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post #62 of Old 10-26-2013
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Re: NOAA To Stop Printing Nautical Charts

Originally Posted by Cruisingdad View Post
I tend to agree with you there, Jon. I don't want to siderail this discussion too much, but if he had to come into that channel with only paper, would he have still done it? I think not.

No freakin' way would he have attempted that entry, without the ability to watch his boat's icon move across a plotter screen...

Pure speculation on my part, of course, but I've always thought the RULE 62 tragedy was a classic example of one of the major downsides of relying purely on e-charts, namely the difficulty of seeing the bigger picture at a glance... If he had been looking at a larger chart of the NE Providence Channel spread out before him at a nav station, I think it's far more likely his far superior options of making for safe havens such as Hole in the Wall, or Spanish Wells would have become apparent to him...

My favorite example of this came on a delivery about 15 years ago, running a 53' motoryacht south one fall, during the height of the snowbird migration.

I'd stopped in Ocracoke, when I learned that the CG had completely closed the entrance to the Neuse River to all traffic. A small tug and barge had sunk in the area, but they weren't sure precisely where, so they simply closed everything off until they located it. So, I sat in Ocracoke for a day waiting, but when the closure continued into a 3rd day with no end in sight, folks started getting impatient... Dozens of boats were backed up in Hobucken, and many more waiting in Belhaven, and scattered in various anchorages... Some serious weather was brewing, and it was becoming imperative for the fleet to get moving, and get out of the Sounds and into the more protected waters south of Morehead City...

Unfortunately, heading out Ocracoke Inlet wasn't an option for me, this was a boat you'd only run outside in ideal conditions, and Ocracoke was very dicey back then, anyway... So, I'm sitting with the large chart of Western Pamlico Sound spread out in front of me, looking at possible anchorages closer to the Neuse Entrance, so I could stage to become first in line in the event that the CG would eventually convoy the herd through a point of known safety (I must say, the management of this whole affair by the Captain of the Port in Wilmington, and the CG, was among the most stupidly mismanaged I've ever seen)

So, I'm perusing this chart, when I notice right at the very bottom - just above the notation "Soundings in Feet" - a fine line denoting the "Old Canal" running between the southern ends of West Bay, and Turnagain Bay... The water is pretty skinny down there, and the depth of the canal was indicated as 4', right about the draft of the boat I was running... Definitely worth a shot, since utilizing that canal would allow me to make an end-around of the Neuse Entrance, and re-enter the ICW beyond the closed area...

The point of this, of course, is the strong probability that I never would have noticed this option by continuously scrolling and zooming on a smaller plotter or laptop screen... Might have been possible, but certainly not bloody likely...

Anyway, I made it thru... churned up plenty of mud, but no harm done, and I leapfrogged a cluster of boats that had grown to over a hundred by the time the CG organized a convoy more than a day later... Turned out to be one of the best trips I've ever had down the Ditch. A good NE blow had developed by that time offshore, so I had to run inside all the way to St Augustine... But I literally had the ICW to myself pretty much the entire way, other than slower boats I started catching up with, and a few fast sportfishermen that began catching me around Charleston, just a fantastic trip down my Own Private Waterway, at the very height of the season...

Last edited by JonEisberg; 10-26-2013 at 08:50 AM.
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