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Old 25-06-2018, 07:04   #1
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Are Canadian Charts required in Georgian Bay/North Channel upper Lake Huron/Ontario?

I didnít get a response in the Great Lakes Destination section, so I thought I would post here.

Iím in Saint Clair Shores MI planning a trip for Georgian Bay and the North Channel in upper Lake Huron/Ontario. Iím new to the area.

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?
Iíve heard locally answers range from absolutely yes to only if you want them

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 online indicate I can be fined by Canadian Coast Guard if I donít have Canadian paper charts (probably about 20 charts at $20 each) at nauticalmind.com

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

As I donít want to ground, and be a nusiance to others, Iíll buy the charts if required to have the paper version.

Nauticalmind.com (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. Again, unclear if paper charts are required

Thanks to all who responded!
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Old 25-06-2018, 07:25   #2
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Re: Are Canadian Charts required in Georgian Bay/North Channel upper Lake Huron/Ontar

I understand it is technically a legal requirement to carry the proper paper charts in Canadian waters, but I have never, ever heard of any attempt to enforce this apparent law. My advice, donít worry about the legal question.

Now, you should definitely have reasonably up to date Canadian charts for Georgian Bay and the North Channel. There are some large scape NOAA charts that cover some or all of the area, but they would not be adequate for near-shore cruising.

Personally, Iíd be fine with a fairly current Richardsonís, in addition to up-to-date digital charts. Iím not sure which how old the 4th edition is vs the current one. Might be worth the money to upgrade. A 2014 digital chartset isnít too bad, but again, if money isnít a big barrier Iíd consider updating.

These waters are navigationally challenging. Islands and rocks abound. Mostly, the donít move, but some do. And current channel markers can definitely shift. Be sure to listen to the weekly water levels (how far above chart datum). This matters. And be aware of seiches caused by wind and/or atmospheric pressure changes. This can raise or lower water substantially in shallow bays.

Thereís tons of small islands and rocks, and especially in Georgian Bay, they can all look the same! You need to pay constant and close attention to where you are. And if you ever have any doubt whether This Island Island is indeed This Island, you should stop and sort it out.
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Old 25-06-2018, 08:15   #3
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Re: Are Canadian Charts required in Georgian Bay/North Channel upper Lake Huron/Ontar

Mike, thanks for your sage advice!
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Old 25-06-2018, 08:22   #4
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Re: Are Canadian Charts required in Georgian Bay/North Channel upper Lake Huron/Ontar

Hello Zugbug99. We have been cruising Georgian Bay for the past three years and have not yet done the North Channel (on the list). We are in the southern part and can attest to the numerous channels and fantastic anchorages. I am told that the North Channel is far nicer. Having said that I wouldn't go out without having all the paper charts, and updated Navionics on board. I don't use the paper charts but having them gives me peace of mind. When we finally do the North Channel I will be purchasing the paper charts and making sure my electronic ones are up to date.

Happy sailing and enjoy. PM me with you experience.
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Old 25-06-2018, 08:31   #5
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Re: Are Canadian Charts required in Georgian Bay/North Channel upper Lake Huron/Ontar

I was curious and found a couple of online references:

The Future of Paper Charts

This reference says you must carry Canadian charts, but not specifically paper:

Nautical charts and services

And this official Canadian guide (see page 37) mentions both official paper and electronic maps as acceptable:

http://www.tc.gc.ca/media/documents/...ty/TP-511e.pdf

Have fun,

Dan
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Old 26-06-2018, 08:50   #6
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Re: Are Canadian Charts required in Georgian Bay/North Channel upper Lake Huron/Ontar

I would consider paper charts to provide context for tricky areas. My understanding from others is that submarine ledges and shelves abound and the transitions are pretty sudden. It's the sort of place my forward-looking sonar would get a workout.


The other point to consider is that the lack of a close-in chart for some areas might deny you a really nice anchorage or even tying off to shore in a deep fjord-like inlet, because you are being cautious. You may be able to get old charts free or for cheap, and you may be able to trade charts as you explore. It's a complex cruising ground compared to most, and I think it's worthwhile to go in prepared. The last point to consider in this sense are "outs": which inlets or behind which islands are safe to duck if the weather goes pear-shaped. Thunderstorms and squall lines march pretty regularly across Lake Huron and its surroundings in the summer and can lay an unprepared boat well over. Same with the lower Great Lakes, too, but in most cases, we can run off before it. Not so in Georgian Bay: the rocky shore is a lee shore, so knowing where your shelter is around you is just prudent.

And no, I don't work for the Canadian Hydrographic Service. I just like their work!
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Old 26-06-2018, 09:40   #7
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Re: Are Canadian Charts required in Georgian Bay/North Channel upper Lake Huron/Ontar

Anchorage Guides: North Channel and Georgian Bay Cruising Guides good info, I'm using 2013 edition and adding my 'private' holes where keel boats cannot go.
If you're interested send me a PM with your email address and I can send you a pdf.

I'm sailing GB for 9 years, mostly north side, the first two years just with paper maps then added a GPS , now I cannot believe I survived those two seasons without running into a shoal, covered rocks etc.
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Old 26-06-2018, 09:57   #8
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Re: Are Canadian Charts required in Georgian Bay/North Channel upper Lake Huron/Ontar

Canada is picky about which type of electronic charts you carry they accept one type I can not remember if raster is ok. True, true nobody seems to check.
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Old 26-06-2018, 10:04   #9
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Re: Are Canadian Charts required in Georgian Bay/North Channel upper Lake Huron/Ontar

I have been cruising the North Channel and Georgian Bay for fifty years, and I would strongly suggest having reasonably up to date charts, paper or electronic.
The strip charts of the east shore of Georgian Bay are extremely good, and a must have, in my opinion. Not sure, but I think it became legal a few years ago to have just digital charts on board, but in any case, in fifty years I have never been asked by the coast guard to produce my paper charts.
One thing, if you decide to get paper charts for any part of your trip, best get them before hand. In recent years there seem to be fewer outlets along the way that sell them.
I know everyone is unduly proud of their local cruising grounds, but I can guarantee you will not be disappointed! This is some of the best unsalted, shark-free and tide-free (almost) cruising you will ever find!
Oh yes, several other posters have mentioned the rocks! There is an old saying up here: "You don't gotta know where ALL the rocks are in these waters, but you sure gotta know where they ain't!"
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Old 26-06-2018, 10:33   #10
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Re: Are Canadian Charts required in Georgian Bay/North Channel upper Lake Huron/Ontar

The Canadian boat safety guide includes the following;


To help make navigation safer, the law requires you to carry the following for each area you plan to boat in:

the latest edition of the largest scale chart (when available); and

the latest edition of related documents and publications, including
Notices to Mariners
,
Sailing Directions
, tide and current tables, and the
List of Lights,
Buoys and Fog Signals
.
The documents, charts and publications may not be necessary* if your boat is less than 100 tons and that you have sufficient knowledge of the waterways including: (for that read local fisherman!!)

shipping routes;

lights, buoys and marks;

boating hazards; and

boating conditions, such as tides, currents, ice and weather patterns.
*
Safe and efficient navigation must not be compromise
d
.
The Canadian Hydrographic Service (CHS) is the official source for navigational charts and publications in Canada’s waters. Under the Charts and Nautical Publications Regulations made pursuant to the Canada Shipping
Act, 2001, boaters must use charts issued officially or on the authority of the CHS. You can buy official paper and digital charts from authorized chart dealers. For more information or to find the nearest authorized chart dealer, visit Welcome Page | Page d'accueil.

I think any commercially available digital chart would be classed as 'on the authority of CHS'. It should also state that in the chart information panel. Note it does say 'largest available'


Here is a link to the guide; http://www.tc.gc.ca/media/documents/...ty/TP-511e.pdf. It also contains links to all the relevant rules and regs.


Have a good trip
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Old 26-06-2018, 10:45   #11
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Re: Are Canadian Charts required in Georgian Bay/North Channel upper Lake Huron/Ontar

Quote:
Originally Posted by eyschulman View Post
Canada is picky about which type of electronic charts you carry they accept one type I can not remember if raster is ok. True, true nobody seems to check.
True ... but electronic charts are only compliant if you have big-ship navigational systems ... on small recreational boats you are required to have either paper charts or "sufficient knowledge" of the local area for "safe and efficient navigation" ... whether or not you can derive that knowledge from studying your chart-plotter on the fly is a moot point, since nobody cares!


Personally I like having paper charts where there is a complex coastline.
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Old 26-06-2018, 11:09   #12
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Re: Are Canadian Charts required in Georgian Bay/North Channel upper Lake Huron/Ontar

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kelkara View Post
True ... but electronic charts are only compliant if you have big-ship navigational systems ... on small recreational boats you are required to have either paper charts or "sufficient knowledge" of the local area for "safe and efficient navigation" ... whether or not you can derive that knowledge from studying your chart-plotter on the fly is a moot point, since nobody cares!


Personally I like having paper charts where there is a complex coastline.

You may be right but not seen anything requiring PLEASURE CRAFT to carry an IMO complaint aid to navigation systems when using electronic nav. Obviously have a backup and also a sufficiently large scale chart to get to a safe port if all else fails. Even for commercial craft the standard is to have a safe means of transferring from EDICS to a backup system to complete voyage safely. Basically a second chart plotter of some sort including, say a tablet, as long as it has it's own charts and power supply.
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Old 26-06-2018, 11:22   #13
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Re: Are Canadian Charts required in Georgian Bay/North Channel upper Lake Huron/Ontar

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Originally Posted by roland stockham View Post
You may be right but not seen anything requiring PLEASURE CRAFT to carry an IMO complaint aid to navigation systems when using electronic nav. Obviously have a backup and also a sufficiently large scale chart to get to a safe port if all else fails. Even for commercial craft the standard is to have a safe means of transferring from EDICS to a backup system to complete voyage safely. Basically a second chart plotter of some sort including, say a tablet, as long as it has it's own charts and power supply.
Well here's the rules...
Charts and Nautical Publications Regulations, 1995
Quote:
3 These Regulations apply to Canadian ships in all waters and to all ships in waters under Canadian jurisdiction
...
5 (3) The chart may be in electronic form only if
(a) it is displayed on an ECDIS
...
9 Every ECDIS shall meet the performance standards set out in the annex to IMO Resolution A.817(19)
The only exemption for Pleasure Craft is that they don't need "an illustrated table of life-saving signals for use by ships and persons in distress" ... not much of a break.


Fortunately,enforcement of this takes a practical approach.
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Old 26-06-2018, 11:29   #14
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Re: Are Canadian Charts required in Georgian Bay/North Channel upper Lake Huron/Ontar

I think the answer as to if you MUST carry Canadian charts is "it depends." I believe IF you are a USCG documented vessel (not sure is state titled counts) AND (this is important) you comply FULLY with US safety requirements (lights, placards, fire extinguishers, life jackets, etc) THEN you DO NOT have to comply with Canadian requirements. IF you fail to comply with ANY US requirement (And the Canadian folks know the requirements) THEN you must comply with ALL Canadian laws, which includes MUCH MORE than charts. More fire extinguishers, more/different flares, have a dingy? Then a small vessel safety kit (Google it and see what's in it), etc.

The required equipment varies based on the length of your boat. Suffice it to say, their list i much longer than ours!

Someone with a local chapter of the US Power Squadron can help a lot with this. I have taken Piloting/Adv Piloting in the Detroit area and the teacher's are regular North Channel cruisers. I also hold the Canadian safe boater card, etc, from a USPS class... that class is where I learned the above info.
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Old 26-06-2018, 11:49   #15
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Re: Are Canadian Charts required in Georgian Bay/North Channel upper Lake Huron/Ontar

Trust me Ö no one is going to check to see if youíre carrying all the necessary paper charts. It just doesnít happen.

Not saying donít get paper charts. I love proper charts. I prefer having them for the areas I travel. But they are very expensive. A full set of Georgian Bay and North Channel would set you back many hundreds of dollars.

A current chart book, and up-to-date digital package with a guide or two (Waterway Guide and/or Ports Book) will be more than sufficient for the careful navigator. Someone mentioned the flip charts for GB ó yes, definitely a good idea for the small craft channel.

Iíve cruise the North Channel and large portions of Georgian Bay. Theyíre both wonderful cruising grounds. Careful navigation is essential, but itís not rocket science. Keep a close eye on water, the land and the charts (digital or paper), and most importantly always be sure you know where you actually are. Especially in GB, all the small islands can start to look the same. Water can get thin very fast.

On that note, I consider a good depth sounder to be just as essential. Make sure itís working and calibrated. A foot or two can make a huge difference in some areas.
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