Old charts are a growing problem
Nautical charts, whether paper or electronic, can become quickly outdated as storms and currents alter waterway topography or aids to navigation change with little warning. That's why Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS), the United States Power Squadrons, and several other organizations have teamed up with NOAA to create The Alliance for Safe Navigation, whose goal is to help ensure boaters have the most current chart data available every time they head out.
The Alliance is asking boaters and anglers to take a short, three-minute online survey that inquires about the navigation products used aboard their boats. The survey, located at www.surveymonkey.com/s/PDGX3MK, is completely anonymous and the group will use the results to improve awareness and availability of chart updates for recreational boaters.
In addition, boaters can go to www.allianceforsafenavigation.org and enter the numbers of their most commonly used charts and instantly see a list of all the changes for that chart since the last print date. "I think some boaters and anglers will be surprised at the number of updates posted for their home waters," said Elaine Dickinson of BoatUS.
"Many skippers don't realize that even though they have a GPS and a chartplotter, the electronic charts in their receiver may be just as out-of-date as their paper charts," continued Dickinson. "Fortunately, updating is easier than ever with print-on-demand charts and free NOAA downloads available. Manufacturers of chart products also have update subscriptions to alert their customers when a new edition is released," she added.
To see the full selection of NOAA navigation products, go to www.nauticalcharts.noaa.gov/staff/chartspubs.html. Founding members of the Alliance for Safe Navigation include BoatUS, US Power Squadrons, OceanGrafix, Jeppesen Marine and Sea Tow Foundation.