With regards to ECDIS (Electronic Chart Display and Information System) my attitude is, any tool that aids the watch officer and leads to an increased situational awareness is good thing. Every new tool has its traps however:
From this post at MTVA Lack of ECDIS training leads to grounding
"time and again, we find that the adoption and implementation of exotic and complex new technologies often leads to the improper use of said equipment."When radar was first installed aboard merchant ships it lead to what was called "radar assisted collisions." The collision between the Andrea Doria and the Stockholm in 1956 is often cited as an example. As a result of that incident deck officers are required to receive training in radar plotting in spite of the fact that this training has been made largely obsolete by ARPA.
ECDIS will be mandatory for some vessels starting in 2012 - two articles here at The Art of Dredging IMO backs mandatory ECDIS and an earlier ECDIS may prevent groundings.
Will the requirement to renew the radar endorsement every 5 years still be in place after 2012 when the first required ECDIS first start showing up on new builds?