The best and cheapest set of charts for the bay are not paper. The NOAA ENC
charts are free for the download if you get an ENC
chart viewer. The free ones suck but there are very low cost viewrers. They are the best charts as they are exactly the same accuracy as those paper charts from Maptech
(the one and only official NOAA source) that you get from the NOAA online Print On Demand service
. These are the most up to date paper charts available for any price
The ENC charts for the Chesapeake Bay
is the one area of the entire country where ENC coverage is quite complete. Updates seem to come out for something each week. For the cost a good viewer you can have very fresh charts all the time for free. For the extra cost of a good chart program (I like Fugawi
Marine) you still can have as full and as accurate as possible set of charts for less money
than any paper alternative.
They are of course electronic but you can print peices as required. I often print them into an 8 1/2 x 11 for the helm
on longer trips overlayed with the routes I also upload to the GPS
Personally I find them exceptionally useful and very easy to update. ENC charts also meet the legal
requirements for those that must maintain charts.
I also have the full maptech book of paper charts for the bay as a backup. No electronic system is totally failsafe and I find the book of charts while smaller to be as accurate as I feel I ever require.
I'm sure you may be able to find great deals on out of date and useless paper charts from some place. My question is why bother with any chart if it's not up to date? Think of the money
you, could save.