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Radar, ARPA, ECDIS, IBS & INS Courses and Training under STCW for Seafarers

radar arpa navigation

The purpose of navigation is to ascertain the present position and to determine the speed, direction  to arrive at the point of destination. The marine navigation systems and electronic tools are used to enhance the nautical navigation and also used for safety and security of vessels and crew onboard. Modern day ships use a variety of advanced systems and electronic navigational tools for navigational purposes.

The equipment in ships include Radar which is used to determine the distance to other objects such as land, ships or other floating objects, ARPA which displays the position of the ships and other vessels, ECDIS which is the electronic chart used for navigation, Automatics Identification System (AIS) which is a traffic automatic tracking system used on ships and by vessel traffic services (VTS), and Integrated bridge system (IBS) including Integrated Navigation System (INS) is a kind of navigation management system which connects, monitors, and collects data of all related equipment, to name a few.

Students learn through a mix of skills training, shipboard training and academic studies, including hands-on training on the equipment. The following navigational courses are required for seafarers at various levels and classes. The training programs and certificate or endorsement are regulated under STCW Convention by various regulatory bodies including IMO, national administrations, and other interested institutions of international importance.

integrated bridge system chart
Picture: IBS-INS System 



Radar & Navigational Courses

  • Automatic Identification Systems (AIS): IMO has mandated, in SOLAS chapter V, the carriage of equipment meeting the requirements of the Universal Shipborne Automatic Identification System (AIS) on all larger ships (as defined in section 3.1 of this model course) to enhance the safety of life at sea, the safety of navigation and the protection of the marine environment. Courses based on this course may be standalone and will be useful for updating existing watchkeeping staff.
  • Operational Use of Electronic Chart Display and Information Systems (ECDIS): This course is intended to provide the knowledge, skill and understanding of ECDIS and electronic charts to the thorough extent needed to safely navigate vessels whose primary means of navigation is ECDIS. The course emphasizes both the application and learning of ECDIS in a variety of underway contexts. The course is designed to meet the STCW requirements in the use of ECDIS, as revised by the 2010 Manila Amendments.
  • Operational Use of Integrated Bridge Systems (IBS) Including Integrated Navigation Systems (INS): The safe and efficient use at sea of IBS and INS requires a level of knowledge beyond that normally given in the training of an OICNW. It is learning the decision-making processes that must be applied in order to gain the full benefits of the integration in a safe manner and avoid the new problems that systems can sometimes provoke. This course has been designed recognizing that IBS and INS are voluntary installation on vessels, and that they differ significantly in their configuration and operation from vessel to vessel. They can also interconnect to other bridge equipment and systems which may be compulsorily fitted to vessels as part of SOLAS or other requirements.
  • Radar Navigation, Radar Plotting and Use of ARPA - Radar Navigation at Operational Level: This course provides training in the basic theory and use of radar for those who will be in charge of a navigational watch. It is based on the provisions of section A-I/12 of the STCW Code, and those who successfully complete it will have fulfilled the mandatory minimum training requirements.
  • Radar, ARPA, Bridge Teamwork and Search and Rescue - Radar Navigation at Management Level: This course provides management-level training in the use of radar and ARPA, including bridge teamwork and search and rescue. The course is based on the provisions of section A-I/12 of the STCW Code and those who successfully complete it will have fulfilled the mandatory minimum requirements of training in the use of radar and ARPA to maintain safety of navigation as in table A-II/2.

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