I don't want to fan the flames of the "Great Paper Chart Debate", and apologies if this has been covered before. For those who are interested I just ran across a new free product from NOAA: BookletChart™ (Experimental)
. These are standard NOAA raster charts
cut into page sized chunks and available online in PDF format. One can download them for free and print copies. NOAA has added a limited amount of info from the relevant Coast Pilot. These appear to be primarily intended for small boats navigating by eyeball in coastal areas.
Because of the way they are cut up, they will not work very well for standard plotting of fixes and dead reckoning. Rather, they are meant to be kept handy in the cockpit
for quick and dirty reference. They might also be handy if one wants to do some extended exploration away from the mothership by dingy or kayak
. One advantage is that you can print up only that portion of the chart you really want, and not have to carry the whole thing. They could probably work fairly well in conjunction with a handheld GPS
Much to my surprise, they are even available for Alaska
(up here we often seem to be among the last to get new products). I just printed a few up on water
resistant paper, to try them out. I use "National Geogrphic TOPO! Adventure Paper", but there are other brands. I don't see them as a substitute for either full size paper charts
or electronic charts, but rather as one more option for certain uses. The price
is certainly right.