, use of au-
topilot, navigation lights, fog signals, depth
sounder, AIS messaging, etc. The trainees should
also be required to keep a rough log, which in-
cludes Standing Orders to be incorporated into
ECDIS use as ensuring conformance to opera-
tional procedures (Table A-II/1), such as mini-
mum CPA, speed requirements, backup plot in-
terval, reminders to check on tides and currents,
and to observe COLREGS, and to keep a vigilant
visual lookout. The log can include entries for
recording the alternative fix information, sensor
fix quality, and other details that would augment
the completeness and workload of paper chart
plotting as the backup system.
6.1. Trainee scoring
For each trainee, a score is delivered to each
Task Group on the evaluation tally (Fig. 2) direct-
ly from the underway score sheet:

Iosk 0roup = A:g o tosks wt (2)

As noted above, blank entries for specific tasks
in the underway score sheet are disregarded in this
initial averaging per Task Group (see Section 6.2).
The intent is to provide a flexible scoring system
in the event that certain devices are not included
in the integrated simulation. On the other hand,
simply entering a zero value in place of a blank
will cause that entry to be included in the average,
significantly penalizing omitted behaviors, and
rendering the scoring system far more rigorous.
Such a choice should be left to the training course
developer, and should not be directly dictated by a
scoring system. The formulation here yields to the
scorer (0 or blank).
Each trainees total score is represented by the
average of non-zero values:
A:g =
1usk uoup scocs
wcghts |cxcI.#10 ] bIunk]
It is anticipated that Task Group #10 may be
optional as noted in Section 5.1, resulting in no
score given for any of the four tasks in that group.
When that is not the case, those scores should be
included, and the sum of weights should allow
inclusion of the inclusion of the weight for Task

INSLC16 Proceedings Dalian, China July 12-16, 2010
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Group #10.
The achievement of each trainee by percentile
will is determined by utilizing 3 as the maximum
possible score for any given task in the score
Scorc % =
Ag (nonzco)
6.2. Tallying the Task Groups
There is considerable value in tracking the av-
erage scores by Task Groups over a succession of
underway evaluation exercises, in particular to aid
in assessing and validating the outcomes of the
ECDIS navigation training overall. For example,
certain Task Groups may show under-performance
over several iterations, indicating the need for
revised emphasis of certain tasks in the underway
context. Likewise, the overall score for the evalu-
ation exercise can be determined and tracked.

Fig. 2 Sample ECDIS evaluation tally

For each Task Group across all trainees:
Nax scoie =
Task Group wcIght

For the non-zero values of each Task Group:
Iosk 0roup ovg = Avg (S) (6)
For the tally of each Task Group by percentile:
Iosk 0roup %=
Mux scoc uIuc (5)
For the overall evaluation score:
Scorc =
1usk uoup ug (6)
wcghts |cxcI.#10 ] bIunk]
In an effort to provide some validation of the
foregoing, a sample proficiency evaluation matrix
is examined, preceded by a description of suitable
exercises, tasks, task groups, and navigational

The combination of written assessment for cer-
tain principles of electronic chart systems and
their use in navigation, along with the evaluation
of proficiency while in solo underway contexts
should provide the high value appropriate to con-
temporary marine navigation training. There can
be no doubt that adequate ECDIS simulation per-
formance standards must be uniformly applied in
order to achieve internationally consistent compe-
tence in ECDIS navigation.
Demonstrating safe and effective use of ECDIS
demands foremost the demonstration of safe na-
vigation. The assessment of ECDIS use therefore
requires a detailed analysis of ECDIS functions
applied in the context of coastal and confined na-
vigation in visual ship simulation. This is best
accomplished through solo navigation exercises
where an instructor can observe each trainees
navigation using ECDIS in a non-disruptive yet
detailed manner.

INSLC16 Proceedings Dalian, China July 12-16, 2010
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[1] IMO STW. Comprehensive Review of the
STCW Convention and the STCW Code: Chapter
II of the STCW Convention and Code. STW
41/7/3, 29 September 2009, pp. 8-9, 21, 36
[2] Christian Hempstead. Integrated Multiple
Ownship Simulation: Where the learning takes
place. INSLC 15, July 2008
[3] IMO ECDIS Training. IMO Model Course
1.27: The Operational Use of Electronic Chart
Display and Information Systems (ECDIS). ISBN
92-801-6112-1, International Maritime Organiza-
tion, London, 2000
[4] IMO STCW. International Convention for
Standards for Training, Certification and Watch-
keeping (STCW); Consolidated text of the 1978
STCW Convention with the Final Act of the 1995
Conference of Parties, International Maritime Or-
ganization, London, 1995
[5] IMO STW. Report to the Maritime Safety
Committee. STW 40/14/Add. 1, Annex 3, para-
graphs 36 through 66, Training and assessment in
the operational use of ECDIS, as proposed. In-
ternational Maritime Organization, London, 2009.
[6] IMO MSC. Interim guidance on training
and assessment in the operational use of the EC-
DIS simulators. STCW.7/Circ.10, International
Maritime Organization, London, 2001.
Christian Hempstead, Master Mariner; MNI,
MA, 19 years as deck officer with SeaRiver Mari-
time Inc. (formerly Exxon Shipping Co.) includ-
ing 5 years responsible for type-approved ECDIS
and other electronic chart systems as watchstand-
ing navigation officer on board ship; 10 years
USCG certified ECDIS instructor (at USMMA,
GMATS, SUNY, MITAGS, & PMI), Transas Ltd
certified instructor of NaviSailor ECS & ECDIS;
developer and author of ECDIS certified training
at USMMA, GMATS, MITAGS, & PMI (author
of first approved ECDIS course in the US, 2000)
including design and implementation of ECDIS
simulation training environments; 6 years Asso-
ciate Professor at USMMA including leading in-
novations in large-scale Integrated Multiple
Ownship Simulation, and providing the means and
ability to institute USCG certified training in EC-
DIS navigation for all deck cadets at USMMA
beginning in 2011.
Christian Hempstead
United States Merchant Marine Academy
Department of Marine Transportation
300 Steamboat Rd., Kings Point, NY 11024
Office: (516) 773-5286; Fax: (516) 773-5668
M: (360) 286-1932;
E: hempsteadc@usmma.edu