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  #1  
Old 07-21-2013
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The Chart was Wrong AGAIN!

I love nothing more than teaching sailing and boating. When I teach navigation by paper charts, I always (used to) tell the student that "The chart is NEVER wrong" and you must figure out what mistake you've made.

I do recognize that there are some poorly charted areas in Alaska and areas of shifting coral in the Pacific, but in my waters, the charts are spot on.... or so I thought.

When Maptech brand charts first came out, I was immediately impressed. They are on waterproof paper, have some added extras, like ferry routes, on the charts, and have a wonderful contrast color scheme that makes them really easy to read. They also seem to be well thought out with regard to where they put their edges. ie you're not navigating on the crease very often, and they have a generous overlap when you use 2 of them, or turn a page in one of their books.



Imagine my suprise, years ago, when I'm navigating the narrow channel of buoys on the back side of Whidbey island and the buoys don't match my chart. The buoys are numbered, 8, 12, 14, 16, 16A....

16A???? What? The buoy in front of me says 18. Wait a minute... I've never seen a nun buoy with a number and a letter before.... I confirmed my position using a lot of different reference points before I decided that, in fact, the chart was wrong.

I called Maptech to tell them of their error. I was laughed off the phone on my first 2 tries. After getting laughed off the phone though, I actually did get a call back from their head cartographer. He was skeptical at first, but I told him to put his chart next to a NOAA chart and look at the buoy numbers and he wouldn't have to take my word for it. He agreed, the chart was wrong and newer versions are corrected.

Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago. My wife and I decide to cut through a group of small islands and shoals called The Wasp Islands in the San Juans. We'd been around them a million times and decided it was time to pick our route through.

My wife is an excellent chart navigator and was piloting and plotting our way through, when things went south. We finally stopped and drifted trying to make sense of the chart. It just DID NOT make sense.

After much discussion, "well could that be this island and that one over there actually be this other island?" I decided to get out 2 more charts of the area to compare. Sure enough, Maptech was wrong again!

This time they had all the islands in the right places, but TWO of the islands were green, as if they were shoals that are covered at high tide. One of these green shoals had a house on it and cliffs!

Not happy with Maptech again.

MedSailor
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  #2  
Old 07-22-2013
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Re: The Chart was Wrong AGAIN!

Perhaps Maptech is anticipating rising sea levels



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Old 07-22-2013
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Re: The Chart was Wrong AGAIN!

Do you have a chart plotter or phone ap to check against the paper charts? If so what did it indicate? In today's world I try and verify with two sources if possible.

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Old 07-22-2013
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Re: The Chart was Wrong AGAIN!

First, and not too importantly, coral shifts at a centimeter or two a year. When I was sailing in the SoPac, many of the UK charts were actually drawn by Captain Cook and his sailing master, Bligh (yes, that's right, that Bligh) and after almost two centuries they were still accurate enough to navigate by safely. Of course, man made changes, ports, passes and docks were added as they were built. So I wouldn't worry too much about shifting coral if you sail to the SoPac.
Government charts had updates whenever they were needed and commercial vessels were (are?) required to stop using these charts after 3 corrections or 6 months. That's how I got my world portfolio of cancelled charts for free, and made a lot of friends in the process.
It seems private charting organizations do not do this, so any of their charts should be suspect.
Though I do not use paper charts sailing here in the Caribbean, with Doyle's guides and my 10" chartplotter, both of which have proved themselves to be spot on, I still use my eyes and watch the color of the water and movement on the surface in shallow water, under 100'.
When I was sailing down here in the 70's and 80's, charts of Antigua had a notification that the island was mischarted by 1.25 miles written on them. Not much of a problem before electronic navigation, but certainly a killer with an accuracy of 100' or so with a GPS!
It is most important for navigators to use their eyes and brain and not accept charts as gospel. Even in the PNW, water color and surface irregularities can be a key that what is on the chart may not gibe with reality.
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Old 07-22-2013
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Re: The Chart was Wrong AGAIN!

I sailed though Mexico in the early 1994 and the charts I used were from surveys done in 1890 or so. Right on the chart is said that Isla Isabela was more than a mile from where it was charted. When anchored half a mile out into Mantenchen Bay, the GPS put me in the mangrove swamps well ashore. Electronics are great, but you have to keep your eyes open.
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Old 07-22-2013
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Yes.. absolutely eyes open and looking up and around, thats a no brainer stating the obvious.

You need your eyes open looking at a chart or cp.
What is was saying using two forms of verification ous better than one.
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Old 07-22-2013
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Re: The Chart was Wrong AGAIN!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ocean Poet View Post
I sailed though Mexico in the early 1994 and the charts I used were from surveys done in 1890 or so. Right on the chart is said that Isla Isabela was more than a mile from where it was charted. When anchored half a mile out into Mantenchen Bay, the GPS put me in the mangrove swamps well ashore. Electronics are great, but you have to keep your eyes open.
Anchoring in Tenacatita showed our charted position about a 1/2 mile inland. The MKII eyeball and depth sounder were key.
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Old 07-22-2013
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Re: The Chart was Wrong AGAIN!

Quote:
Originally Posted by MedSailor View Post
I love nothing more than teaching sailing and boating. When I teach navigation by paper charts, I always (used to) tell the student that "The chart is NEVER wrong" and you must figure out what mistake you've made.

I do recognize that there are some poorly charted areas in Alaska and areas of shifting coral in the Pacific, but in my waters, the charts are spot on.... or so I thought.
Charts can be, in fact, 'wrong' with surprising frequency... Whether paper or electronic, one should never be used by a prudent seaman as anything more than a 'guide' to navigation...

Quote:
Originally Posted by MedSailor View Post
Imagine my suprise, years ago, when I'm navigating the narrow channel of buoys on the back side of Whidbey island and the buoys don't match my chart. The buoys are numbered, 8, 12, 14, 16, 16A....

16A???? What? The buoy in front of me says 18. Wait a minute... I've never seen a nun buoy with a number and a letter before.... I confirmed my position using a lot of different reference points before I decided that, in fact, the chart was wrong.
Chances are, anytime you see a nav aid numbered with an 'A', or 'B', it's an indication that it's a supplemental aid added or inserted to the original buoyage of a channel... It's often seen here on the east coast around inlets, and other changeable areas where shoaling or other changes are common...
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  #9  
Old 07-22-2013
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Re: The Chart was Wrong AGAIN!

There is only ONE accurate chart. It's the one where 1" = 1". You can see it by looking beyond the edge of your boat.

We have friends who had their eyes glued to the chartplotter sticking up in front of their helm - ran headlong into another boat.

I've seen more than one power boat up on a plane on autopilot following the magenta line on the ICW - on the wrong side of a recently moved navigation mark. The sudden stop I maliciously found amusing.
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Old 07-22-2013
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Re: The Chart was Wrong AGAIN!

I will not disagree that we occasionally find rather obvious errors on charts in MapTech's chart kits. Note, however, that the first thing I do when we purchase a new chart kit is down-load all of the Notices to Mariners for the relevant charts from the present to the date of issue of the charts included in the chart kit and do the corrections, starting with the latest NTM and working backward. It can be a very tedious process, sitting at the dining room table with a bottle of white-out, rub-on chart symbols and a rapdiograph pen but unless one up-dates one's charts, they will not be correct. Unfortunately, there is no way to effect changes/corrections to electronic charts, many of which are severely out of date as to marks, although geographic features remain largely the same. With those, we rely upon our prior tracks and print-outs of the areas in question from the latest NGA on-line charts that we put in a loose-leaf binder as a marine "triptic" or float (verses flight) plan that can be referred to at the helm.

FWIW...
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