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Discussion Starter #1
Does anyone still use paper charts or do you rely on your Navigation equipment. I learned by hand as enjoy working with charts but see the ease of plotting a course via Navigation. Whats your preference?
 

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Electronics for sure.

But, I also have a home chart making set up. I use mostly free source info like NOAA charts and Google earth. Build custom laminated 8.5x11 charts in booklet format for specific trips and cruising areas with notable waypoints and routes entered.

The booklet is stored in an out of the way area on the boat in the event of a total electronics failure. Which actually happened to me this march.

Pulled out my booklet and kept navigating with my precalculated routes and compass for a day or two until I was able to get my cell phone with Navionics back on line (never did get my chart plotter working again, but didn't try that hard either).

But yes, definitely electronics for primary navigation.
 

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After a circumnavigation and many years doing deliveries and ocean crossings professionally with celestial, I love my electronic navigation equipment. So far, and this may not hold true for the next area I sail to, my Garmin's charts have been spot on everywhere I've already been, except the ICW. I have a few charts, but rarely use them and I'm not even sure where they are on the boat.
But, in my opinion, the most useful navigation tools after the chartplotter are cruising guides. They offer much more information on any area you might be sailing in than paper charts and many have updates on their websites, so one can easily keep them current. Doing the corrections to charts was always one of my least favorite chores.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Makes sense. i like playing with paper charts but underway I can see the benefit of having real time location and navigation. I'm just bored on a rainy day looking at NOAA charts and getting frustrated with Marina's that cant seem to respond to a basic question via email.
 

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Makes sense. i like playing with paper charts but underway I can see the benefit of having real time location and navigation. I'm just bored on a rainy day looking at NOAA charts and getting frustrated with Marina's that cant seem to respond to a basic question via email.
It's an overcast, rainy day here in Carriacou, too. lol
 

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Old soul
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I like paper, but I use digital far more often. My preference is to have both, but in reality I've been cruising with digital-only for some time now. Partly it's due to cost -- paper charts are crazy expensive up here in Canada. For the price of a 1/2-dozen I can get the digital charts for all of North American. How does that make any sense :confused:.

For the record, we have three independent digital chart sets on board. I've never had one fail yet, but I think three gives me adequate backup.
 

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Electronic, hands down. Paper backup down below. I've never needed it for backup, even when primary nav dies, as my iphone also has a backup. As I think about it, I'd need to lose 3 devices aboard (chartplotter, ipad and iphone), before needing the paper.

I used to mark my position every so often on a paper chart, in case I lost electronics, along with speed and direction to be able to recreate position. I rarely do anymore. I simply take a periodic screen shot of my nav app on my phone. Everything is on it.

However, cross checking electronics is a habit I'd never break. If my gps based chart says something visible should be in a certain place, I check that it actually is.
 

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Electronic with paper should I get an EMP from a nuke
 

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Have redundancy on electronics. MFDs, IPads, laptop etc. but still have paper cruising guides. Often have several different sourced electronic charts up and a guide open when approaching a new unknown landfall. Not infrequently they disagree. Then resort to”if it’s blue go on through. If it’s brown run aground.” Still have a log and a drop line as well. Grass, debris floating in the water, turbulence and other things can give false depth readings. Depth can be different in front or back of the boat.
Really only use a plotting chart with any frequency. And that’s on passage. Good to see progress. Use who’s on watch’s initials. May write in pencil weather information on it as well as where weather router wants us to be by what time. Although drop waypoints with same information on electronic charts for that paper is a nice quick way to reference. Use multiple colors and symbols so don’t get confused when doing that on electronic charts.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Have redundancy on electronics. MFDs, IPads, laptop etc. but still have paper cruising guides. Often have several different sourced electronic charts up and a guide open when approaching a new unknown landfall. Not infrequently they disagree. Then resort to”if it’s blue go on through. If it’s brown run aground.” Still have a log and a drop line as well. Grass, debris floating in the water, turbulence and other things can give false depth readings. Depth can be different in front or back of the boat.
Really only use a plotting chart with any frequency. And that’s on passage. Good to see progress. Use who’s on watch’s initials. May write in pencil weather information on it as well as where weather router wants us to be by what time. Although drop waypoints with same information on electronic charts for that paper is a nice quick way to reference. Use multiple colors and symbols so don’t get confused when doing that on electronic charts.

Where do you get your cruising guides? i'd love to get one for the long island sound.
 

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Onboard electronics may not fail... but the GPS system can or be turned off for "military purposes. Electronic navigation gear is so robust these days and quite user friendly... maybe too user friendly. Being able to navigate was a skill that kept some jerks off the water. Not so these days... more jerks BECAUSE of electronic navigation.

I keep a chart kit on board and my old Caribe charts... rarely look at them.
 

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Onboard electronics may not fail... but the GPS system can or be turned off for "military purposes. Electronic navigation gear is so robust these days and quite user friendly... maybe too user friendly. Being able to navigate was a skill that kept some jerks off the water. Not so these days... more jerks BECAUSE of electronic navigation.

I keep a chart kit on board and my old Caribe charts... rarely look at them.
Losing GPS might be annoying, but wouldn't prevent me from using my electronic tools to plot DRs or fixes. If you're using "Fisher Price" software that removes almost all functionality beyond "looking at the pretty pictures" then keeping paper might be wise.

In my opinion technology has reached the point that many requirements for paper chart carriage may actually reduce safety. Yes, even when that technology enables the unskilled to get on the water.
 

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Losing GPS might be annoying, but wouldn't prevent me from using my electronic tools to plot DRs or fixes. If you're using "Fisher Price" software that removes almost all functionality beyond "looking at the pretty pictures" then keeping paper might be wise.

In my opinion technology has reached the point that many requirements for paper chart carriage may actually reduce safety. Yes, even when that technology enables the unskilled to get on the water.
I’m curious , How do you figure that paper charts which are up to date reduces safety?

Despite the fact I use almost extensively electronics, there is an over dependency on it in thinking it’s the bees knees in accuracy. It lies in the overconfidence of the user glued to their mfds , autopilots etc, a also I wonder how many chips still in use are 5-10 years old.

Electronics can aid with safety, but I need specific examples where charts compromise safety as you reported. Thanks a head of time for your examples.😀
 

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Both also. With electronics you can determine and monitor COG and distance, and location and SOG and ctosstrack error, etc.. etc. But for coastal use you need paper to easily reference that the path to your next mark is clear of obstacles and thus safe. On most electronics, the display is too small or the scale too large for the user to easily confirm that the course being set is free of danger. Best I know no current nav technology is smart enough to red flag a dangerous course.

If the most talented sailors with the best electronics can put the boat on a reef, what lesson should us folks take?
https://www.sailingscuttlebutt.com/2014/12/05/wouter-verbraak-team-vestas-wind-went-aground-volvo-ocean-race/
Tapatalk
 

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I’m curious , How do you figure that paper charts which are up to date reduces safety?

Despite the fact I use almost extensively electronics, there is an over dependency on it in thinking it’s the bees knees in accuracy. It lies in the overconfidence of the user glued to their mfds , autopilots etc, a also I wonder how many chips still in use are 5-10 years old.

Electronics can aid with safety, but I need specific examples where charts compromise safety as you reported. Thanks a head of time for your examples.��
First, I'm considering safety as a relative matter. That is, the invention of the compass allowed ships to follow more precise courses, and even to navigate more safely without clear visual references. Similarly, chronometers allowed many more to better work out their longitude, a problem that in earlier times may have contributed to events like the Scilly disaster of 1707. So, not taking advantage of current technology might be similar to having a car without three-point seatbelts, anti-lock brakes, or traction control, depending on the year the analogy is made.

Getting to more specific examples, when the USCG allowed electronic charts they called out the lag between taking a fix, plotting the position, and acting on it; instead of real-time positioning information, the crew is working with outdated data, and any errors will be increased. Out at sea, if you're using a position-fixing interval of say, one hour, errors to the course might not be detected for some time. If you're approaching hazards and haven't shortened those intervals in time, you could find yourself in a situation where you're too far off to correct. This seems to be a problem in a few cases.

Going back to the Scilly case, there is also a current at play in that area that wasn't fully documented until almost a century later. Other small errors, whether from leeway, compass deviation, etc. can slowly add up. Perhaps a more recent example is the 2011 grounding of MV Rena on Astrolabe reef (link), where the vessel data recorder captured a slow drift from the paper plot.

The other night I happened to watch a completely unrelated video discussing the frequency of cars crashing into buildings. The narrator made the observation that in the US it's common to try to figure out who's to blame, and then the matter is generally settled (until the next time), and contrasted that with the approach in Amsterdam where a more complete investigation of the causative factors is undertaken. I bring this up because in each case it's easy to point to errors made by the vessels involved; there are usually many. But, in terms of safety engineering, telling people to they simply need to "pay more attention" is generally considered an ineffective approach.

The final bit I want to mention is the regulatory aspect. Often there is a desired to ensure that electronic systems are "perfect" and thus in most of the world the legal equivalent of paper charts is an extremely expensive ECDIS system. This creates an environment where many who can't afford that cost may continue with older technology (i.e. paper) under the reasoning that either paper is "still perfectly safe" or "anything non-ECDIS isn't as safe". As mentioned, I think the former isn't correct any longer, and thus the attempts to "bulletproof" electronic replacements may in the aggregate reduce safety.

Here's an example with completely arbitrary numbers: Suppose you get a 1% accident rate with the very expensive system, a 3% rate with an inexpensive and widely-available system, and an 8% rate with paper. If you force people to choose between the first and third, you might end up with an average 6% rate overall as few can afford the fancy system. If you allow the middle option, perhaps you end up with a 4% rate overall as everyone moves to it. Sure, someone skilled with paper might be safer, but that's like saying a skilled driver can handle a car in a skid: most people aren't that skilled and need the computer to help.
 
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