Voyage data recorder, or VDR, is a data recording system designed for all vessels required to comply with the IMO's International Convention SOLAS Requirements (IMO Res.A.861(20)) in order to collect data from various sensors on board the vessel. It then digitizes, compresses and stores this information in an externally mounted protective storage unit. The protective storage unit is a tamper-proof unit designed to withstand the extreme shock, impact, pressure and heat, which could be associated with a marine incident (fire, explosion, collision, sinking, etc.).

The protective storage unit may be in a retrievable fixed unit or free float unit (or combined with EPIRB) when the ship sinks in a marine accident. The last 12 hours (48 Hours for the 2014 regulations MSC.333(90)) of stored data in the protected unit can be recovered and replayed by the authorities or ship owners for incident investigation.

Simplified voyage data recorder (S-VDR), as defined by the requirements of IMO Performance Standard MSC.163(78), is a lower cost simplified version VDR for small ships with only basic ship's data recorded.

Kelvin Hughes


Like aircraft "black boxes", ship's Voyage Data Recorders (VDRs) enable accident investigators to review procedures and instructions in the moments before an incident and help to identify the cause of any accident. From 1 July 2014 all VDRs installed must comply with the new standards. Kelvin Hughes new X-VDR meets these new standards and offers more flexibility, functionality and features to the operator.

The VDR collects data from the sensors on board the vessel and stores it in an externally mounted Crash Survivable Module (CSM). The CSM is a tamperproof unit designed to withstand the extreme shock, impact, pressure and heat associated with a maritime incident. The CSM may be retrieved from the vessel and the stored data replayed by the authorities for investigative purposes.

Kelvin Hughes Voyage Data Recorders (VDR) and Simplified Voyage Data Recorders (S-VDR) are type approved and exceed the requirements of IMO Performance Standards.

AMI Marine

AMI manufacture one of the most compact and reliable VDR/s-VDR systems in the world. It has been designing VDR systems since 2001 and its latest version, the VR2272B, is type approved Qinetiq and has received the coveted Wheel Mark standard.

For ships under 3,000gt and those not required to carry a voyage data recorder, the X-VHFR VHF voice recorder provides a cost effective means of recording VHF communications and vessel position at any given time.