Voyage data recorder systems-Certificate of Compliance

wpid-wp-1442585512060.jpegVDR Certificate of Compliance

A Handy Revision Guide

Another equipment related certificate, this time to the maritime equivalent to an aircraft’s ‘Black box’. 

Why is the Certificate of Compliance required?

SOLAS Chapter V Regulation 18

“The voyage data recorder system, including all sensors, shall be subjected to an annual performance test. The test shall be conducted by an approved testing or servicing facility to verify the accuracy, duration and recoverability of the recorded data. In addition, tests and inspections shall be conducted to determine the serviceability of all protective enclosures and devices fitted to aid location. A copy of the certificate of compliance issued by the testing facility, stating the date of compliance and the applicable performance standards, shall be retained on board the ship.”

Click here for Chapter V on the UK MCA website>

Which ships are required to carry a VDR or S-DVR?

SOLAS Chapter V Safety of Navigation Regulation 20- Voyage Data Recordersvdrimo

Click here for the IMO website on VDRs>


  • Passenger ships
  • Ships, other than passenger ships, of 3,000 gross tonnage and upwards constructed on or after 1 July 2002


Cargo ships of 3,000 gross tonnage and upward when engaged on international voyages, shall be fitted with a VDR which may be a simplified voyage data recorder

When must the performance test be carried out?

Annually within the following windows:

The maximum period between checks of the VDR is 15 months for Passenger vessels and 18 months for Cargo vessels.

What is contained on the certificate?vdrform

Reference  IMO MSC.1/Circ.1222

Ship’s Details

  • Ship’s Name
  • Flag
  • IMO Number
  • Date Keel laid
  • Gross Tonnage

Voyage Data Recorder Details

  • Manufacturer
  • Modelvdr2
  • System Serial Number
  • Software version number
  • Date Fitted

Inspection Details

  • Name person conducting testing
  • Company
  • Inspection Date
  • Inspection Location
    • Pre-existing Alarms
    • Power Supply Alarm Check
    • Reserve Power Source Check
    • Reserve Power Source shut down Check
    • Battery Expiry Dates
    • Acoustic Beacon Test
    • Physical Condition of Equipment Inspect Equipment and Record Condition
    • Interfaces: Operation and recording
    • Change or Repair of Sensors

Manufacturer’s Analysis

Observations and additional manufacturer’s requirements

What is a S-VDR?

A Simplified Voyage Data Recorder.This  is not required to store the same level of detailed data as a standard VDR, but nonetheless should maintain a store, in a secure and retrievable form, of information concerning the position, movement, physical status, command and control of a vessel over the period leading up to and following an incident

Items to be record on Voyage Data Recorder

Reference IMO Performance Standard (Res. A.861(20))


  • Date & time
  • Ship’s position
  • Speed (through water or over ground)
  • Heading
  • Bridge Audio
  • Comms audioimg_20160915_132855_hdr_kindlephoto-117081169.jpg
  • Radar data- post display selection
  •  Water depth
  •  Main alarms
  •  Rudder order & response
  • Engine order & response
  • Telegraphs, controls and thrusters
  •  Hull openings status
  •  Watertight & fire door status
  •  Acceleration & hull stresses- when fitted
  •  Wind speed & direction-when fitted


  • Date and time
  • Ship’s position m
  • Speed (Through the water or over the ground)
  •  Heading
  •  Bridge Audio
  • Communications audio  VHF communications
  • Radar data
  • AIS Data  AIS to be recorded if it is impossible to record radar data. If radar is recorded AIS may be recorded as an additional source of information

Some VDR links

GMDSS Users Handbook on Amazon

This book by Denise Bréhaut is is available in both paperback and Kindle editions, with a good discount for the electronic edition.  It has 4* reviews on Amazon , with some stating it is perfect accompaniment to the GMDSS qualifications. There have been some reviews claiming that the book is in need of an update, so have a look at the reviews, and judge which elements of the system you may have to top up your reading  with.  Click here to see the book on Amazon>

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One thought on “Voyage data recorder systems-Certificate of Compliance

  1. […] Voyage data recorder systems, Certificate of Compliance-SOLAS 1974, regulation V/18.8 […]


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