Who approves the ECDIS?

To ensure that ECDIS equipment intended for onboard use is seaworthy, it must pass type approval and test procedures developed by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) based on the ECDIS Performance Standards of IMO and applying the IHO requirements, S-52 and S-57 in particular.

Type approval is a method to show conformance with IMO requirements on a legal base – it is initiated and required by all flag states, which are Member States of the European Union and by many others outside including United States, Japan and Australia. ECDIS type approval is the certifications process that ECDIS equipment must undergo before it will be considered to comply with the IMO Performance Standards for ECDIS by the international shipping community.

Type approval is normally conducted by recognized organisations or by marine classification societies nominated by Flag States. Some maritime nations also have type approval programs within their maritime safety administration or Department of Marine Transportation. European Governments within the European Union have agreed about mutual recognition of their ECDIS type approval certificates – indicated by the so-called “Wheel Mark” sign of conformity – by the so-called Maritime Equipment Directive.

At the request of IMO, the IEC established the operational methods of testing for an IMO-compliant ECDIS. For each of the sections contained in the IMO Performance Standards for ECDIS, IEC developed appropriate test requirements, procedures and required test results. Recognized organisations are making use of this test standard to conduct their type approval process.

This also applies to each of the various ECDIS related specifications provided in the current versions of IHO S-52 and IHO S-57 and associated appendices. The IEC ECDIS Test Standard is contained in IEC Publication 61174. In addition IEC 61174 refers to the application of other test standards to an ECDIS.

In particular to IEC 60945 , containing general requirements for robustness of the device against environmental influences and for software design, and IEC 61162 for data interfacing.