Commercial Vessel Compliance

2/5/2016: New NVIC published – Use of electronic charts and publications in lieu of paper charts, maps and publications

The Coast Guard published Navigation and Vessel Inspection Circular, NVIC 01-16, to provide uniform guidance on what is now considered equivalent to chart and publication carriage requirements.

Combining the available suite of electronic charts available from the U.S. hydrographic authorities and the new Electronic Charting System, or ECS, standards published this past summer by the Radio Technical Commission for Maritime Services, the Coast Guard believes that official electronic charts provide mariners with a substitute for the traditional official paper charts. In addition, this technology will allow mariners to take advantage of information and data to enhance situational awareness during voyage planning and while underway.

“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,” said Capt. Scott Smith, chief of the Office of Navigation Systems. “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. Mariners have been requesting the recognition of this capability for some time. 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 new guidance applies to vessels subject to U.S. chart, or map and publication carriage requirements, as codified in Titles 33 and 46 CFR, and provides a voluntary alternative means to comply with those requirements.

“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.

View NVIC 01-16 for full details.

This blog is not a replacement or substitute for the formal posting of regulations and updates or existing processes for receiving formal feedback of the same. Links provided on this blog will direct the reader to official source documents, such as the Federal Register, Homeport and the Code of Federal Regulations. These documents remain the official source for regulatory information published by the Coast Guard.

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