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Old 05-09-2015, 09:01 PM   #21
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...Story on point: Piloting a relatively slow boat through the NC sounds. In a relatively open area and a big sport cruiser passes us at about 25-30kts. As he gets ahead, I see him turning too soon to pass a bar. I call on the radio using vessel name as I had read it as he passed. "so-and-so, you are heading to a bar.." Response, "we are on course according to our plotter..." He piles it up, mud spraying from the props. We slow down and ask if anyone is hurt or if he is flooding. Response: no one hurt, no flooding. We ask if he needs emergency assistance, response: no. He calls towboat and we say goodbye and motor on.
local knowledge is a wonderful thing
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Old 05-10-2015, 05:23 AM   #22
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Take the courses like the USCGAux Basic Coastal Navigation and Advanced Coastal Navigation. You will learn something that will save your butt one day, even if you never pick up a paper chart again.
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Old 05-10-2015, 09:14 AM   #23
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Take the courses like the USCGAux Basic Coastal Navigation and Advanced Coastal Navigation. You will learn something that will save your butt one day, even if you never pick up a paper chart again.
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Old 05-10-2015, 09:38 AM   #24
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I'm steeping into this quagmire late but...

I do not carry paper charts any more.

What I have is a thing called redundancy.

2 gps, 2 chart chips, 2 depth sounders, on 2 separate breakers.

Plus an IPAD with Maxsea and charts downloaded.

If all that will not work I'm in deep kimche anyway

The reality of needing paper charts is unclaculatably small

That said I agree with the need for navigation training. While I didn't take any formal boat navigation training, I'm a land and seaplane pilot, and the training and experience navigating an aircraft directly correlates to boat navigating in most respects.
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Old 05-10-2015, 09:47 AM   #25
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And, the latest edition of the USCG navigation rules and regulations, which is required to be carried on board can now be carried in electronic format.



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Old 05-10-2015, 10:16 AM   #26
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I met a sailor in Horta in 1981 who was on his second lap around the world. His nav suite consisted of an am radio, a compass, a set of ocean scale charts, a sextant and a stopwatch. Oh and his boat was 28' long.


Via iPhone.
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Old 05-10-2015, 10:20 AM   #27
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He was trying to get from Cuba to the USA and clearly got lost.
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Old 05-10-2015, 10:56 AM   #28
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Although I have paper charts on board, I never refer to them. When a long cruise (to us) is only 70 miles, there's no need. I can't say enough about the electronic charts as they are so easy to use.
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Old 05-10-2015, 01:37 PM   #29
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good reason to have a depth sounder separate from the plotter. With a depth sounder and charts you can easily stay out of trouble.


Without a depth sounder you are reduced to taking bearings and that can be cumbersome in shallow waters. Not a big deal when offshore though, until the fog comes in.
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Old 05-10-2015, 01:46 PM   #30
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Keep in mind that GPS works only through the good graces of the US military. If a serious conflict occurs somewhere in the world, the consumer GPS channels will be disabled or scrambled, leaving function only to the military channels. Their opponents don't have access to those channels and will be back on paper charts!!

You'll know when something bad is going on somewhere in the world when your gps no longer gives a position. And that means every gps on your boat.

That's how I understand it to work, but someone more knowledgeable can correct me...
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Old 05-10-2015, 03:08 PM   #31
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Right on Ski. We once had a half mile or so circle our marina was in blacked out from GPs due to some military exercise going on. Another time, peacefully anchored out, this little series was drawn on the plotter:

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Old 05-10-2015, 03:13 PM   #32
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K

That's how I understand it to work, but someone more knowledgeable can correct me...
Nope, you're correct. For years the civiliian GPS had a skew in the signal. This is why the accuracy was given as only about 100 feet or even worse. When we put our first plotter on our boat in 1998 we could sit in our slip and watch our position wander around us at random, sometimes being clear over the other side of the channel.

The skew was taken out of the civillian signal during the Clinton adminstration. It is just a matter of a few keystrokes to put it back or kill the civilian signal altogether.

This would not be a decision that was taken lightly as the civilian signal is used by everything from commercial jetliners and ships to trucks and trains and in agriculture.
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Old 05-10-2015, 04:05 PM   #33
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I took all paper charts off my boat in fall, 2010. True to form, in spring, 2011, while offshore, at night, all the built-in electronics on our boat blinked and went black.

30 seconds later, the iPad was my main chartplotter with an iPhone backup. 2 minutes later, our PC laptop was booted, running Coastal Explorer, plugged into the NMEA interface set up for it, and driving the autopilot with the identical route our Raymarine at the time was using. Spoiler...we actually lived through the experience.

I personally believe that for coastal cruising, paper charts are dangerous. Yes, dangerous. They don't add to your safety. They take away from it. It's an easy debate to win with 98% of boaters. There are only a very few boaters today with the skills to use paper charts any longer. For the rest of us, they're dangerous.

Here's the questions to ask yourself:

- How up-to-date, really, are your paper charts? What I've found while walking onto other boats over the last 8+ years is that the charts are almost never newer than 3-5 years old unless the boat is newer to the owner than 5 years.

- How much practice have you done with DR plotting? I admit to running DR tracks until about 2005. Then we'd do them only on offshore passages at night. By 2007/8, we never did them. By 2009, I was enough out-of-practice that I surely couldn't do it with confidence. Add some bad weather, rocking and rolling, and a little stress, and there's no way I could make it work. And I'm the guy who loves mathematics and is drawn to it.

Q: So what do paper charts give you?

A: A false sense of security.

Don't rely on paper charts that won't help when you need it. For the price of a couple of chartkits that won't even get you down the whole east coast, you can have a backup Android tablet with MX Mariner and every US chart available (and current).

There are much cheaper coasters for your coffee than paper charts. I say that because I've seen many more coffee spill marks on charts at helms these day than I see pencil marks calculating LOP's and DR.
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Old 05-10-2015, 04:37 PM   #34
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Dangerous? Can you be serious??

How much changes on charts in 5, 10, 20yrs? Some channels, some markers, some ranges. Landmarks and bottom contours stay fairly constant.

So the cartoons go dark- a 10yr old chart still gives you useful information. Enough to enter a strange harbor at night? No. But hardly call an old chart dangerous.

Edit. Getting cranky here. This Ana thing has been dumping on me for like four days. Going into maybe what, six days???? Grrr.
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Old 05-10-2015, 05:03 PM   #35
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Dangerous? Can you be serious??
Very serious. Multiple magazines debated my position around November, 2013 - PassageMaker, Sail, etc. My original essay is here:
"The second most dangerous thing onboard"
https://activecaptain.com/newsletters/2013-10-23.php

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How much changes on charts in 5, 10, 20yrs? Some channels, some markers, some ranges. Landmarks and bottom contours stay fairly constant.
Like the coast and bays of NJ after Sandy? Like most of the inlets along the east coast? Why is NOAA making tens of thousands of chart updates a year?
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Old 05-10-2015, 05:12 PM   #36
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So if you lose GPS signal, you would rather have no paper charts on the boat, updated or not?
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Old 05-10-2015, 05:27 PM   #37
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Paper charts don't have Active Captain support built in.

This just in: paper charts can be as up to date as you want. But I will grant one thing, like a chartplotter, they too only represent a theory of where you are.
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Old 05-10-2015, 05:53 PM   #38
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So if you lose GPS signal, you would rather have no paper charts on the boat, updated or not?
Yes because all of my electronic chart systems can be used the same way that paper charts are used when there isn't any GPS available. I've done DR on my iPad just to experiment. Software like Coastal Explorer does live progressive DR if the GPS fails.

So the electronic display is just as good as paper when the GPS fails. Of course, I've yet to have a total GPS failure nor have there been GPS system failures. So in the overwhelming bulk of the use, the electronics will be far superior because the paper chart never show you where you are.

George, this has nothing to do with ActiveCaptain. Knock it off.
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Old 05-10-2015, 06:00 PM   #39
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I think we can agree to disagree. I'll keep my paper charts and plotting tools on board.

I've got my rig set up to run with loss of any or all electrical or electronic component. Keeping paper charts is part of that.

You must not venture into areas with much lightning... Take a strike and you can lose most all electronics.
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Old 05-10-2015, 09:38 PM   #40
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You must not venture into areas with much lightning... Take a strike and you can lose most all electronics.
There's not a recorded lightning strike that has taken out a mobile phone from someone's pocket (you wouldn't survive the defibrillation that would also occur). It's quite rare for disconnected electronics to have any ill effect from a storm. The reality is that a direct strike would take out a trawler's engines so navigation isn't really all that important - recovery is. I think I'll vote for the mobile phone over the paper charts to aid in my recovery too.

It's also quite simple to keep a device or two in waterproof cases. Of course, take a direct hit through the pilothouse window in bad weather and let's see how well the chartkit handles rain, sea spray, and a wave or two.
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