The full-blown ECDIS Standards can be inappropriate for smaller non-SOLAS vessels because of lack of space, electrical power and cost considerations. In 2002, The Sea Fish Industry Authority, in partnership with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) and the United Kingdom Hydrographic Office (UKHO, led an initiative in developing a performance standard for a physically smaller ECDIS to be known as Mini-ECDIS.
External Seafish project consultant, Dr Steve Taylor of Geomatix Ltd said "Because of the large size, complexity and cost of a ECDIS navigation system, the use of non-approved electronic chart systems has proliferated, especially on smaller vessels such as fishing vessels. However, these electronic chart systems known as ECS, do not satisfy the UK regulatory requirements for navigation. Mini-ECDIS is smaller and cheaper than the full-blown ECDIS and yet it meets the UK regulatory requirements for navigation, so it fills this gap in the market."
Equipment meeting this new standard can now be used for navigation of fishing vessels and other vessels under 24m (code boats). The Sea Fish Industry Authority are now in a position to approve applications from manufacturers of suitable equipment. The UKHO are also developing a special set of S57 fishing charts, in addition to the new S57 ENC's which now have almost 100% coverage. Click the IC-ENC website to view the current S57 ENC vector navigational chart coverage across Western Europe.
Marine Guidance Note 319
In October 2006 the UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) issued Marine Guidance Note 319
A process of self-certification is in place, enabling manufacturers to claim Mini-ECDIS compliance. Certifying manufacturers will issue a certificate with each compliant item of equipment, and can also optionally use the Mini-ECDIS logo on equipment and packaging.