One of my favorite parts of cruising is learning to identify and find new anchorages that are not charted or in the books. I know there is "no stopping progress" but I am really a bit melancholy about technology taking over yet another part of the cruising experience. Charts, Skipper Bob's and the cruising guides offer the minimum necessary for weekend warriors to drop the hook safely but it would be nice if every last nook of the coast was not rated and reviewed (IMO).
I know what you're saying and I have spots that I know are not listed anywhere for others to find. But, in my own travels to unfamiliar locations, it would be very helpful (if not, indeed, a basic a safety issue) to be able to accurately find safe anchorages with detailed info. on how to get into them. Even spots just outside channels (so I get rocked a bit) or far from dockside services would be useful at times. The ICW is a good example of this. There are VERY few anchorages listed in Skipper Bob (no, I don't wish to travel 40 miles up some river to find a spot) and the other guidebooks have obviously been financed by marinas through advertisements and hence, are not keen on listing free anchorages. They tend to lead sailors to the expensive marinas who have paid the authors for ads. I joined Active Captain and think it is a good effort but would like to have a printed guidebook, including lat/lon and depth info. of possible spots. I don't need to know about where a dog can crap or where where there are tourist trinket shops, just where to throw the hook.
From Jeff Siegel:
"I have 7+ years into that idea. Perhaps you might download the free 30 day trial of PolarView (polarnavy.com) and see all the anchorages they list. It's approaching 10,000 separate anchorage locations, every one with local knowledge (details, approach, tide, dinghy dock, pets, services, and 6 "star" ratings). PolarNavy explains it all. There are a variety of phone/tablet apps that do the same thing - 26 as of today. Garmin's BlueChart Mobile is an nice example app for iPhone/iPad that has it all built in too."
I do have Polar Navy and have used it. I like it but use other nav software on the boat. The only problem with using on-line data is that you need to be where there is internet service. I am not in range of any wi-fi (none that I would trust) very often. This kind of service usually requires paying for dockage to access a secure connection. For long-term cruising I can't (and I suspect many here can't) afford to pay for dockage every night in order to have web access. I will have to log into AC to see what anchorages are currently listed. Have not been there in quite a while but did record all the problem ICW spots from AC on last trip south. It was helpful.