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Old 22-10-2013, 16:14   #31
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Re: NOAA Stops Printing Nautical Charts

Quote:
Originally Posted by fishtrap View Post
Paper charts are a USCG requirement when a dockside curtesy exam is performed on commercial vessels, even with plotters and /or computers with ENC's are on board.
Not true since at least 2002, when the USCG promulgated a rule accepting a ECDIS as a replacement for paper charts. See
http://www.nauticalcharts.noaa.gov/s..._FRAUG2002.pdf
http://www.nauticalcharts.noaa.gov/s..._FRJUL2004.pdf

Which states in part...

if a ship has an approved ECDIS installed according to chapter V (SOLAS), the ECDIS will be considered by the Coast Guard as meeting its nautical chart regulation in 33 CFR 164.33(a)(1), because the ECDIS meets the same navigational safety concerns as do paper nautical charts. This policy benefits the ship owner and operator by relieving them of the need to unnecessarily duplicate equipment.
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Old 22-10-2013, 16:49   #32
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Re: NOAA Stops Printing Nautical Charts

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Originally Posted by Ann T. Cate View Post
In the possible collision situation mentioned above, I'd not be below fooling around with the chart; on deck judging what's next to do. Being proactive is a good deal.

Ann
+1 again!

Whether you're on paper or digital, that's a situation to be on deck, pilotage plan in one hand and VHF in the other.

Funny that the first thing our digital chart user thinks to do is start playing around with his computer...
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Old 23-10-2013, 06:52   #33
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Re: NOAA Stops Printing Nautical Charts

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cotemar View Post
The problem with printed charts are.
... 2) They do not have the ability to zoom into detail...
They don't require "zoom"; as all the information is always there.
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Old 23-10-2013, 07:20   #34
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Re: NOAA Stops Printing Nautical Charts

The second most dangerous thing onboard

October 23, 2013 Activecaptain newletter written by Jeff

Warning - this is a controversial subject. Actually, to call this controversial may be an understatement. I know many of you will disagree strongly with this premise. But the subject is real and worthy of
discussion. My intent is not to cause a holy war but instead to promote thought and discussion. After all if we agreed on everything, the conversations would be boring. When we respectfully disagree, discuss, and honestly look at different sides, we can begin to find what's right for each of us.

While Karen and I often co-write newsletter segments, this segment is all Jeff.

First, I believe the *most* dangerous thing to have onboard is a schedule. I've seen too many people get into serious trouble because they had to be at a certain place at a certain time. I've seen seasons end for cruisers. And I've even seen people sell their boats because of an incident caused by a schedule. I know all experienced cruisers will agree that a schedule is the most dangerous thing to have onboard.

Then what's the second most dangerous thing?

Today, I believe it is paper charts. My writing of this segment is based on a press release issued by US/NOAA yesterday titled, "NOAA announces the end of traditional paper nautical charts." In their announcement, NOAA warned that they would no longer be printing paper charts after April 13,
2014. Other companies can print the charts but there will no longer be price-fixed, standard NOAA paper charts from the US government. I think that's a big announcement and is just one more of a series of nails in the coffin of paper charts. It acknowledges what has happened in every other
industry which has experienced similar technology changes. In this case, it's the chart image, not the media, that's important.

My feelings about this started long ago. I was taught to navigate using dead reckoning by my father on his sailboat many years ago. For years, Karen and I only piloted with paper charts and until a few years ago we always had paper charts out in our pilothouse with our position updated every hour at a minimum. A couple of times a year we'd turn off all electronics and practice dead reckoning using paper to keep our skills up. Offshore, overnight passages were taken very seriously with pre-planned
DR positions calculations, planned speed, and course all worked out.

Back in these early-to-mid 2000's years, most cruising boats had a single laptop and a basic mobile phone. Because I wrote 3 chartplotter mobile phone products for Maptech, we had more devices than most boats but even then we only had 2 laptops and 3 mobile phones.

In 2005 we piloted our boat from Maine to Key West covering the Raymarine chartplotter and only using a 2" Palm handheld for navigation. If the weather was bad, we used radar and the full suite of electronics onboard but the charts were all displayed on a 2" screen. Needless to say, we made
it and I learned an amazing amount from that experience.

Over time the number of computer devices onboard all boats grew dramatically. Now most couples each have their own laptop and smartphone. New tablet/iPad devices are multiplying and most boats have one or more chartplotters. This wasn't a doubling of technology - it was a tripling or more. We now had different chart displays created by different manufacturers with new and exciting capabilities. 3D, crowd-sourcing, radar integration, AIS, and more became common. All of these computing
devices could connect to a GPS. Many even had one built in. The typical boat grew from having a chartplotter GPS to having 4 or more GPS's. I can easily put my hands onto 10 different and independent GPS's on my boat along with 3 built-in Garmin chartplotters and 6 instrument display
screens at my helms. I admit, I'm geekier than most, but there are more computing devices today on all boats.

I used to feel that paper added redundancy. The electronics were better and had more features but I still liked having paper to fall back on. I knew that electronic charts would eventually replace paper charts because of the added capabilities offered as hardware redundancy became more common.

Then something else happened. Having all of these electronic chart products onboard made boaters less likely to update their paper charts. We carried about $800 of paper charts and found it harder to justify the annual expense. As ActiveCaptain grew and we started meeting hundreds of boaters each season, we'd be onboard and I'd ask about their paper charts. It was common to find charts that were 3 years old. It was not unusual to find charts that were more than 5 years old.

In addition I noticed that on many helms the paper charts were acting mainly as coasters. Sure, they were there but they weren't even open. There were no pencil marks, course lines, erasures, or time marks. They were as fresh as the day they were purchased because, well, they weren't really being used anymore. This wasn't from a lack of skill or experience. I saw this on boats with tens of thousand of miles under the keel. It was because when they were underway, they were using the best
charts they had onboard, the electronic ones.

Right around this time, C-Map started a campaign about the dangers of out-of-date charts. NOAA started releasing updated charts almost every day. I witnessed this early because of all the navigation product integration we were doing with ActiveCaptain. Some navigation products actually update their charts from NOAA servers whenever there is an update. Amazingly today, literally hundreds of new charts are released every month from NOAA. This all started to change my feelings about paper
charts. No longer were they something that electronics would replace solely because the electronics had more capability. Now they were something that should be replaced because the paper was becoming so out of date as to be more dangerous than the electronics. It's the chart image, not the media, that's important

In December, 2010, we removed all our paper charts from our pilothouse. True to form, while overnight and offshore at North Carolina in April at 11 pm, all of our built-in electronics blinked and went black. This is one of the melt-down scenarios we hear about. But it turned out that even with a difficult offshore slue passage to make in total darkness, it was trivial with our backup electronics which handled the real need perfectly. When we arrived on the Chesapeake, we removed all paper
charts from the boat and have never missed them. First, here are my specific reasons why I believe paper charts are more dangerous than electronic ones:

- The paper charts onboard are typically far out of date. While there are areas like Maine that haven't changed in centuries, even Maine changes harbors, buoys, and channels. Consider the amount of changes to the New Jersey coastline after superstorm Sandy. Yet how many cruisers have updated those paper charts? However, even if you do update your charts annually, you still miss the almost weekly updates from NOAA.

- I have not gone onto a single boat in the last 10 years where the captain had gone over each and every Local Notice to Mariners to update their paper charts between chart editions. Be honest - do you even receive any of the 17 districts of LNTM updates published every week in the US alone? The job is just too big.

- The electronics have gotten so reliable and so redundant that you no longer need a backup paper chart with out-of-date information. Most couples now have about 4 backup chartplotters, some that are even in your pocket on your phone.


Here was my major Ah-ha moment. I guess you could call it the final nail in my coffin for paper charts:

With a chart drawn on an electronic screen, I can do DR plotting just as easily as I can on paper. It's easy to drop waypoints and marks electronically, measure distances, and set angles. It's quite simple to use traditional chart tools on top of screens as well, especially iPads. OK, leave the dividers with the needle sharp points in the drawer. But divider measurements are built into all chartplotter products and apps today.

These DR calculations work on phones too along with the other electronic screens you have onboard. A grease pencil can even be used if you feel you have to draw something. It all still works. The chart on your electronic device is the same as your paper chart only it's probably newer. It's the chart image, not the media, that's important.

One of the meltdown scenarios given to justify paper charts is, what if the entire GPS satellite constellation goes down, won't you lose everything? But I haven't even mentioned GPS yet. This is all using the electronic displays just like paper charts, only they're more up-to-date. In other words, all of these electronic charts give the same capabilities as paper charts. You can do the same measurements, course planning, or anything else you can do on paper.

But...

Most of the time the GPS satellite constellation has not been destroyed, hacked, or disrupted. Most of the time it works incredibly well. In that case, there is no paper chart in the world that will, by itself, show me where I am located. But every one of the electronic devices I have including all of my mobile phones will show me within 16 feet exactly where on Earth I am located. And it'll track my movement over current, georeferenced nautical charts. And it'll do it in any weather.

But there's more...

Did you know that some of the more advanced chartplotter software products perform automatic DR positioning when the GPS stops giving a fix? As you move you can update your current speed and course and it'll march you across the chart display without any need for making calculations in any weather. I'm sure there are other products but I've done it many times with Coastal Explorer. In fact, if the GPS goes out in CE, it'll give an alarm and go immediately into DR mode with your last
known course and speed set. You update your movement parameters and it'll continue to update your boat icon's position about once per second. There is no way that I could manually do the math every minute. And I wouldn't want to do the manual math on paper in 5 foot oncoming seas.

There are other three other melt-down scenarios that people always bring up when I've suggested that paper charts no longer have a place in coastal cruising:

1. Everyone knows that the electronics eventually fails. What then?

Redundancy. Just like when my Raymarine chartplotter failed offshore, my iPad picked up the job in a few seconds. In a few minutes, a spare laptop was running the same route and even controlling the autopilot. If both of those failed, there were another few replacements ready to take over too.
And that's not just my boat. It's easy and inexpensive to have that level of redundancy on all boats today.

2. All of this electronics requires power. So now you have a single point of failure.

No you don't. My boat's batteries can explode right now without affecting my phone or my wife's phone from operating perfectly. Both of our laptops will work. All 4 of our tablets will work. They're redundant because they have their own battery supplies.

And if you've followed any of the DragQueen anchor alarm discussions, we've suggested using extended battery backups for your mobile devices. We have three separate ones. Also don't forget that in a real emergency, with paper charts you'll be fixing your position a few times each hour
at most. You can easily turn on an iPad for a minute, grab your position, and turn it off over and over again and it'll last for days on its regular charge.

Note too that there are a myriad of interesting charging solutions available today. There are self-contained solar panels that charge a USB device. There are winding devices that you pull over and over or rotate to generate USB power. These are all inexpensive and easy to keep on a boat allowing you to make sure all of your portable electronics are charged no matter where you are, even if you're in a liferaft.

If you get rid of your paper charts, you might need to have some of these charging solutions. The savings is about $750 a year for us. Again, we have three of them.

3. Lightning always comes up - that'll get you - it'll fry all of your electronics.

Redundancy is the key again. First, we never have all electronics plugged in. Some are put away. During a storm, we protect a few devices by placing them in the microwave which creates a pretty good cage of protection (don't turn on the microwave). During a storm I also like to put a phone
in my pocket. I want to have it with me, to be honest, in case we end up in our liferaft. A press-and-seal baggie is all the water protection you'd need. Now if lightning strikes our boat in a way that fries the phone in my pocket, I've certainly gone into cardiac arrest and won't be around to
worry about paper or electronics any longer.

Here's a more realistic scenario. Lightning strikes and blows out a few windows or rips off some bimini covers. Now the paper charts are in the wind and rain getting soaked if not blown into the sea. Think you could navigate in that condition by paper?

There are also 3 issues generally raised with the discussion of the demise of paper charts:

1. I get a much better overview on a paper chart. You just can't do that with electronic charts.

I seriously don't see that. I think zooming works pretty well with electronic charts. And I like drawing non-permanent lines on electronic charts for planning. Electronic charts allow me to zoom in with context so I can get details on a particular area quickly. Zoom back out and get the overview. That type of thing requires page turning or chart finding and is very cumbersome with paper. I think this overview argument comes from the feeling that some people like the physical feel of the paper media on the table or in their lap. I sort of understand that but I wonder if the other negative issues with paper charts are really worth that very hard to define quality.

But even more than that, electronics allow me to have every chart in the US and Caribbean on my phone. When we're onshore at a restaurant, we can discuss and plan where we'd like to go next using real nautical charts. When I'm dreaming about spending the summer in Grenada someday, I can do it while sitting in a waiting room. I've yet to see someone bring their paper charts into a restaurant or a waiting room. And yet, I do that type of thing all the time with my electronic charts.

2. You're somehow not a real captain/pilot unless you're using paper charts.

In 2011, the IHO removed the carriage requirement for ships to have paper charts. They can now have a second ECDIS chartplotter and remove their paper forever. I'm not even considering having a single backup in our own boat. Again, most of us have 4-5 backups.

This argument falls apart in some places like Canada. For some reason, Canada requires recreational boaters to carry paper charts. I would expect that to change in the near future but it's law today. It's also quite rare.

3. Yeah but XYZ ship went aground because they were following GPS and electronic charts. Or a corollary of this is that when you're using electronic charts, it shows you on land every now and then.

First, do you have any idea how many ships were destroyed before modern GPS navigation? Seriously, do you think there are more navigation failures today with electronic charts or yesteryear before GPS and electronic charts? Now it's pretty big news when there's a navigation disaster. Coming from a coastal town in Maine, I can tell you that the coastline is strewn with the remnants of sunken vessels that went aground on the rocks. Compared to the volume of boating done today, GPS and electronic charts have proven their safety.

Then, yes, I've been on the ICW in the middle of the channel and the electronic charts have shown me on land. But those electronic charts were digitized from the paper charts. If the paper could show you
exactly where you were, it would show you on land too. It makes no difference whether you're using paper or electronics. You have to take position information in context with what your eyes actually see, right? Remember, it's the chart image, not the media, that's important.


Again, I know this is controversial. I know that there are some that will consider this as blasphemy. That's fine. We each have a right to our opinions and beliefs. You can still buy paper charts from a company who does print-on-demand or bundles them together in other ways. You still have that option, for now. I believe the NOAA announcement points to the future. The day is coming when paper charts will go the way of the chronometer, lead line, and sextant. I prefer to look forward and believe
it will lead to safer boating much the same way that printed charts, depth sounders. and AIS improved safety in the past. I believe the prudent captain will realize that the same money that used to purchase paper charts can be put into a tablet device which will allow easy charts updates. After all,
it's the chart image, not the media, that's important.

Please note - last week's very basic newsletter about GPS in cellular products generated 100 emails. Some wanted more info; some wanted to tell us we were wrong; some just wanted to complain about their phone. If that factual article generated that, this newsletter will generate 10,000 emails.
We can't answer them. Please do not email us or reply to this newsletter.
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Old 23-10-2013, 08:24   #35
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Re: NOAA Stops Printing Nautical Charts

Jeffrey Siegel's rhetoric against anything printed and anything that does not come from activecaptain has been around for years and is well known throughout the industry. Most boaters that have been around for any length of time take the, "here we go again" attitude. This announcement was expected to get just the response it has from him, so most of us don't think much of it. As a matter of fact, he has a discussion on his Facebook page and most of the people posting there don't agree with him at all. There is also a discussion with him on the SSCA Facebook page and very few agree with him. We all knew the newsletter would come out so his followers could pass it around, but as with most newsletters, there is no way to respond or add to the discussion. This is nothing new and has been repeated over and over and over and over again from activecaptain. Here's how it typically follows. Throw away, everything printed because it's dangerous and will destroy your boat and crew. Get rid of all electronics on board except your smart phone and iPad. Activecaptain integrated electronics are the exception. With only activecaptain and an iPad you can circumnavigate the world. We've all heard it before and we will indeed hear it again. NOAA is NOT getting out of the printed chart business, nor will they stop providing vital information for paper charts. They ARE NOT going away as Jeffrey would have us believe. The FAA Has stopped printing lithograph charts for NOAA for financial reasons. The charts will be readily available and actually a better product because POD charts have the most current updates. Too bad a simple announcement has to be turned into an individuals cause for further crusades. Not much will change. it's that simple. Paper isn't dead, or even ill for that matter. If you don't like paper charts, DON"T USE THEM. But please stop trying to convince the rest of the prudent, safety conscious skippers out there that they are somehow no longer competent because they don't get all of their navigation information from the latest and greatest and if it doesn't come from activecaptain it's somehow flawed and worthless. Come on, most of us are much more intelligent that that. Chuck
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Old 23-10-2013, 08:30   #36
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Re: NOAA Stops Printing Nautical Charts

By the way, the headline Jeffry quotes from NOAA is actually from the lame stream media, as he quotes, "NOAA announces the end of traditional paper nautical charts."The actual heading from NOAA reads, "Effective April 13, 2014, government stops lithographic printing of NOAA nautical charts". This is again a stretch to try and prove his point. Here is the NOAA posting, http://www.nauticalcharts.noaa.gov/s...nouncement.pdf .Chuck
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Old 23-10-2013, 09:36   #37
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Re: NOAA Stops Printing Nautical Charts

Starting yesterday (Oct 22) NOAA's Office of Coast Survey has full size, 400dpi PDF files available for download (trial) of 1000 NOAA paper charts.
Charts are available for download Oct 22, 2013 till January 22, 2014. Coast Survey will then evaluate usage and user feedback to decide whether to continue the service.

Original NOAA announcement page:
PDF Nautical Charts (Trial)

Program Feedback Page
http://nauticalcharts.noaa.gov/inquiry

Available Chart Directory
Index of /PDFs

For those of us who use (and will continue to use) paper charts, this is a nice alternative to manually converting the KAP files to PDF format and then printing. Much better resolution and less time. As far as printing, take the PDF files on a USB stick to any Kinko's, Office Max, etc and they will print them out. Much of the cost depends on the paper weight and finish you want them printed on. Most of the above office supply places have a 36" plotter which will print full size charts. Another trick is to have them printed in black&white only. In Central America we did a lot of chart swapping with other cruisers, and b&w was all that was available. Worked fine, and was actually easier to read under a red light.

The new PDF files are updated weekly just like the RNC and ENC files.

My only contribution to the debate above, is actually a quote from NOAA
" For mariners using paper charts to meet chart carriage requirements under federal regulations, only printed charts provided by NOAA certified POD providers will meet U.S. requirements when the traditional lithographic nautical charts are no longer available. POD charts meet stringent print standards and can be recognized by an official certification of authenticity printed on the chart."
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Old 23-10-2013, 10:32   #38
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Re: NOAA Stops Printing Nautical Charts

I think a lot of the claims that 'paper charts are history' comes from people who have made the decision that they prefer digital, and feel bound to justify their decision to the rest of us.

Cotemar presents his points very well in #34. Clearly, an accomplished digital chart user who has invested a lot of time in to becoming proficient in their use, and a lot of money in to the equipment. It's great that you've found a system that works well for you, but I don't feel this can justify claiming that paper charts are dangerous relics. They work well for me, and I could write a long spiel on why. As it is, I'll write a brief spiel... or try to.

I don't feel either side really has a cost advantage. Chartplotters and marine electronics in general are expensive, especially if you have a system with extensive redundancy, and digital charts themselves aren't cheap. If you're sensible about buying paper charts, costs are no more or less than the digital system. Both require periodic renewal.

Digital systems breed navigational laziness. Certainly, some all-digital users are highly competent navigators, but it's very easy to end up just using the chartplotter like a sat-nav in a car, and paper skills like dead reckoning and running fixes go out of the window when GPS let/long is staring you in the face 24/7... you hope. Show me a skipper brought up exclusively on digital who can work out, while at sea in 'choppy' conditions, a DR position with tidal vector from the atlas properly interpolated, leeway, deviation, variation, etc. and do it all in under a minute. I'd be impressed. I'd be more impressed still if the same skipper even knows what a running fix is. Many boats don't have that much redundancy in their electronics, so what does he/she do when the GPS goes blank?

Speed. I can consistently outpace someone on a chartplotter by using paper. Chartplotters require skill to use well, and plotting multiple tidal vectors, for example, is something which takes time to learn on a chartplotter and many don't bother.

Paper charts give a far bigger picture with better resolution than any chartplotter. I find the screen size of most plotters very restrictive, and have always felt paper gives me better situational awareness.

OK, lights sometimes move, but updating a paper chart isn't as hard as some people make out.

There is a place for both systems, and this is what many boats have. I like using paper for the reasons I have already given, but GPS/chartplotters have certainly saved me from embarrassment before now. I prefer the simplicity of paper, and that using it ensures I keep my skills current. If you refuse anything other than digital then good for you, but that doesn't make paper redundant and it CERTAINLY doesn't make it dangerous. The biggest danger I see is degradation of navigational skills through over reliance on the glowing screen.
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Old 23-10-2013, 10:32   #39
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I have said this before and will do so again: if it were up to me, in addition to outlawing paper charts, I would rip out and scrap every single navigational marker, buoy, range, lighthouse and so on and put law in place so that they never return.

If you sail into the coast/reef/bank without a lighthouse or buoy then you have no business being out there. Use radar, or a chartplotter, or create virtual markers on AIS (already in use), or your eyeballs. If all you can do is scrabble on a paper chart, then you better upgrade your knowledge to modern day standards or buy a house. I have read too many accounts from sailors that think you can't do bearings on an electronic plotter or radar set; this ignorance is not up to today's safety standards.
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Old 23-10-2013, 11:20   #40
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People actually pay for their electronic charts?

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Old 23-10-2013, 11:36   #41
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Re: NOAA Stops Printing Nautical Charts

Quote:
Originally Posted by s/v Jedi View Post
I have said this before and will do so again: if it were up to me, in addition to outlawing paper charts, I would rip out and scrap every single navigational marker, buoy, range, lighthouse and so on and put law in place so that they never return.

If you sail into the coast/reef/bank without a lighthouse or buoy then you have no business being out there. Use radar, or a chartplotter, or create virtual markers on AIS (already in use), or your eyeballs. If all you can do is scrabble on a paper chart, then you better upgrade your knowledge to modern day standards or buy a house. I have read too many accounts from sailors that think you can't do bearings on an electronic plotter or radar set; this ignorance is not up to today's safety standards.
Well then, we can all be thankful it's not up to you!

How many times have you had an electrical failure on board? How many times have you seen a paper chart spontaneously combust in comparison?
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Old 23-10-2013, 12:56   #42
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Quote:
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Well then, we can all be thankful it's not up to you! How many times have you had an electrical failure on board? How many times have you seen a paper chart spontaneously combust in comparison?
Personally, I have seen a chart plotter go down and the helmsman brought up a chart on his phone and did just fine.

I've also seen someone plotting on a 25 year old paper chart. I was thankful I wasn't joining him.

There really in no reason for debate on this as either side and those of us in the middle aren't budging either way.

Want only paper? Fine
Want only electronic? Fine

Personally I don't think either is right or wrong / good or bad / safe or dangerous

I do, however, this it's silly and immature to not take advantage of current technologies, strategies and techniques.

Just as silly as it is to not take advantage of long proven navigational knowledge.

To each his own
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Old 23-10-2013, 17:17   #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by europaflyer View Post
Well then, we can all be thankful it's not up to you! How many times have you had an electrical failure on board? How many times have you seen a paper chart spontaneously combust in comparison?
Never in 40 years on the water, and you?

There are hardly any markers where I sail (3rd world) and it is infested with reefs, rocks etc. everybody seems to do fine except those who should not be there to start with. Use American and Russian satellite navigation systems and have at least 5 at hand of which 3 operate on their own batteries. I also have a paper Almanac (Reeds Caribbean). I sold my paper charts years ago.

I have never met a sailor on a yacht who updated paper charts weekly like you're supposed to. According to many, this is endagering their own life and that of their crew and rescuers.
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Old 23-10-2013, 17:30   #44
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Old 23-10-2013, 17:53   #45
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Location: Thunder Bay, Ontario - 48-29N x 89-20W
Boat: (Cruiser Living On Dirt)
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Re: NOAA Stops Printing Nautical Charts

Quote:
Originally Posted by s/v Jedi View Post
... I have never met a sailor on a yacht who updated paper charts weekly like you're supposed to...
May I presume that your electronic charts are updated weekly (regularly)?
This is a QUESTION, NOT A CHALLENGE ... i have no experience /w E- Charts.
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