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Charlie 25-08-2006 16:14

Charts for BC
Hello All:

Things are progressing on the closing of our new boat at a snails pace. When we get the boat I am going to be keeping the boat in BC or WA for about a year to cruise those areas. I also don't want to spend too much $$ till I know what I am going to do with the boat how it works and how we work with it. To that end I am looking at getting some charts and thinking of getting a PC based chart plotter. It seems that once you go into Canada the charts start getting really expensive (They are copyrighted). Well what I'm trying to figure is are there any "deals" on charts for the area between Vancouver Island and the mainland. Both on paper and Electronic.

jimbim 25-08-2006 22:17

"It is a criminal offense under Sections 42(1)(a) and 42(1)(f) of the Copyright Act to make, sell, rent, or distribute infringing copies or works in which copyright subsists. Penalties for copyright infringement can range from jail sentences to monetary fines, or both. Copying and distributing copyright protected works without appropriate license result in jobs loss, negative economic impact on licensed producers and distributors, and potential hazard and financial and risk to the users."

But, as with Admiralty charts, the fact is that most everyone does it. Chart and copy shops can't do it legally, but you can do it on your own anywhere.

Charlie 26-08-2006 09:20

Thanks Jimbim:

I'm thinking I'll buy one of those chart atlases for the area and then see what I need from there.

jimbim 28-08-2006 01:28


I'm sure there are lots of places to get Canadian CHS catalogs, but Bellingham offers them here.

Or you can buy the skipper of a Canadian-flagged boat a beer and ask if you can borrow his BC charts for an afternoon.

rsn48 28-08-2006 16:02

The best place to get charts in Vancouver (BC) is a place on Granville Island called Quarterdeck. Charts in BC retail for $20 Canadian so if you're paying with American dollars you will get about a 15% discount (dollar exchange). Quarter Deck is relatively close to Steveston Marine and West Marine stores so if you can't find what you are looking for at one store, you can move on to the next. Sometimes one of the three charts I mentioned below are sold out as they are so popular.

I suspect you will only need 3 to 5 charts for your sailing needs. The first thought that went through my mind was that if the guy can't afford the charts, he can't afford the boat. You won't be going that far I suspect; the most Northerly spectacular area you are most likely to go to is "the Broughtons" which is across from Port Hardy which is at the top of Vancouver Island. This is the area covered by C+ Maps (from south of Seattle to Port Hardy), unless you purchase more.

Three charts cover me from the San Juan's to just above Qualicum Beach (on Vancouver Island). Add one more chart and that will probably get you Desolation Sound. The biggies for American cruisers are the Gulf Islands and Desolation Sound. If you want isolation and "raw" beauty, you might try the Broughtons.

The "Dream Weaver" series of books are excellent resources for the popular cruising areas. Oh and don't forget Jervis Inlet, but you had better know what you are doing (need cruising books) if you are going in there. The fastest current on the West Coast can be found in Jervis Inlet called "schocumchuck" (sp?) (big water). The area in Jervis Inlet is also incredibly beautiful, especially around Bridal Falls.

Charlie 28-08-2006 17:06


Thanks for the notice of what charts I need. I'll look for them. I'm not sure howwo far we'll get keeping the boat in Sidney BC and then sailing for three or four weeks at a time.

BTW unless you have a trust fund or some other unlimited source of money you probably won't get to the point where you can buy a boat unless you save money and then invest it. I always look for deals rather than pay full price.

Jimbim: Thanks for your thoughts.

rsn48 28-08-2006 17:30

Well I might have a deal for you. I bought a CD with apparently all the marine charts of BC on it for $40. The chap bought a used boat and it came with software, so he copied it and was flogging it. I bought the CD as a backup to the backup - sometimes I go over board. I have C+ and hard copy charts. I don't need the CD, but having said that the CD is buried in my home in North Vancouver. The charts are from a well known company, but I can't remember who at present as I've never used it. I also have the Quest (Garmin) GPS unit and was going to purchase the Blue charts for it from Garmin. If I can find the CD you are welcome to it for a nominal fee.

I'm typing this from my other home in Qualicum Beach on Vancouver Island and I won't be home to North Vancouver until this weekend. I'll search for it for you.

PS: I said "Dream Weaver" series when I meant "Dream Speaker"; here is a link to their excellent cruising guides:

hellosailor 28-08-2006 21:13

"once you go into Canada the charts start getting really expensive (They are copyrighted). "
YARH! Well, the US charts are copyrighted and fairly expensive on authorized editions, too. The difference is that our copyright is "to the people" and UK & ex-UK copyrights tend to be "Crown Property".

After you make the casual photocopies, jsut remember, keep them in a bound book with a large lead weight, and throw them overboard quickly before you are boarded.<G>

Shas 18-04-2007 20:28

SU charts copyright?
Maybe they are, but the US Gov't
specifically grants permission to copy them.
Heck, you can DOWNLOAD them for FREE,
along with the Pilots and other NOAA publications.
Then you, too, will have "authorized editions" of your very own!

Office of Coast Survey - Home - Nautical Charts

Shas 18-04-2007 20:33

I lust for the Bluecharts, too,
but Garmin's prices are obscene.
Not on a per-chart basis, mind you,
but when it costs over $2,000
to access the info on a single CD
I feel like a sheep being fleeced.
Which is what I told the Garmin representative I spoke with.

Almost as bad is the fact that each generation of Garmin
(which happens as often as new generations of mice)
requires a whole new Bluechart system
and will not use the previous charts.
I have two generations now and was going to buy
a new GPS/sonar for my daughter's boat,
but I'd have had to buy a THIRD set
of very expensive software.

Shas 18-04-2007 21:40

Here is another source of FREE NOAA charts:

" is your online resource for downloading free NOAA Digital Charts that work in Maptech/BSB-compatible navigation programs and chartplotters."

This really works!
You choose the charts you want,
they send you (immediately) an email
with a link for your "order",
and -ZIP- they are on your hard drive.

Pblais 19-04-2007 04:39


Here is another source of FREE NOAA charts:

Maptech actually makes the charts as the contractor for NOAA. The site above has a few features and one is the ability to download maps into one of their products. If you have a broadband connection or want a lot of charts at one time then the NOAA site is a faster download. It is the exact same maps in each location. If you download everything it's about 1/2 GB for the ENC charts and 3 GB for all the raster BSB charts.

This is a link to my gallery image of the ENC coverage available. It also includs the inland rivers that you have to get from the Army Corps of Engineers. They are also free.

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