Regulation 15 - Principles relating to bridge design, design and arrangement of navigational systems and equipment and bridge procedures


  • Requires owners, naval architects, manufacturers and administrations to ensure compliance with specified ergonomic principles.
  • Requires owners and masters to ensure that bridge procedures are adopted which take ergonomic criteria into consideration
Regulation 15

All decisions which are made for the purpose of applying the requirements of regulations 19, 22, 24, 25, 27 and 28 and which affect bridge design, the design and arrangement of navigational systems and equipment on the bridge and bridge procedures* shall be taken with the aim of:

1.1 facilitating the tasks to be performed by the bridge team and the pilot in making full appraisal of the situation and in navigating the ship safely under all operational conditions;
1.2 promoting effective and safe bridge resource management;
1.3 enabling the bridge team and the pilot to have convenient and continuous access to essential information which is presented in a clear and unambiguous manner, using standardized symbols and coding systems for controls and displays;
1.4 indicating the operational status of automated functions and integrated components, systems and/or sub-systems;
1.5 allowing for expeditious, continuous and effective information processing and decision-making by the bridge team and the pilot;
1.6 preventing or minimizing excessive or unnecessary work and any conditions or distractions on the bridge which may cause fatigue or interfere with the vigilance of the bridge team and the pilot; and
1.7 minimizing the risk of human error and detecting such error if it occurs, through monitoring and alarm systems, in time for the bridge team and the pilot to take appropriate action.

* Refer to Guidelines on ergonomic criteria for bridge equipment and layout (MSC/Circ.982) and the Performance standards for IBS (resolution MSC.64(67); annex 1); and for INS (resolution MSC.86(70); annex 3).

MCA Guidance
1. Regulation 15 applies primarily to companies, ship builders and naval architects. Masters and watchkeepers of all vessels are responsible for ensuring the efficient deployment and use of bridge resources in particular noting the requirements of 15.1.6.
2. The Regulation addresses the principles to be followed in the design and layout of ships' bridges and the establishment of bridge procedures using ergonomic criteria. These criteria are detailed in IMO MSC/Circ.982. Where ships are fitted with Integrated Bridge Systems (IBS) or Integrated Navigational Systems (INS) the appropriate IMO Performance Standards should be referred to.
(For Performance Standards see also Regulation 18).
3. The Regulation specifically covers decisions which are made for the purpose of applying the requirements of Regulations 19 (Navigational Equipment), 22 (Bridge Visibility), 24 (Heading/Track control systems), 25 (Operation of main source of Electrical Power and Steering Gear), 27 (Nautical Charts and Publications) and 28 (Records of Navigational Activities.)
4. The Regulation addresses designers, manufacturers and shipowners with respect to the bridge design and layout. However, the responsibility for ensuring correct bridge procedures are adopted lies with the Master.
5. The way in which navigational-related information is displayed on various equipment items varies considerably between different types of equipment and manufacturers. To reduce this problem all such information on displays fitted on or after 1 July 2008 should be displayed in accordance with the IMO Performance Standards as set out in IMO Resolution MSC.191(79) - Performance Standards for for the Presentation of Navigation-related Information on Shipboard Navigational Displays.
6. Masters should therefore be familiar with the principles involved to ensure that personnel are fully familiar with the equipment and its layout and that procedures are adopted which optimise the design and layout of the ship's bridge.

Of particular importance to Masters is paragraph 1.6 relating to the prevention or minimisation of unnecessary work or distractions in order to minimise fatigue and maximise the bridge team's vigilance.
For further guidance refer to MGN 277 - Fatigue: duties of owners and operators under Merchant Shipping legislation.

8 Personal electronic navigational equipment: Crew members sometimes possess their own portable electronic navigational equipment such as GPS and ECS. The MCA recommends that Masters should not allow the inappropriate use of such equipment on the ship's bridge.

Mobile phones are increasingly becoming a distraction to bridge team vigilance.
The MCA's concern over this trend is detailed in MGN 299 (M&F) Interference with Safe Navigation through Inappropriate use of Mobile Phones.
Masters are requested to ensure compliance with the advice given in this MGN.


The MCA considers that MSC.Circ/982 is intended for guidance and documentation is not required to verify compliance with individual guidelines. However compliance is required with the international standards given in Appendix 3 of MSC.Circ/982. For plan approval of bridge design compliance should be demonstrated with:

ISO 8468 ('Ships Bridge Layout and Associated Equipment' Requirements and Guidelines,) and if applicable

ISO 14612 (Ships and Marine Technology ' Ships Bridge Layout and associated Equipment' additional requirements.)

Bridge equipment should demonstrate compliance with the ergonomic requirements given in:

IEC 60945 (Maritime Navigation and Radiocommunication Equipment and Systems 'General Requirements' Methods of Testing and Required Test Results)


Integrated Bridge Systems (IBS) must comply with the IMO Performance Standards for Integrated bridge Systems - MSC.64(67). To demonstrate such compliance the MCA requires documented evidence in the form of a Failure Mode Effects Analysis (FMEA).



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