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The Dutch Transport and Water Management Inspectorate has authorised a new general cargo ship (Wagonborg, 3,990 grt) to entirely dispense with paper charts and rely solely upon her advanced electronic navigation system. I cannot see why. What are the advantages of this change? The electronic systems must be far more expensive than paper charts and electronics can fail. What are the members views?

Fred (Read)
 

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Thought it inevitable that this would come about. We old hands are thinking all about the "what ifs", but the smart new boys are probably thinking that the new technology is so proven that they are going for it now whatever! Digital charts must be so reliable by now anyway. I expect that back-up systems will be in place?
 

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Total horror, just cannot imagine this one. I presume they will be utilizing a GPS system with this. There will surely have to be a system whereby corrections can be downloaded. I know the GPS system is fantastic but it is always prudent to have a backup. Can deck officers still use sextants and take stars etc or are modern ships totally reliant on the new technology?
I am sure some of our deck side will reply on this one. Also please dont take that as an insult, I know some seem to misread the written word.
Regards
Hawkey01 (Fly)
 

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Belt and Braces!

I enjoy sailing and have just bought a bigger yacht which the family intend to venture further afield on. Whilst she has a fixed GPS, an independent Chart Plotter, hand held GPS and AIS receiver I won't dispense with the traditional Nav Aids.

Unlikely as it is, my dread is that the boat's electrics fail and I would have to rely on my hand held GPS with an adequate supply of batteries. More paranoia - what happens if GPS Selective Availability, which was eliminated in May 2000, is turned on, or the whole satellite network fails?

In addition to the electronic gizmos, she carries an Admiralty chart folio for our intended sailing area, electronic log and echo sounder, Walker's log, steering compass and hand bearing compass. Personally I wouldn't rely totally on electronics although, if used correctly, they are magnificent Nav Aids. "Aids" is the key word - a bit of “proper” navigation and DR work never goes wrong!

Old fashioned or not, I can't help feeling that anyone who totally dispenses with traditional Nav Aids, or just as bad, carries them and doesn't practice their use, is tempting fate!
 

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Crazy! All systems must have a manual back-up...nothing is infallable!!!!
 

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Fred,

I presume that a full risk analysis was carried out before that decision was taken. I would be interested in seeing that do***ent.

Whoever completed it must have made a number of assumptions including an extremely low rate of predicted failure of the satellites. I wonder how they would fare in a war situation - presumably they could be knocked out? And is it beyond possibility that they could be affected by some kind of adverse atmospheric effect or a large sunspot.

Seems irresponsible to me not to have what must be a relatively cheap fallback in the form of charts.

Is the thinking that you can save money on skilled navigators because you just look at the gizmos, type in the coordinates of where you want to go and leave them to get on with it?

Full automatic control on the Docklands Light Railway requires an act of faith when you sit in the front seat and there is no driver. But a large ship?

Brian
 

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I was told that during time of conflict USA would shut down civilian access to their satallite network to deny enemy use. That would be a bit of a pain. Fog, & no signal.
 

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Shaun Jones

Electronic charts show you where you are as opposed to where you were a few seconds or minutes ago. The accuracy and reliability is so good that it is inevitable that we will go down the paperless bridge route. Sooner the better................all your chart corrections on a CD-ROM that can be down loaded over INMARSAT. The future is Electronic soon to be followed by virtual navigation. All the concerns about turning off in war time etc are acknowledged but I feel totally overblown. Steam replaced sail and the world did not stop turning so electronic charts will replace paper charts.(Thumb) (Applause)
 

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Interesting comparison with sail and steam Shaun,

But you omitted to say that early steam ships were built with masts and sails as backup in case the engines failed! Of course in time these were phased out but have we reached the same level of confidence with Satnav systems? I really don't know but would always err on the side of caution.

What is not clear from Fred's opening posting is whether the ship will have its own electronic charts that could be used for navigational purposes if the satellite system was lost. Electronic charts available on computer screens, providing that they were sufficiently resilient, and kept track of the course while the Satnav system was operating, would provide an equivalent - and probably better version of what is on paper charts. There would still be a need to plot your course based on your last known position and the usual forces of tide, power and wind. Whoever was navigating the ship would need to know how to measure these factors and feed them into the system. If that can be achieved then the paper charts are less critical.

I am certainly not a Luddite - my job depends on the ongoing development of computer systems - but they do go wrong. Thank goodness they do or I would be unemployed.

Regards,

Brian
 

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David Wilcockson said:
The days of crewless ships can`t be far off being a reality, if not already in practice.
David (Night)
We're working on it
 

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Shaun Jones said:
Electronic charts show you where you are as opposed to where you were a few seconds or minutes ago. The accuracy and reliability is so good that it is inevitable that we will go down the paperless bridge route. Sooner the better................all your chart corrections on a CD-ROM that can be down loaded over INMARSAT. The future is Electronic soon to be followed by virtual navigation. All the concerns about turning off in war time etc are acknowledged but I feel totally overblown. Steam replaced sail and the world did not stop turning so electronic charts will replace paper charts.(Thumb) (Applause)
As one of the old school, I hate to admit it but you are entirely correct. Once again we are twenty odd years behind the aviation industry and they operate at 500 knots.
 

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Don't expect me to comment on navigation, I was a steward at sea. Officers and Engineers may become redundant with the new technology taking over but have they invented anything to make your beds for you? or, more importantly a cup of tea or coffee? That is a tongue in cheek comment guys! I am amzed at the size of the modern ships that sail now with such small crews! I mean the MV Surrey of about 8000 tons had something like 4 deck officers plus the skipper and perhaps a couple of apprentices. How many engineers did she have? it must have been 8 or 9 I think. I was the engineers steward for one trip and I recall engineers, refrigeration engineers, electrical engineers plus the Chief. Not to mention a heap of A/B's and O/Seamen and 4 Assistant Stewards, 2 Stewards Boys plus Pantry Boy and Galley Boy. The total crew numbered something between 50 and 60 I think. Peter Steele
 

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Electronic navagational aids are great, according to the sat nav in my car I live on the Moon. [=P] (Smoke) (Hippy)
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Hamish Mackintosh said:
Hey Guys! What about airplanes,never seen a chart room on they babies,nor seen the second pilot on the wing with a sextant (Hippy)

When ever I have sat next to a pilot he/she has had a paper chart folded on his/her knee and a loose leaf book with a sheet of the airport he/she his heading for. Those pilot cases that they lug around are full of paperwork.

Fred
 

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Tmac1720 said:
Electronic navagational aids are great, according to the sat nav in my car I live on the Moon. [=P] (Smoke) (Hippy)
Oul Hand
We must of bought the same model as Im there as well (Thumb)
 

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fred henderson said:
When ever I have sat next to a pilot he/she has had a paper chart folded on his/her knee and a loose leaf book with a sheet of the airport he/she his heading for. Those pilot cases that they lug around are full of paperwork.

Fred
Here and I thoukht it was their lunch(airlines are cutting back)Seriously tho I remember when I was taking my pilots licence the nav class was much the same as the maritime ones, but back then there was no radar either,(well there was but not as we know it today.)my point was the pilot can board a 747, punch in the co-ordinates of where one wants to go and the plane will do the rest.or so I was told at the last airshow I attended
 
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