With over 30 different manufacturers of ECDIS alone now operating in the market, it remains difficult for mariners who may have just joined a ship to become familiar with even the key features. Not being familiar, particularly in darkness or during stressful situations such as busy ports, can be dangerous. No mariner wants to feel unprepared to use systems to make critical decisions.

The Nautical Institute has devoted the current issue of its  magazine The Navigator to explaining and championing the S-Mode concept. Project director David Patraiko's lead article tackles the question 'What is S-Mode and why does it matter?'

The Nautical Institute says that in order to know how to minimise the risk, one thing is to make sure you are familiar with all the key tasks that will be required – and get someone to show you if you are unsure about any of them. Click here to view a list of these tasks 

Mr Patraiko explains that Nautical Institute's proposal on S-Mode involves the following three features:

  • A default display presented at the press of a button;
  • A standard menu structure on this display, where all essential tasks could be operated in the same way across all manufacturers;
  • A standard interface device (mouse, trackpad, joystick, etc.)

He further mentions The Nautical Institute insists that the S-Mode guidelines should have the widest possible input from the estimated 400,000 navigating officers in the global fleet. This feedback should then result in a small number of possible solutions that will then be thoroughly tested in simulation for effectiveness before a final decision is made. 

It is also important that any solution should be future-proofed (perhaps through software updates), so that S-Mode evolves with time and technology to remain effective.

Further information about the S-Mode and Nautical Institute views may be found by reading latest issue of the Navigator magazine

Source & Image Credit: The Nautical Institute