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The Future of Navigation

The announcement by the UKHO in July 2022 regarding the gradual discontinuation of paper charts, with a final termination date set in 2026, marked a significant shift in maritime navigation practices. However, in a more recent development this year, the UKHO has revised its stance to accommodate mariners who continue to rely on paper charts and do not have Electronic Chart Display and Information Systems (ECDIS) onboard their vessels. 


This decision draws attention to the recognition by the UKHO of the varying needs and preferences within the maritime community. While the industry has been steadily adopting digitalisation for its numerous advantages, it's also vital to acknowledge the continued reliance on traditional paper charts by some segments of the maritime sector.

We’ve noticed mariners are increasingly opting for digital charts over traditional paper charts. This shift reflects a growing trend towards digitalisation within the industry. With advancements in technology, digital charts offer numerous advantages such as timely updates, enhanced accuracy and improved accessibility. As a result, an increasing number of mariners are adopting digital solutions recognising their efficiency and reliability compared to the cumbersome and less dynamic nature of paper charts. 


Alternative products that are available in place of paper charts include Admiralty Vector Chart Services (AVCS), Admiralty Raster Chart Service (ARCS) and unofficial Electronic Navigational Chart (ENC).

AVCS: These are official electronic charts produced by the Admiralty Hydrographic Office. AVCS provide detailed and up-to-date information about navigational hazards, water depths and other important features. They are vector-based and can be displayed on ECDIS.


ARCS: These are digital scans of traditional paper charts. They retain the familiar appearance of paper charts but offer the advantages of electronic navigation, such as zooming, panning and overlaying additional information. ARCS are typically used as a backup or as a supplement to ENCs.


ECDIS: ECDIS is a computer-based navigation system that integrates ENCs or RNCs with GPS data to provide real-time navigation information to mariners. ECDIS displays electronic charts and overlays navigational information such as ship's position, heading, speed and route planning tools. ECDIS has become increasingly popular as it enhances situational awareness and aids in navigation safety.



When paper charts are phased out, several related products and industries may be affected: 


Navigation Training and Education: Institutions providing training and education on traditional chart navigation methods may need to adapt their curriculum to focus more on electronic navigation systems and digital chart usage.


Specialty Navigation Equipment: Certain equipment designed specifically for paper chart navigation, such as parallel rules, dividers and navigational triangles, may become less commonly used or outdated as mariners rely more on electronic navigation aids.


Maritime Museums and Historical Societies: Organisations dedicated to preserving maritime history and artifacts may see a shift in focus as traditional paper charts become less prevalent. They may need to adapt their exhibits and collections to reflect the changing landscape of navigation technology.

Overall, the transition away from paper charts is likely to have a significant impact on various industries and products that are closely tied to traditional navigation methods. However, it also presents opportunities for innovation and growth in the digital navigation sector.

At Da Gama Maritime, we remain committed to printing paper charts to support mariners who rely on traditional navigation methods. While we recognise the growing trend towards electronic navigation solutions, we understand that some mariners still prefer the familiarity and reliability of paper charts. We understand that the transition to electronic navigation will take time for some and we are committed to supporting mariners during this process.


At the same time we fully endorse the movement towards electronic navigation. We appreciate the numerous benefits that electronic charts offer and believe that ECDIS can greatly enhance safety and efficiency at sea.


Therefore, while we continue to produce paper charts, we also encourage mariners to explore the advantages of electronic navigation. We offer a range of electronic navigation products and services to support mariners in their transition.

Ultimately, our goal at Da Gama Maritime is to provide mariners with the tools and support they need to navigate safely and efficiently, whether they choose to rely on traditional paper charts or adopt electronic navigation technologies. We are committed to staying at the forefront of navigation innovation while ensuring that no mariner is left behind in this transition period.


Water Revolution Foundation 

We are very proud to announce our official support of Water Revolution Foundation and their Crew Guidelines.

Their recently unveiled Version 1 which showcases optimal practices for crew members, providing valuable insights and encouragement for adopting more eco-conscious behaviours aboard yachts.

The guidelines have been written collaboratively by crew members and endorsed by many industry professionals.

Da Gama Maritime commends the dedication demonstrated by Danella Hopkins, formerly associated with Black Pearl and Water Revolution Foundation in this undertaking.

You can take advantage of these comprehensive guidelines at no cost to adjust your onboard practices, enhancing your awareness of opportunities to modify your daily routine. You can access the guidelines on the Water Revolution Foundation website, or feel free to direct message us, and we'll gladly send them to you.

Together with other prominent figures in the maritime sector, we are committed to actively disseminating these guidelines to our clients.

Additionally, we pledge to implement them within our Chichester office premises as part of our efforts on land.


An independent and confidential
reporting system for the Maritime industry


Please access the following links to review the two most recent reports from CHIRP, encompassing incidents involving lithium-ion batteries, tender groundings, safe navigation and other relevant topics. 

Superyacht Feedback Autumn 2023

Superyacht Feedback Winter 2023 

Removal of date for ADMIRALTY Paper Chart sunset 

The UKHO has now stated that they will no longer provide a timeframe for the future of paper charts. They had previously decided that the withdrawal of paper charts would not begin until at least 2030. However, the changes needed in the transition to digital charting are long-term and they need to wait for work on defining IHO standards for ECS navigation to be completed and take effect. Read more about UKHO updates on ECS digital solutions here.

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