I was recently looking at a nav chart, and decided to actually decipher some of the things I never understood. My search led to me to the "Coast Pilot", a NOAA publication that provides a LOT of local info in conjunction with the Nav Charts. I reviewed the Coast Pilot for my area and found a lot of great info. The site also has real time Charts, and allows you to print book charts. I printed some and inserted them into a plastic page folder from Kinkos. Worked out really well. I wouldn't do any major navigation with them, but they are certainly handy, and have the same info as a chart. Anyway, the Coast Pilot is probably common knowledge amongst cruisers, but is also very useful to bay sailors like me, especially if you go to unfamiliar waters. I did a forum search and found the only reference to the Coast Pilot was mine from another thread, so I thought I would share the site.
Nautical Charts & Pubs