This is less relevant to the use of chartplotters and software than to "being safe". Some of the best anchorages and places we visited on our cruise were due to NOT going buoy to buoy. You can't be so afraid of what your paper charts don't show you that you don't adventure at all.
Personally, while we carry paper charts as backup, I find my CoastalExplorer software to be one of the best voyage planning tools ever. With the offline ActiveCaptain integration that CE now has you can plan a week long trip in minutes and know everything there is to know about every place along the way. There is absolutely no way you can do that with paper charts.
By the way - one of the biggest issues of going buoy to buoy is everyone else doing the same thing. Always make sure that you use a point a couple of hundred feet or more off of a buoy as your waypoint. In the case of the Bahamas, where EVERYONE is using Explorer Charts, DO NOT head right for an Explorer waypoint unless you want to risk collision with the 20 other cruising boats that ARE heading right for an Explorer waypoint.
I've seen this happen. A 65' lobster boat out of New Bedford rammed a large green lit buoy one sunny day as we were coming into the harbor. There was NO ONE visible in the bridge, and as soon as they hit the buoy, someone popped up and ran across to the helm. It was pretty clear that they were not keeping a proper watch and had the boat on autopilot.
SD - with CE and most other charting software, the NOAA ENC and RNC downloadable charts will be more up to date than the paper charts you buy, unless you combine the paper charts with a bunch of NTM and NOAA corrections - and who wants to do that when you can just download the latest copy of the chart.
True, but if he is using the software that comes with the chartplotter and the charts off the plotter, that's a different story.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.
—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)
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