It’s al­ways 68 de­grees and sunny here in Maine.

IT PAYS TO BE CAU­TIOUS No mat­ter what cli­mate you’re com­ing from, the weather is al­ways per­fect in­side our shops at Front Street Ship­yard. Come en­joy the warmth when you need the up­grades, main­te­nance and re­fit work that keep you cruis­ing around the globe

Passage Maker - - @Rest -

and D—with category A be­ing the most strin­gently tested and func­tion­ally not sig­nif­i­cantly dif­fer­ent from ECDIS. It can be used as the backup sys­tem. In Fe­bru­ary 2016, the U.S. Coast Guard rec­og­nized a RTCM Class A ECS dis­play­ing ENCs as func­tion­ally equiv­a­lent to ECDIS, and an RTCM Class B or C ECS as meet­ing the chart­ing re­quire­ments for com­mer­cial ship­ping op­er­at­ing out to the 12-mile limit (i.e. there is no need to carry paper charts). An RTCM Class D ECS is not con­sid­ered an ad­e­quate sub­sti­tute for paper charts.

The RTCM hard­ware re­quire­ments can­not be met by a typ­i­cal per­sonal com­puter or tablet be­cause they do not meet the rig­or­ous salt spray, vi­bra­tion, heat and hu­mid­ity tests, ren­der­ing most PC- based re­cre­ational elec­tronic chart­ing sys­tems un­likely to com­ply with ECS.

How­ever, for most of us us­ing PC- based elec­tronic charts, we have learned to live with our hard­ware weak­nesses and it is the soft­ware side of things that pri­mar­ily need im­prove­ment. There is an­other in­ter­na­tional stan­dard that ap­plies here, which is ISO 19379.

Over the com­ing years when choos­ing elec­tronic charts and their as­so­ci­ated display sys­tems, com­pli­ance with the soft­ware pro­vi­sions of RTCM Class A, B or C, and/ or com­pli­ance with ISO 19379, will be a use­ful mea­sure of the qual­ity of the soft­ware. Al­most all elec­tronic charts used in the re­cre­ational boat­ing have some kind of a le­gal dis­claimer, such as the fol­low­ing from Jeppe­sen/C-Map: “Un­less oth­er­wise spec­i­fied by na­tional mar­itime au­thor­i­ties, the data li­censed here­un­der is in­ad­e­quate as a pri­mary means of nav­i­ga­tion, and should be used only as a sup­ple­ment to of­fi­cial gov­ern­ment charts and tra­di­tional nav­i­ga­tion meth­ods.”

Whereas this dis­claimer is prob­a­bly there for li­a­bil­ity rea­sons, it should not be ig­nored. For all their ob­vi­ous ben­e­fits, elec­tronic charts found in the re­cre­ational world have sig­nif­i­cant weak­nesses with the as com­pared to paper charts and other sources of in­for­ma­tion.

To quote the in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the ground­ing of the Ves­tas Wind: “Un­for­tu­nately, the at­trac­tive pre­sen­ta­tion of elec­tronic data cre­ates a mis­placed air of con­fi­dence in the ac­cu­racy of what is pre­sented. There can be a false sense of se­cu­rity and a be­lief that fur­ther checks are not ne­c­es­sary. This can be a mis­take.”

Un­til ECDIS and ECS Class A hard­ware and charts fil­ter down into the re­cre­ational mar­ket­place, there will con­tinue to be a need for paper and tra­di­tional pi­lot­ing tech­niques in the nav­i­ga­tional tool­box.

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