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AIS is a location and messaging aid. If it was off and the location of the vessel in distress was not known with certainty, then ECDIS would be more useful for planning the SAR.
Similarly, AIS would tell what the others are doing. Well established Flag State Administrations do not recommend reliance on AIS information for Collision Avoidance. ECDIS on the other hand would allow the mariner a clear understanding of the situation around own vessel. This capability is further enhanced with Radar/ARPA and AIS overlay.
So, on ECDIS one can have a clear awareness of navigational situation with a chart view as well.
It must be noted that accuracy of position displayed by ECDIS is subject to the position fixing system in use. Frequent cross check of position must be made.