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I don't discuss my member
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Discussion Starter #1
Is there a site where I can get some up to date charts of the bay?? for free? :) or images I could print out and use as charts?

I do have access to some fancy printer here at work but I tried doing a search on this site and it didn't come up with much. Any advice? Just buy some?
 

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Telstar 28
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43,289 Posts
The NOAA site has all the charts of the US for free... either in BSB Raster format or ENC vector format.

Personally, IMHO, you're being pennywise and pound foolish. You'd be much better off getting a Maptech Waterproof Chartbook of the Chesapeake. I believe two books cover most of it and that's only about $80. Or you could buy all of the waterproof charts from Maptech, which cover a bit more than the Chartbooks do, in a bit better detail, and it's only $160 for everything.

BTW, navigating with printouts of charts of unknown age, update status, etc. strikes me as very foolish. Unless you've gotten the images from a reliable source, there is no way for you to know if they've been altered or not.
 

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Senior Moment
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83 Posts
$80 to $160 is not that much compared to hauling your boat to repair the grounding damage. Just MHO. I once rescued a boat on the Bahama bank that was using a paper chart from a restaurant in Key Biscayne to go to Bimini. He missed. By the time he was done he spent over $1200 in towing fees to get his borrowed boat back to So. Fl.
 

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Banned
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I'd say just buy it.

The bay is very shallow in some spots, especially over on the eastern side, and you could get into trouble. A tow would end up costing a lot more than charts and ruin your day besides. If you have a depth meter it seems like most of the bottom slopes fairly gradually, so in that case you might be able to do it with a hand drawn chart on a napkin, or a restaurant placemat, during daylight, if you are heading out into bigger water and not in, but real charts would be better. I wouldn't try to go into any of the creeks or rivers without charts.
 

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Registered
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Had a conversation with a dockmate, he went into Fawcetts and bought a paper chart they printed upon request.. He asked how current it was? they said it was updated "last night" - meaning nightly when there are changes.
 

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Telstar 28
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TAK-

Fawcetts and several others are Publish on Demand chart suppliers, but they're a bit more expensive and not as durable as the Maptech charts from what I remember.
 

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Don Radcliffe
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398 Posts
Download the free SeaClear program and the free charts from freeboatingcharts.com, hook up your GPS to the laptop, and you will see your own boat floating on the chart.
 

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I am a huge fan of the electronic downloads from maptech. If you buy one of the Chartbooks they'll also send you a copy of Offshore Navigator Lite which is a powerful and easy to use PC based chartplotter. I interface with a handheld Garmin and it all works great.

What I would really like to know is what are the internatinal equivalents to our NOAA? Are there free electronic chart downloads out there for international water?

And no, e-charts don't replace papercharts, but they sure are handy for planning.
 

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The NASA charts referred to by Don Radcliffe above are the same electronic files used by Publish on Demand to print their charts. NASA being the source, the charts are absolutely the most current available.

They are excellent for use on a laptop connected to a GPS. A few months ago, I made the trip from Long Island Sound to Port Canaveral using the free program, Sea Clear II with free NASA charts. It worked perfectly.

If you plan to print the charts, which is easy to do, you'll have to go to at least 24"X36" paper. When I printed some at 12"X18" I found that although the resolution was excellent, much of the detail (type, symbols, etc.) was too small to see without a magnifying glass.

Augie
 

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Telstar 28
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Baublesailor-

The charts are by NOAA, not NASA... NASA, doesn't do anything with terrestrial charting IIRC.
 

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Not So Senior Member
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All of these options are good. I've seen some paper "charts" that people try to print out themselves and it's scary sometimes. Depending on what you are sailing (how much space you have) I'd pony up the bucks for either the maptech waterproofs, or the whole Chesapeake book (a little bit larger, hence the space question). Going cheap on navigation is dubious. When you are looking at a cheap print out in poor lighting saying "is that sounding a three or an eight" you'll know you made a bad choice.
 
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