Electronic Charts and Publication NVIC 01-16
February 08, 2016
US Coast Guard approves official electronic charts
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Coast Guard published guidance Feb. 5 that allows mariners to use electronic charts and publications instead of paper charts, maps and publications.
The Navigation and Vessel Inspection Circular, NVIC 01-16 establishes uniform guidance on what is now considered equivalent to chart and publication carriage requirements.
Combining the suite of electronic charts from the U.S. hydrographic authorities and the Electronic Charting System (ECS) standards published this past summer by the Radio Technical Commission for Maritime Services, the Coast Guard believes official electronic charts provide mariners with a substitute for the traditional official paper charts.
“After consultation with our Navigation Safety Advisory Committee, the Coast Guard will allow mariners to use official electronic charts instead of paper charts, if they choose to do so. With real-time voyage planning and monitoring information at their fingertips, mariners will no longer have the burden of maintaining a full portfolio of paper charts,” said Capt. Scott J. Smith, the chief of the U.S. Coast Guard’s Office of Navigation Systems.
The new guidance applies to vessels subject to U.S. chart, or map, and publication carriage requirements codified in Titles 33 and 46 CFR and provides a voluntary alternative means to comply with those requirements.
“Mariners have been requesting the recognition of this capability for some time,” said Smith. “When you combine the new expanded Automatic Identification System carriage requirement and the capability that an ECS provides, it should provide a platform to move American waterways into the 21st century.”
This technology will also allow mariners to take advantage of information and data to enhance situational awareness during voyage planning and while underway.
“Together, with our industry and international partners, we are leveraging modern technology to contribute to the safety, security and prosperity of our nation,” said Smith.
Nonmetallic Sea Strainer Use on Small Passenger Vessels
The US Coast Guard issued a policy letter concerning sea strainers constructed of nonmetallic materials for use on small passenger vessels.
Sea strainers containing nonmetallic components have been installed on small passenger vessels for several decades without incident. However, the regulations were amended to require vital piping systems to be made of a ferrous material on board ”new” small passenger vessels.
Marine inspectors continue to discover nonmetallic sea strainers on ”new” small passenger vessels. These strainers are typically found in raw water cooling systems but may also be installed within other systems. The notion that they represent a potential ”weak link” in a piping system due to the possibility of failure from mechanical or fire damage, which would result in the loss of the affected vital system and potentially result in uncontrollable flooding, simply hasn’t materialized for small passenger vessels. In fact, vessel operators have emphasized that these types of strainers have been successfully used for many years without the occurrence of significant mechanical failures, even when vessels had major fires.
To that end, a search of the MISLE database confirms a lack of historical casualty incidents related to these types of installed strainers. Furthermore, there are benefits to the use of nonmetallic or acrylic sea strainers; they provide improved safety by serving as a sight glass to check for adequate cooling water flow which in turn help prevent main engine overheating and propulsion casualties while underway.
Click HERE to read the USCG’s policy letter.