Bridge Equipment
Bridge Equipments Nautical Science

20 Types of Bridge Equipment Used Onboard Ship


Now these days there are so many Bridge Equipment Carried Onboard Ship, which helps mariners to navigate safely. However these are just an aid to navigation, so every mariner should use it cautiously by keeping in mind the limitations of these Bridge Equipment. Here we have listed 20 Bridge Equipment used onboard ship.

1. Electronic Chart Display and Information System (ECDIS)

What is Electronic Chart Display and Information System?

It is an anti-grounding tool. Passage planning can be done on ECDIS itself. OOW can monitor the passage plan easily with various alarms and indication on it. ECDIS has taken place of paper charts. On some ships there are no paper charts.

What is ECDIS?

2. Radio Detection And Ranging (RADAR)

What is Marine Radar and How does it works?

There is an Antenna fitted on the monkey island (Navigational bridge), which rotate continuously to detect ships, landmass and Navigational hazards in the vicinity, it is an aid to Navigation by which one can determine range and bearing of other targets. It has a display unit in the Bridge and is used for Position fixing and Collision avoidance.

What is Marine Radar?

3. Gyro Compass

Bridge Equipment

Gyro Compass is based on rotation of Earth and fast spinning gyroscope wheel to find the true north. It is a electrically powered instrument. Unlike magnetic compass it is unaffected by external magnetic fields.

4. Magnetic Compass

It is designed to find the directions and does not require any power supply. Works as a back up for Gyro Compass. It is mounted on the monkey island and it’s telescopic reflector extends up to the bridge. 

5. Automatic Identification System (AIS)

Bridge Equipment

It helps to identify and track the vessels in the vicinity which is a automatic system. We have to manually fill the information which will be shown to another ships in the vicinity. Although it provides extra information to the Mariner but one can not totally rely upon it because the information is filled manually and we can not determine accuracy of the information.

6. Long Range Identification & Tracking (LRIT)

LRIT automatically transmit the information like Identity, Position, Date/Time, etc in every 6 hours. It came into play on 19th May 2006 for SAR, to improve security and to protect the environment.

7. Global Positioning System (GPS)

Bridge Equipment

It consists of 24 satellites in six different position. Which provides a real time position of a ship. By this positions, the speed, time taken and course can be calculated between two positions.

8. Steering System

Bridge Equipment

We can steer ship either by the hand steering which is a Follow Up mode or Non-Follow Up mode. Now all ships have Autopilot which helps a mariner a lot. In Autopilot it control heading automatically. Which is possible by it’s Proportional, Derivative and Integral control.  Bridge Equipment

9. Course Recorder

Course Recorder

It records the ship steered courses. It has the ability to record the course simultaneously with respect to time (UTC). It is an important instrument because in case of emergency we can use the records of ship’s courses as a reference.

10. Voyage Data Recorder (VDR) or Simplified VDR

Credits: John Konrad/wikimedia

A VDR records all the activities related to navigation including audio. It is like a “Black Box” of aeroplane. We can use these records in case of an accident investigation. S-VDR came into action to reduce the price of VDR. However it do not record all the information like VDR but is records the important one.

What is Marine Sextant? It’s Principle, Parts, Errors and How to Use it

11. VHF


It is a two way communication which is used to transfer and receive messages. It can be used for reporting, communication with other ships in the vicinity, for sending distress messages, etc.

12. Echo Sounder

Echo sounder gives the information about depth below the ship. It is based on Sound Navigation and Ranging (SONAR), in which depth is calculated by transmission of Sound waves and reception of it’s Echoes.

13. Doppler Log

Doppler Log

It is used to measure speed and distance from one point to another. It is based on the principle of Doppler Effect. It shows both speed over ground and speed over water, depends on the surface from where the waves is reflecting.

14. Bridge Navigational Watch Alarm System (BNWAS)

This system is used to monitor the activity of OOW that he is actively keeping watch or not. It gives audible and visual alarms. OOW needs to manually press the button after a certain period of time (Normally 12 minutes). If they fails to do so the alarm will go to the Master’s cabin and other Officer’s cabin. If for any reason Master or other Officer fails to acknowledge the alarm then it will sound in the whole ship.

15.  Sound Reception System

It amplify the sound signal so the OOW can hear the sound clearly. It is used when a ship have fully enclosed bridge and can also be used when their is rough weather outside & bridge doors are closed.

16. ALDIS Lamp

It is a signalling lamp which is used for giving signals or attract attention of other vessels in the vicinity. It is can be used either by ship power or battery.

17. Anemometer

Echo Sounder
Credits: wikimedia

It is an instrument used to measure wind speed and direction, fitted on Monkey Island. When wind blows anemometer rotates and with the number of turn it calculate the wind speed.

18. Rudder Angle Indicator

It is used to indicate the rudder angle, fitted on the bridge head panel, bridge wings and engine room. By the help of RAI helmsman can steer the ship and control the ROT.


19. Rate of Turn Indicator (ROTI)

Rate of Turn, as the name indicates, provides the Rate at which ship is turning. ROTI measures in degrees per minute. It is fitted on the bridge head panel. 

20. GMDSS Equipment

Global Maritime Distress Safety System, it is used to send and receive distress messages and maritime safety information. Equipments comes under GMDSS are

  • Navtex
  • Digital Selective Calling (DSC)
  • Search and Rescue Transponder (SART)
  • Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB)
  • GMDSS Walkie Talkie

However there are so many bridge equipment but we have covered the important ones. If you want to add some more bridge equipment or any suggestion please let us know in the comment section.

Picture Credits: Bhuvan Sharma

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