Automatic Radar Plotting Aids

This course provides training in the basic theory and use of Automatic Radar Plotting Aids (ARPA) for those who will be in charge of a navigational watch in vessels equipped with ARPA, and it covers the minimum training requirements recommended in Reg. II/1, II/2 & II/3, Sec. A-II/1, A-II/2 & A-II/3,Table A-II/1, A-II/2 & A-II/3 of the STCW 78 as amended in 2010.

The methods by which the ARPA acquires targets, tracks them and derives information on their movements will be covered in sufficient depth to allow an appreciation of the limitations of detection and accuracy, and the dangers of over-reliance on ARPA.

Other aspects covered include the different types of ARPA in use and their various displays; the content of IMO resolution A.823 (19) – Performance standards for automatic radar plotting aids; tests for the malfunctioning of equipment; the effects of inaccuracies in the input of course and speed; the selection of speed input to the ARPA; and the response of the system to change in course and speed of “own ship” or target.

The exercises will provide practice in the setting up of the radar; the selection of operational alarms and ARPA facilities, and the use of these to derive information on other ships, i.e. the movement, the ranges at closest points of approach (CPA), and the times to closest points approach (TCPA); the recognition of potential threats; and the use of ARPA to determine the action to take to avoid close-quarters situations in accordance with the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (COLREG 1972), and the subsequent monitoring of such action.

Those who successfully complete this course will have the proficiency, knowledge and competence in the use of ARPA to maintain safety of navigation at the operational level and maintain safe navigation through the use of ARPA and modern navigation systems to assist command decision making at the management level as set out inReg. II/1, II/2 & II/3, Sec. A-II/1, A-II/2 & A-II/3,Table A-II/1, A-II/2 & A-II/3 of the STCW 78 as amended in 2010.

Mandatory by STCW ’78 as mended in 2010.

Course Intake Limitations :

Class room size – maximum 18 seats – lecture rooms / workshops / laboratories
Learner / trainer ratio – Lectures – 18:1


Minimum Qualification : The lecturer/instructor would, as a minimum, hold a Certificate of Competency as Chief Officer (Unlimited).

Course Type

Full Time

Course Commencement Dates

On Demand


40 Hours

Entry Requirements

This course is open to students of the following categories.

  1. Those who wish to gain or enhance their knowledge in the use of ARPA equipment. Their experience and qualifications will be assessed by HND and their enrollment will be at the discretion of the HND.
  2. Hold a Radar Observation and Plotting Certificate.