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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Seamanship & Navigation > Is it advisable to use Road Maps to navigate?
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Seamanship & Navigation Forum devoted to seamanship and navigation topics, including paper and electronic charting tools.


Thread: Is it advisable to use Road Maps to navigate? Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
05-10-2010 01:54 PM
NCC320 WHERE TO GET CHARTS:

Now that I told you how that I once used a road map in a special situation that was well considered before we started, let me help those who don't know about it by telling you where you can download charts for free in convenient 8 x 11 size (charts are divided into segments). In addition to my normal navigation charts, I have down loaded these charts (slightly reduced in size and 8 x 11 segments) for all the waters where I will ever go. If you are planning a trip, you can get these at that time and they will be up to date. I placed the 8x11 segments individually into plastic holders and have a notebook for these so I can reference them visually from the cockpit. Having a nice big chart down on the navigation desk is not too helpful if you are single handing ....these smaller charts are handy to help the helmsman keep a visual reference of what is happening (for those who don't have the electronic plotters, or whose plotter just failed).

The addresses are:

NOAA BookletCharts

NOAA BookletCharts

Now, with this having been done, for those anticipating using road maps, you won't even have to think about whether to attemp using a road map for boating. Get these charts instead, but bring the road map anyway. It might be useful when you reach your desitination.

Sorry that the chart source is only for US waters.
05-10-2010 12:43 PM
skippertips Hi,
Just got off the phone with Bellingham (800-643-3900). Wonderful people, by the way. US charts are in the public domain, so copies are legal everywhere. England (British Admiralty charts) and other countries often have restrictions against copying charts derived from surveys in their waters.
Best - J
05-10-2010 11:42 AM
PCP
Quote:
Originally Posted by skippertips View Post
As a former pro maritime instructor and 23 year Coast Guard vet, I can assure you that road maps are dangerous and should not be used for surface navigation.

And, I totally agree about carrying paper nautical charts, whether you have electronic chart plotters, gps, radar, or any other similar device. It's embarrassing to note that many professional captains that I've talked to no longer have an interest in the paper. That's dangerous in the extreme. After all, you are only one spark away from losing the black boxes.

You can lower the expense of paper charts by purchasing from a place like Bellingham Chart Printers, out of Friday Harbor, WA (I have no affiliation with them whatsoever).

They offer superb black and white duplicates in 2/3 or full size at a fraction of the cost of the colored version. These are hi-resolution duplicates of the original chart, gray-scaled to show shoaling and other important features.

SkipperTip:
As we age, hi-resolution black and white charts are easier on the eyes than the same color version. Make your own colored annotations on the b & w and save some eye strain.
Best - Captain John
Great advice. I thought that people were kidding about using road maps, but it looks that some think they are useful.

By the way, if you have an accident and you don't have a proper scaled map of the waters you are in, insurance company is not going to pay anything.

Skippertips, I have a question about those black and white copies. They have a license to do that? Around here, any copy of a map is considered illegal.

Regards

Paulo
05-10-2010 10:32 AM
eryka
Quote:
Originally Posted by skippertips View Post
Nautical Note: as we age, hi-resolution black and white charts are easier on the eyes than the same color version. Make your own colored annotations on the b & w and save some eye strain.
Best - Captain John
Interesting point! Might also be easier to see at night - the eye-saving red light washes out the magentas on the chart.
05-10-2010 10:17 AM
skippertips As a former pro maritime instructor and 23 year Coast Guard vet, I can assure you that road maps are dangerous and should not be used for surface navigation.

And, I totally agree about carrying paper nautical charts, whether you have electronic chart plotters, gps, radar, or any other similar device. It's embarrassing to note that many professional captains that I've talked to no longer have an interest in the paper. That's dangerous in the extreme. After all, you are only one spark away from losing the black boxes.

You can lower the expense of paper charts by purchasing from a place like Bellingham Chart Printers, out of Friday Harbor, WA (I have no affiliation with them whatsoever).

They offer superb black and white duplicates in 2/3 or full size at a fraction of the cost of the colored version. These are hi-resolution duplicates of the original chart, gray-scaled to show shoaling and other important features.

SkipperTip:
As we age, hi-resolution black and white charts are easier on the eyes than the same color version. Make your own colored annotations on the b & w and save some eye strain.
Best - Captain John
05-10-2010 10:16 AM
eryka
Quote:
Originally Posted by jackdale View Post
Neither would I use a chart to navigate my way around Vancouver or Victoria by car.
LOL - when we rented a car in Eleuthera, the "map" that they gave us was worthless - it was one of those stylized jobs that pointed out major tourist attractions. We DID end up using the Explorer chart of the area, which although meant for navigation, had more detail on roads than the land version!
05-10-2010 09:41 AM
NCC320
Quote:
Originally Posted by jackdale View Post
Neither would I use a chart to navigate my way around Vancouver or Victoria by car.
I agree completely on around Vancover or Victoria, or similar location. See the P.S. that I added on my post above on this thread. My case was a unique one and was carefully considered based on some knowledge of the area and what I was likely to encounter. Even so, I'll admit that not having those charts made the trip a bit frustrating at times.
05-09-2010 11:14 PM
jackdale Neither would I use a chart to navigate my way around Vancouver or Victoria by car.
05-09-2010 10:13 PM
gershel I wouldn't use a roadmap to navigate with, But I would use it to show the layout of roads near areas of interest to me. My first time in Hilton Head, I anchored so far away, that I couldn't visit anything
Marc
05-09-2010 05:13 PM
NCC320 I'll confess....I used a road map once (35-40 yrs ago) for a short cruise! There were problems but the road map was actually helpful.

The situation: My wife's family was planning an outing at their new water front lot in Oriental, NC. I normally sail on the Pamlico River at Washington, NC. The distance is more or less 60 miles. I didn't have a chart of the lower part of Pamlico Sound or the Neuse River at the time. It had been planned that my wife and I were to come by boat. The owner of the lot was in Virginia, so I couldn't readily get his charts. I went to several marinas/marine supply stores to get the charts. No charts were available, it seems there had been a flood or fire or other calamity at the NOAA warehouse, and orders for new charts in this area were backordered. Even those fishing guide chart books were not available. So it was use the road map or don't go. I studied the map closely and it seemed pretty straight forward. Go down the Pamilco to the ICW, take the ICW across the mouth of the Bay River (don't get confused and turn up the Bay River), enter the mouth of the Neuse and continue to Oriental. I discussed which channel marker would denote Oriental, and I was assured that Marker #2 was the place, and that there would be only one Marker #2 on the trip. Of course, there was no information on depth of water, hazards, or navigation aids on the map, but it was useful in that it showed that if I held land to starboard going and to port returning at all times except when crossing the Bay River, we would be just fine. The boat (my first) was a Venture 24 with swing keel, so we weren't concerned too much about depth, we would just not lock down the keel and if we touched bottom, we would crank up the keel a bit and move towards deeper water. We made the trip both ways using the map. Going was bit of an adventure because we hadn't anticipated the amount of motoring that initially would be required, nor that gas would be difficult to find (for some reason the marinas where I normally got fuel weren't open that day), and on entering the Neuse, we bumped bottom a number of times (crank up keel, move to deeper water, keep going). We had not anticipated (nor did any other boaters in the area) the extreme thunder storm with lots of lightning that made the Neuse part of trip interesting. Then there was that other Channel Marker #2 that we encountered which caused a bit of confusion and lost time. So Oriental was reached after dark making things a bit more challenging. But we made the social event. Return trip was uneventful other than high winds at the start.

I don't recommend using a road map, especially in off shore / open water situations, but I would do it again for this particular trip if confronted with the same situation. (I currently have on my boat several copies of charts for all the local waters that I am likely to encounter.) Today, you wouldn't encounter this situation as charts are more readily available and can be downloaded directly from the web.

P.S. The bottom in this area is generally soft. There are no hidden rocks or reefs to worry about and the boat could take a soft grounding and extract itself by raising its swing keel. I wouldn't think about trying what I did if I were in an area where rocks or reefs were an issue, nor where I want to leave sight of land and then have to make landfall later, nor if I had a fixed keel where I might do damage or be truly grounded. Also, tide was not an issue. I had general knowledge of the area and bottom prior to the trip.
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