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USNA YP Squadron Makes Paperless Transit to Baltimore

Posted on: January 27, 2014 08:00 EST by MC2 Jonathan Correa

The Naval Academy Yard Patrol (YP) Squadron took a trip to Baltimore, Md., on YP-706 Jan. 24 relying primarily on the Electronic Chart Display and Information System (ECDIS) for navigation.

ECDIS is a computer-based navigation information system that complies with International Maritime Organization (IMO) regulations and can be used as an alternative to paper nautical charts.

“As the Navy is transitioning to a paperless one, we felt that it was important that the midshipmen experienced what that was like,” said Lt. Michael Walker, the squadron’s officer representative.

This was the first time the midshipmen made a long journey without using paper charts, so they had to be fully prepared.

“The trip to Baltimore was a significant one because it marked the first time that the squadron utilized ECDIS as our primary means of navigation,” said Midshipmen 1st Class Aaron Hill, YP Squadron commodore.

“It was important for the mids to understand and be able to operate ECDIS was because this is what ships are working with out in the fleet,” said Lt. Cmdr. Andrew Storey, navigation operational officer.

During the transit, the squadron simulated a catastrophic failure of the electronic navigation system, forcing the midshipmen to quickly transition to paper charts and establish the ship’s position.

“Midshipmen need to know how to operate when it’s not working well. They need to recognize when the ECDIS is displaying inaccurate information,” said Storey.

The midshipmen prepared for the transit with hours of training and exercises. Qualified Craftmasters evaluated their performance to determine they were ready for the trip, said Walker.

The transit helped all the midshipmen improve their skills and provided extra practice for the younger midshipmen preparing for the navigation class they will be taking later on in their academic career.

“I was very pleased with the efforts of the squadron both during the transit and ashore,” said Hill. “The crew of YP-706 handled the swap from paper charts to ECDIS very well and the overall situational awareness of everyone on the bridge was improved as a result.”

The Midshipmen were given a challenge and they performed beyond expectations, said Walker.

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