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Old 04-10-2009, 06:51   #1
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Lake Ontario Charts

Wondering what people's comments are on using Richardson's Chart Book for Navigating Lake Ontario and St. Lawrence Seaway?

It costs roughly $70CDN and apparently covers both Canadian and U.S. side and has harbor maps for all harbors.

If find it a bit ridiculous that it could cost 1000 or more? for every government published chart of the lake and seaway.

I know in the Richardson's Chart book it says not for navigational use, however they are government maps used to publish the book.

Why can the book not be used? Much more economical
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Old 04-10-2009, 07:38   #2
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We use Richardson's, have done so since the late 80s, both for G. Bay and Lake Ontario. Their charts are reprints of government charts, some US and some Canadian. They just put that "not for navigation use" on it to avoid liability if you go aground. Compared to the crappy charts we had on our last chartplotter, the unfortunately brain dead Magellan FX324, Richardson's was more accurate.
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Old 04-10-2009, 07:46   #3
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Richardson's is fine. If you want more detailed guides and charts of the harbours get the "Ports" book, a Lake Ontario cruising guide.
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Old 04-10-2009, 08:28   #4
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Richardson's Legal?

Are the Richardson's Chart book considered legal and up to date?

What if I'm stopped by Coast Guard/Opp?

Transport Canada says you must have largest scale most current edition
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Old 04-10-2009, 08:41   #5
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outdoor,

With all due respect I think you're worrying about nothing. As to being up to date , no chart is unless you correct them from the notices to mariners. I have never heard of the CG or OPP asking about charts. Half the boats running around Lake Ontario, especially the smaller sail and power boats probably don't have charts aboard. I have a very old (1985?) copy of Richardson's aboard. AFAIK, with the exception of shoaling in many harbour entrances, (not shown on charts, by the way) not much has changed on Lake Ontario but do keep your eyes open for the odd weather buoy out there.
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Old 04-10-2009, 09:15   #6
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Vasco's right. And as an ex-OPP officer I can assure you they are not interested in charts, they'll want to see your safety equipment and check you for open booze. I have never seen the CG doing enforcement work in 30 years of boating on the Great Lakes. The thing about having the latest charts is a recommendation by Transport Canada, it carries no force of law. If it did, all the whack jobs on the Trent-Severn waterway who use the paper restaurant placemat maps of the waterway to navigate by would be in big trouble! I realize it is the Nanny State up here nowadays but I think you'll be fine with Richardson's.
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Old 04-10-2009, 10:15   #7
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Law Obiding

Thanks.

I'm always trying to follow the letter of the law. I do tend to worry too much

Transport Canada says it is a requirement unless you are familiar with the area hazards, buoy, shoals, etc.. etc...

Which to me is a bit open. What test determines if you are familiar? Next summer will be my first year on Lake Ontario, so I'm not familiar

I don't understand how they are not enforceable law? They are part of the same rules for having flares, anchor, baler, sound signal, fire extinguisher etc..

I think though I will go with Richardson Chart book as you have suggested.

have not looked at it in detail, but thought it had detail harbor maps as well?
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Old 04-10-2009, 10:30   #8
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As for what Transport Canada has on their website, that does not make it law. They are suggesting many things there, some of which are law, but it is the Small Vessels Regulations under the Canada Shipping Act that sets the law. Read that legislation if you want to know what is required by law for safety equipment on boats, there are links to it on TC's website.

Charts are always something the prudent mariner would have and use, but they are not, AFIK, required by law in Canada, yet.

As Vasco suggested, the Ports guide is very good for harbours. They have aerial shots and a lot of local info. Get it and Richardson's and you are good to go!
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Old 04-10-2009, 21:13   #9
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Get a current large-scale chart of Lake Ontario. This is very helpful in planning point-to-point bearings, particularly when dealing with shifting winds (remember to gybe around 2 pm, and so on).

Get a current Richardson's Chart Book. This is great for general descriptions and "finer" scale bearings. The more current book will have more current buoy changes...but not necessary the latest changes. You need to check out Notice to Mariners for that, and to amend your "chart book" accordingly.

Ports is a good resource, but for nav use, I only use the daymark bearings and read the descriptions.

For "real" nav use, I bought "Sailing Directions for Lake Ontario", a regularly updated and reasonably priced ($15 or so) publication that gives waypoints and "word pictures" all along the lake. When used in conjunction with the Richardson's charts, it's all you need.

Just be aware that you can make mistakes out of ignorance. Some government body removed the "Peter's Rock" 21 foot buoy about a mile west of Cobourg between 2004 and 2005, and I went way out into the lake before I made my turn west to Toronto in 25 knot easterlies (urp!) before I figured I was sufficiently offshore. I spent about 45 minutes confirming to my own satisfaction that the crappy little buoy that had replaced the magnificent structure of former years in fact marked the end of a rocky reef.

Things change, and if you don't want to spend money for the current chart, you have to do your homework. On Lake Ontario, this isn't a big deal, but it's not completely inconsequential. There are people just learning today that the "Four Sisters" in Mississauga came down two years ago, and they are learning it by running smack into unlit piers in the dark.
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