As part of an on going mission to enhance navigation standards, navigation management company Da Gama Maritime have launched their new ‘Vasco App’. Having been accepted by the United Kingdom Hydrographic Office (UKHO) as meeting the standards to provide official paper chart corrections, this is the first means by which the information is provided to the mariner via an electronic tablet device.
“We appreciate there are other chart correction software packages already available but it became apparent to us that many of them are overcomplicated and bombard the mariner with more functionality than they need or want,” says Steve Monk, managing director of Da Gama Maritime.
“Despite our providing feedback to these companies, we realised the best course of action was to develop our own software which simply provides the chart corrections, tracings, blocks and notices required to maintain the paper chart outfit.”
While Monk realises that many superyachts are moving to ECDIS, a large number still carry a reduced paper outfit but don’t want to pay high costs for software to download corrections to what amounts to a few weekly updates. “Our app provides a much more economical solution with reduced download times, lower software costs and less time spent correcting the outfit,” he explains.
As a distributor of UKHO products, Da Gama Maritime felt that it was not necessary to incorporate any of the Admiralty Digital Publications (ADP’s) as updates to these are already available free of charge from the UKHO through e-mail and the Internet.
“We wanted to develop a product that gives the mariner just what they need to update their paper chart outfit without the addition of numerous other services which are provided already by the UKHO,” adds Monk. “At the same time we’ve also built the app in such a way it allows shore management accessibility to the chart outfit status of any of their vessels at any time via a web portal, without having to request the information from sea.”
The app has also been developed to allow for multiple copies of the same chart to be recorded in the system. This is beneficial for training academies to keep a record of the correction state of every chart even when they have many copies of the same one for their students, or for vessels that have routes inked in on copies of the same chart for regular routes in or out of port. Each copy of the chart can be given a unique tag or label for identification.
Folios within the app can be generated to either UKHO-recommended folio listings, as unique named custom folios to that vessel, or both. “We’ve seen that clients signed to our navigation management service don’t all follow the UKHO folio listing and therefore it was important for us to generate a product which suits everyone,” explains Monk.
“This app does just that and allows charts to be moved freely from UKHO to custom folios and vice versa, logged as dormant or ashore and even for the shore side correcting department to update the vessel’s outfit and record corrections completed when the charts are returned on board in order to reduce the workload back on the vessel.”
With the app available to any supported tablet, yachts are able to access official paper chart corrections quickly and easily keep their outfit up-to-date, with the safe knowledge that the information is officially recognised.