Navigation around Greenland is markedly different from sailing in non-Arctic waters. It is generally difficult to navigate near Greenland for mariners who are not familiar with the conditions. This is partly due to the climate and the influence of the weather, but is also due to the fact that instruments such as compasses may become unreliable so far north. At the same time, the vastness of the sea area and the Greenland archipelago means that there are many places along the coast of Greenland, where no systematic and comprehensive surveys have been done. This means that there are still areas where the nature of the seabed is unknown.
The safety package, if you are planning to sail in Greenland waters
The Danish Maritime Authority, in cooperation with the Joint Arctic Command and the Danish Meteorological Institute, has compiled a safety package with information on safety regulations and international recommendations. The safety package highlights the special circumstances that apply to navigation in the waters of Greenland and the Arctic.
Mariners intending to sail in Greenland waters can download the safety package on the website of the Danish Maritime Authority.
The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has prepared a Code (Polar Code) and guidelines that provide relevant information for ships intending to navigate in Greenland waters. You will find the Code and guidelines here:
General information about Greenland waters
On the Danish Maritime Authority’s website, mariners can also find an annex to Notices to Mariners (EfS) called EfS A, containing information of a general nature about Greenland waters. EfS A contains information about ice accretion warnings, navigational warnings and meteorological reports, ice charts, rescue services, maritime safety information and positioning and reporting systems.
According to the Danish Maritime Authority's "Order No. 1697 of 11th December 2015 on Safe navigation, etc. of ships", it is mandatory for all passenger ships with more than 250 passengers on board , to use a certified pilot when sailing the inner and outer territorial waters.