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  #31  
Old 10-24-2013
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Re: NOAA To Stop Printing Nautical Charts

This is a subject I feel very strongly about.

Cruising, especially passage making, without paper charts is very poor seamanship. I have had my electronics fail - both the older electronics (C80 from lightning strike) and new electronics (E80s on corrosion on HSB). Given enough time, yours will too. THey are electronics!

Paper charts can be waterproof, and they can go into sleeves to stay dry. You can also make a copy of the paper charts and pencil plot on them in case you lose your electronics to assist in DR.

Don't get me wrong - I love my GPS and chart plotter. It sure is easy and convenient. But backups are absolutely necessary or one of these days, you are gong to get caught blindsided.

Now I do have exceptions to this. For those who are sailing local waters, lakes, etc... you really don't have to have paper charts. You could undoubtedly find your way back without any aids. But the thought of doing any kind of cruising or passage making without them is akin to those who don't think they need a VHF because they have a cell phone.

My opinions.

Brian
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  #32  
Old 10-24-2013
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Re: NOAA To Stop Printing Nautical Charts

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stumble View Post
John,

So your objection to electronic charts is that the charts are less accurate than the GPS? Just as with paper charts, take a land fix and plot it on the chart plotter.
No...

Let me be clear - I don't have any "objection" to electronic charts, I use them all the time... I simply believe that it's not the best seamanship to rely upon them EXCLUSIVELY, without any alternative means of navigating in the event of a failure...

The paper chart of Grand Bruit is no more accurate than the C-Map in my photo that placed me onshore, there's an uncorrected anomaly in the charting of that portion of the south coast of Newfoundland... However, during my approach to that harbor, it was my reference to the paper chart that first alerted me to the sense that something wasn't quite right...

That's the primary danger of relying exclusively on e-charts, it's simply too easy- particularly for those of lesser experience - to follow the boat's icon straight into danger. Perhaps it's just me, but I find piloting by referring/cross-checking on paper forces one's eyes outside of the boat with a bit more regularity... Lots of folks out there today are practicing a pretty 'lazy' form of navigating, the trust and faith I see people putting in the accuracy of e-charts is astonishing... Particularly in places like the Bahamas, where cruisers routinely disregard the cautions against piloting tricky areas in poor light, trusting the Explorer Charts to have plotted each and every coral head with pinpoint precision... And, don't get me started on the prevalence of interfacing autopilots to distant waypoints, sailors should best leave that Lazy Man's practice to Sea Ray drivers... :-)

Pretty spooky, some of the Stupid Cruiser Tricks are being performed as a consequence of the treatment of navigation as a video game :-) I know some disagree, but I'm firmly convinced that the skipper of RULE 62 never would have attempted to enter that cut in the Bahamas that night a couple of years ago, without the aid of a chartplotter... But, we'll never know, of course...


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Last edited by JonEisberg; 10-24-2013 at 07:41 PM.
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  #33  
Old 10-24-2013
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Re: NOAA To Stop Printing Nautical Charts

Quote:
Originally Posted by DRFerron View Post
And, NOAA has been pointing people towards agents like Oceangrafix for years. They have links on the website. Why is this all new and confusing all of a sudden?
Exactly, POD charts have been in use worldwide for years by Class A chart suppliers.....

When my employer goes in to the chart supplier with a request for 10 or 20 charts for one of our ships, they don't get them off the shelf, they print them off while you wait, all corrected and up to date...

All that will happen is the smaller chart supplier, without POD facilities, will obtain there charts for resale from a Class A supplier instead of NOAA, it's been happening like that here in Australia for some time now.....

Many of the larger ships have had POD facilities on board for a few years now.....
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Last edited by DJR351; 10-25-2013 at 07:43 AM.
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  #34  
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Re: NOAA To Stop Printing Nautical Charts

NOOoo ooo o o ooo o o o oo o

hates CHANGE .... changes bad ....

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  #35  
Old 10-24-2013
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Re: NOAA To Stop Printing Nautical Charts

The common problem with electronic charts is that they are very often not accurate. The positions of land masses are from the same, often misdrawn graphics in paper charts. Actual GPS points input using these charts as a guide may well put you up on a highway or a beach. I have been looking at anchorages along the ICW and how the NOAA images line up with actual GPS points as recorded in the Doyle's anchor guide. Some land masses are shown where there is actually 30' of water:-)
If you are placing complete trust in the video game, you may not notice that things are not as they should be. Dead reckoning traits that we old farts have come to internalize over the years, usually set off some alarm bells. Things like keeping an eye on depth, noticing ranges on things that should align, and reading the water, at least to me, are essential to being confident of position. There are more clues than just a computer screen to tell you if you are where you THINK you are.
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  #36  
Old 10-24-2013
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Re: NOAA To Stop Printing Nautical Charts

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cruisingdad View Post
This is a subject I feel very strongly about.

Cruising, especially passage making, without paper charts is very poor seamanship. I have had my electronics fail - both the older electronics (C80 from lightning strike) and new electronics (E80s on corrosion on HSB). Given enough time, yours will too. THey are electronics!


My opinions.

Brian
That seems pretty harsh. I have some friends cruising out of the UK that were in Maine. They were very comfortable with their electronic charting. I think people that are comfortable, don't worry about losing the ships power. They have redundant devices. These folks each had a laptop, a spare(from an upgrade), a small tablet, smart phone with a chart app, onboard Chart plotter and maybe a hand held gps with simple charts.

At any rate, with solar and wind generation onboard, they were covered if something catastrophic happened to the ships wiring.

The gear they had, laptops, smart phone, tablet, isn't too unusual these days. You could find it in a family kitchen.

But for boats that are comfortable with electronic charting as their sole means of navigation, they would not put that trust in one single system or onboard source, they would have several redundant unattached devices.

Not everyone accepts their way, but I know their seamanship is top notch!
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  #37  
Old 10-25-2013
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Re: NOAA To Stop Printing Nautical Charts

Quote:
Originally Posted by TomMaine View Post
That seems pretty harsh. I have some friends cruising out of the UK that were in Maine. They were very comfortable with their electronic charting. I think people that are comfortable, don't worry about losing the ships power. They have redundant devices. These folks each had a laptop, a spare(from an upgrade), a small tablet, smart phone with a chart app, onboard Chart plotter and maybe a hand held gps with simple charts.

At any rate, with solar and wind generation onboard, they were covered if something catastrophic happened to the ships wiring.

The gear they had, laptops, smart phone, tablet, isn't too unusual these days. You could find it in a family kitchen.

But for boats that are comfortable with electronic charting as their sole means of navigation, they would not put that trust in one single system or onboard source, they would have several redundant unattached devices.

Not everyone accepts their way, but I know their seamanship is top notch!
When you are at sea for a few weeks or amongst islands that have no technical resource, it is not uncommon to lose all you electrics simply by not having a charge source.

So in addition to an expensive chart plotter, you also have to have passive charging systems. Many of the cruising boats out there have none of that stuff and most have a modest house bank as well.

So of you have just an alternator, it doesn't matter how many electronic devices you have, they will all have flat batteries. No lightening strikes or other exotic happenings, just a dodgy alternator is all it takes.

Anyway, in NZ we have always had to pay for paper charts so excuse my lack of concern for you plight
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Re: NOAA To Stop Printing Nautical Charts

Quote:
Originally Posted by Omatako View Post
....Anyway, in NZ we have always had to pay for paper charts so excuse my lack of concern for you plight
While we can print them for free off the internet, I'm not aware of the govt giving printed charts away here. They give the data away for the purpose of public safety.
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  #39  
Old 10-25-2013
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Re: NOAA To Stop Printing Nautical Charts

I like electronics, I just do not trust them in a salt air/water environment.
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  #40  
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Re: NOAA To Stop Printing Nautical Charts

Quote:
Originally Posted by TomMaine View Post
That seems pretty harsh. I have some friends cruising out of the UK that were in Maine. They were very comfortable with their electronic charting. I think people that are comfortable, don't worry about losing the ships power. They have redundant devices. These folks each had a laptop, a spare(from an upgrade), a small tablet, smart phone with a chart app, onboard Chart plotter and maybe a hand held gps with simple charts.

At any rate, with solar and wind generation onboard, they were covered if something catastrophic happened to the ships wiring.

The gear they had, laptops, smart phone, tablet, isn't too unusual these days. You could find it in a family kitchen.

But for boats that are comfortable with electronic charting as their sole means of navigation, they would not put that trust in one single system or onboard source, they would have several redundant unattached devices.

Not everyone accepts their way, but I know their seamanship is top notch!
Tom,

I am sorry it came across harsh, but as I said above, it is something I feel very strongly about.

I have a friend back in St Pete who does not have a single piece of electronics aboard (not even an air conditioner!!) and only steers by paper. He is a long time advocate of celestial navigation. He has crossed the pacific with his family and shuns most modern devices. That does not make his way the best way either.

Let me expound on my story. In circa 2001 we took a lightning strike. It did not hit us, it hit many boats down (an important point, btw). We had two chart plotters - one at the helm and one down below at the nav station. I also had a backup handheld down below (the old Garmin 76? I think it was, remember those, the old black and white thing?). Anyways, the unit at the helm never turned on again. Obviously it was from the lightning strike. THe unit down below powered up fine. I replaced the unit above and everything seemed to work perfectly. Not long after, we took off for the Tortugas. In the middle of the night the old unit locked up. It wouldn't scroll or do anything. We couldn't even get it to power off without tripping the breaker. Luckily, we had the handheld as a backup (the Garmin). It would power up but it would not get a fix. It never worked right again. As it would turn out, after fully rebooting the system on a forced reboot, we got the CP's back up and running and we were fine. But the CP down below was always locking up and acting screwy. Raytheon sent out their techs and finally concluded the unit down below was also the result of lightning... which was NOT apparent at first, as I explained. I suspect that was the same thing that took out my handheld and why it never worked right again.

In 2010, while crossing the gulf, I looked up in the middle of the night and saw that I was running 44 knots. While I realize that I have a fast boat, I am not quite that fast! I looked at the chart plotter and it had me squarely on some parcel of land somewhere in Florida and moments later, my autopilot did an abrupt 180 in the middle of the ocean. We rebooted the system and it came back up fine. I had that problem several times afterwards, and think I finally traced the failure down to corrosion on the HSB to the autopilot. At least, I hope that is it! But a word of warning, when you have all your stuff connected together, a failure on one can lead to a failure of everything.

SO the morale of this story is that I have been burned. I came out of them ok, but I might not have. Electronics will fail eventually. They all will. I believe prudent seamanship is to use as many things at your disposal as possible (within reason) to maintain the safety of your boat and crew. That includes paper charts which do not run on batteries or get hurt by lightning strikes and it includes electronic charting tools which overlay exact positions consistently. There is no reason to rely completely on one or the other that I can comprehend.

Those are my opinions and that is how I run my boat. How others run their boat is of course their prerogative. They may have a different tolerance for risk than I am comfortable with. But I personally would never make a passage on anyone's boat with them if they did not have paper backups and do paper plotting (at the very least consistent positional logging). Experience has taught me otherwise. My guess is that those who rely solely on electronics haven't had that lesson yet. I hope they never do.

Brian
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