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Old 23-06-2018, 10:06   #1
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Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Mesa, Arizona
Boat: Nor'sea 27
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Recommendations for charts for Georgian Bay and North Channel

Hi all! Iím in Saint Clair Shores planning a trip for Georgian Bay and the North Channel. I hope to get some input from knowledgeable boaters of Lake Hurons Georgian Bay and North Channel navigational aids

Do I have to have Canadian paper charts with me?

I have a older Richardsonís Lake Huron 4th ed, and a Waterway guide Great Lakes 2018
Iíll be using a Garmin GPSmap 820 and have the Canada Blue Chart g2 SD card of Feb 2014

Some articles Iím reading indicate I can be fined if I donít have Canadian paper charts (probably about 20 charts at $20 each) at

Iím new to the area. Have a Norísea27 with a 4 foot draft. Iím a solo sailor.

As I donít want to ground, or get lost and be a nusiance to others, Iíll buy the charts if required to have the paper version. (Toronto) offers an electronic version of 22 charts for $56.45 which is attractive. They are in BSBv3.0 format. They recommend OpenCPN to use. Itís unlikely these would integrate to Garmin.

Iíll have a Macpro laptop and could load OpenCPN.

Thanks to all who responded!
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Old 29-06-2018, 20:26   #2
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Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Central Ontario
Boat: Sandpiper 565, Tanzer 22
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Re: Recommendations for charts for Georgian Bay and North Channel


The law is I believe that only paper charts published by CHS are legal. You are also allowed to not have charts if you have "local knowledge" of the waterway.

It is also the law that the speed limit is 100kmh on the 400 series highways, yet less than 1 in 100 drivers obey this and police don't much enforce it.

I use my GPS, Richardson chartbooks and TrakMaps chartbooks. None are legal. All are effective. I have never heard of anyone being charged for not having the legal charts.

What you might worry about is making sure you have the correct PFDs, flares, flashlight, throw line etc. They do spot check this stuff. I think as a foreigner, if you have what is legal in your home jurisdiction, you will be legal in Canada, though I don't think there is much different.

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Old 14-08-2018, 04:55   #3
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Re: Recommendations for charts for Georgian Bay and North Channel

I agree with Boulter.

We sailed from Muskegon, Michigan to the NC and later to Nova Scotia by the Welland and Saint Lawrence. I had electronic only on the Simrad and the backup hand held for the North Channel. Canada check in was by phone kiosk. We never saw a customs agent in all of Canada ever. We also never saw any Canadian enforcement persons or boats. I also understood the rule was relaxed for Americans regarding paper. I believe they really donít care what you use on your small private vessel as long as you are prepared. We carried paper Canada Hydrographic charts for the Saint Lawrence. Expensive, bulky but convenient for long range planning.

I believe all electronic charts are derived from CH data. They hold a monopoly and make plenty on the charts and data. For that reason, They are identical. We found many glaring errors and anomalies especially in the North Channel. The electronic version at one point had us sail through an island. The channel markers on the water taking us safely around the island were obviously in error The most common error was depth. In many places we found water deeper by as much as a factor of 2. While this error is in the ďsafe directionĒ it makes corroboration of your position by matching depth to the chart unreliable.

Keep your navigation in the North Channel to daylight hours and use your common sense. Your size and draft will make it easy. Be sure to visit Baei Fine and Topaz Lake. We are in Trinidad now but I would love to sail the NC anytime. It is rated one of the top ten cruising destinations on earth.
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