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Old 05-10-2015, 09:47 PM   #41
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In addition to the various "traditional" navigational tools noted above (paper chart, pencil, parallel rule, dividers, depth sounder, etc.) is the hand held bearing compass.


The "hockey puck" style are indispensable for taking and plotting bearings to reference points such as buoys, towers, points of land, etc., which when plotted and combined with depth or a second bearing can be very useful in determining your position.


Hand Bearing Compasses | West Marine
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Old 05-10-2015, 09:50 PM   #42
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The other thing that's pretty cool, but not seen much anymore is the RDF, radio direction finder, used to determine a bearing to a radio signal... and in fog, or a storm is a great way to fix a position, using bearings on two or three radio signals.


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Old 05-10-2015, 10:15 PM   #43
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We've almost danced around this subject as much as anchors. For those who feel safer and more comfortable or just enjoy paper charts, then use them. Just make sure you make all updates and corrections before each voyage. Just don't imply that's the only way to safely navigate. I know people who still print out every email and everything they do on the computer because they like to mark on things or they're just more comfortable having hard copies.

Then some of us have grown up in different times. We started navigation in a time of advanced electronic systems and charts. We actually had to learn secondarily the use of paper and celestial navigation is a whole additional subject. But then outside of legal documents such as titles and deeds, we don't have any paper document files either, not personally or for our businesses. And, yes, we have things backed up in multiple locations and on multiple systems.

We all do what we're most comfortable and trained with. Hopefully we all have redundant methods of some sort.

Oh and we have no paper road maps either. I never could fold those things back. lol
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Old 05-10-2015, 10:42 PM   #44
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I've said it before - the only viable use of paper onboard a cruising boat today is toilet paper. Although if you run out, in a pinch, paper charts might make a substitute. So I'm wrong - perhaps paper charts do have a place onboard...
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Old 05-10-2015, 11:10 PM   #45
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We've almost danced around this subject as much as anchors. For those who feel safer and more comfortable or just enjoy paper charts, then use them. Just make sure you make all updates and corrections before each voyage. Just don't imply that's the only way to safely navigate. I know people who still print out every email and everything they do on the computer because they like to mark on things or they're just more comfortable having hard copies.

Then some of us have grown up in different times. We started navigation in a time of advanced electronic systems and charts. We actually had to learn secondarily the use of paper and celestial navigation is a whole additional subject. But then outside of legal documents such as titles and deeds, we don't have any paper document files either, not personally or for our businesses. And, yes, we have things backed up in multiple locations and on multiple systems.

We all do what we're most comfortable and trained with. Hopefully we all have redundant methods of some sort.

Oh and we have no paper road maps either. I never could fold those things back. lol

I too enjoy the function of modern nav electronics. My point is I keep a backup of paper charts and the nav know-how that is necessary to use them.

May never need them, but it is like tools in the tool box. Don't expect to use each daily. But they are there.

To Jeffrey S- Implying that the only use of paper charts is to wipe your a$$, that's a bit over the top. I'll leave our discussion at that.
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Old 05-10-2015, 11:26 PM   #46
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May never need them, but it is like tools in the tool box.

.
We keep our tools in a different tool box. And we also know how to use them. We fully know how to use paper, we just don't use that medium. Now as long as we have any form of electric power we can access charts. And if we have no batteries, no generators, no form of electicity, then I guess we better turn to a lifeboat or prepare to use our anchor. Sure hope the electric blackout doesn't take all them out as well.
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Old 05-11-2015, 12:31 AM   #47
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- 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.
While I suppose that someone who didn't know how to navigate with paper charts could get themselves into trouble, I believe that most people today who have paper charts and nav tools on their boat probably know how to use them if they need to. The "I only need electronics" crowd probably does't even have paper charts on their boats and wouldn't know what to do with them if they did other than make cute laminated placemats out of them.

I have noticed a bizzare phenomenon over the last 36 years I have been flying and boating in this region from here up the BC coast and throughout SE Alaska. I realize this may be unique to this area only, judging by the "out of date" chart posts I see from time to time, mostly from east coast people. But all the bays, channels, passes, islands, rocks, reefs, points, spits, peninsulas, sounds, straits, inlets, shallow spots and deep spots, to say nothing of the mainland itself, are all exactly in the same place today out here as they were 36 years ago.

Now I realize that the earth's plates are moving at some measurable speed but in the overall scheme of things, 36 years is not going to see enough movement to cause much concern in getting a boat from A to B using charts that are a few decades old.

So I find this out-of-date-chart concern to be, as Shakespeare wrote, much ado about nothing, at least in terms of where the rocks and stuff are.

The exception I do give credibility to are the folks that boat rivers. My senior year in high school was spent at a co-ed boarding school in close proximity to the Mississippi River and I learned that that river is truly making things up as it goes along. So currency in charts, paper or electronic, is pretty important in that environment.

But up here where we boat nothing seems to move. Which, while boring, makes life pretty predictable when determining how to get a boat from A to B via C. Paper charts, electronic charts, or, for a lot of long-time cruising boaters and sport fishermen we know, simply looking out the window; it all seems to work just fine.

It's puzzling, but I suspect it's because everything we need to not hit when we're out boating stays in exactly the same place year after year after year. Which would mean that all those outdated charts being used out there, paper or electronic, are really not outdated at all.

Sure, old charts, paper or electronic, don't show nav aid changes and whatnot. But in all the years we've been boating this coast, we have yet to come across a nav aid change that would make a lick of difference to our navigation, paper or electronic. Not saying this doesn't happen, of course, but the picture that's being painted in this thread (and others) of the USCG madly moving navaids around on a daily basis is rubbish in our experience.

In fact, of the three three main modes of transportation on the planet, air, land, and water, water is by far the most static and unchanging.

We like and use electronic navigation all the time. We also have paper charts/chartbooks on board. They come in handy from time to time to confirm the electronic displays or to use in planning.

People can use whatever means of navigation they like and are comfortable using on their boats. I know of at least one person who uses only a depth sounder, a compass, and paper charts to navigate his way around the PNW and BC coasts with total success. He has done more boating in these waters than the vast majority of the other recreational boaters in the area. Do I want to operate our boats the way he does? No. Do I think what he's doing is wrong? No. Dangerous? For the boater who hasn't a clue how to do this, absolutely. For the person like the fellow I'm describing, of course not.

To make a blanket statement that paper charts are dangerous is absurd and indicates a very narrow view of the realities of boating.
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Old 05-11-2015, 12:42 AM   #48
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I think the most value I get from paper charts is to be able to see over a larger area but still have the detail. I have a problem sometimes getting an over view of an area that I can see on electronics.
I find the same thing on GPS in my car or on my phone- sometimes it would be nice to have a larger view of the area but still see the detail.
Another issue with electronic charts- and I am aware of why this is- I often wish the print would expand when I expand the image. Some things are really hard to read for the old eyes. So I have my magnifying glass from the chart table to read my computer screen.
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Old 05-11-2015, 01:06 AM   #49
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I have charts and refer to them when needed but my eyes and depth finder are my go to tools. While I own a radar and chart plotter I've seen zero value installing them so they reside in a box at home. The rare times I question where I'm at or go somewhere new navionics on my iPhone is more than adequate.

Inland river navigation is not difficult where I'm at and shoals are well known and predictable with a little experience. If we covered long distances we'd add what we feel is prudent. Paper charts and knowing how to use them are part of that. Besides, paper charts seem well supported unlike last years gee whiz gizmo that's been superseded by the latest and greatest model.

On our boat I am the chart plotter.
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Old 05-11-2015, 01:25 AM   #50
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I have noticed a bizzare phenomenon over the last 36 years I have been flying and boating in this region from here up the BC coast and throughout SE Alaska. I realize this may be unique to this area only, judging by the "out of date" chart posts I see from time to time, mostly from east coast people. But all the bays, channels, passes, islands, rocks, reefs, points, spits, peninsulas, sounds, straits, inlets, shallow spots and deep spots, to say nothing of the mainland itself, are all exactly in the same place today as they were 36 years ago.

So I find this out-of-date-chart concern to be, as Shakespeare wrote, much ado about nothing, at least in terms of where the rocks and stuff are.

The exception I do give credibility to are the folks that boat rivers. My senior year in high school was spent at a co-ed boarding school in close proximity to the Mississippi River and I learned that that river is truly making things up as it goes along. So currency in charts, paper or electronic, is pretty important in that environment.
Well, you hit it in your "mostly from east coast people" and in your rivers comment but didn't give yourself credit or recognize the significance. The issues are most common in the various ICW's and in areas around some of the coastal island areas, such as the Keys. Where there are inlets from the ocean to the ICW is the area of the most changes in the channel and in shoals as well as movement of markers being required. This is without even getting to nearby areas like the Bahamas.

You're correct that where you're dealing with solid structure of the area and very deep water in most of the PNW it's not a major issue to my knowledge. But anyone using any of the various ICW's with outdated charts and without looking at various sources of navigation alerts and notices to mariners as well as chart changes could be surprised.

Here is a link to the most recent Notice to Mariners for District 7. This is a weekly published document.

http://www.navcen.uscg.gov/pdf/lnms/lnm07182015.pdf

Note the document for last week is 50 pages. Section II, Discrepancies (Aids to navigation differing from what is published or charted) is 10 pages. Section II, Temporary Changes is 5 pages. Section IV, Chart Corrections is 7 pages. That should give you perspective into the caution in certain areas against outdated paper charts.

The PNW document is far smaller. Only a couple of pages for discrepancies and temporary changes and 3 pages for chart corrections.

Obviously for those preferring paper charts, the solution is easy. Just check and correct/update.
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Old 05-11-2015, 01:35 AM   #51
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I think the most value I get from paper charts is to be able to see over a larger area but still have the detail. I have a problem sometimes getting an over view of an area that I can see on electronics.
I find the same thing on GPS in my car or on my phone- sometimes it would be nice to have a larger view of the area but still see the detail.
We had the same issue. The solution for us is an app for the iPad called Navimatics. It's a charting app, not a navigation app, and what's great is that you can go from a full view of Vancouver Island, for example, to a view of just a small part of a tiny harbor on Vancouver Island with just a couple of finger swipes. It also interfaces with Active Captain so you get all the very useful descriptions, observations, experiences and ratings that Active Captain offers.

So now instead of leafing through the big pages of chartbooks we can zip in for the tight view and then back out for the bigger picture with some finger swipes on the screen.

We got the west coast version which covers the coast from the Mexican border up through BC and all of Alaska.

Photo is us entering Gabriola Passage in the Gulf Islands. The iPad with Navimatics is on top of the chartboard beside the helm.
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Old 05-11-2015, 02:08 AM   #52
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Well, you hit it in your "mostly from east coast people" and in your rivers comment but didn't give yourself credit or recognize the significance.
Oh, I'm well aware of the changing environment along the eastern/southeastern seaboard. While we have no interest in boating "the ditch" we have friends who boat there and so we're aware that things are changing constantly. Hell, they even have to keep moving the lighthouses out there before they fall into the sea.

Rivers, on the other hand, I am interested in, particularly thanks to my fascinating albeit far too short, exposure to the Mississippi during my senior year.

A big disappointment in my life is my mother's refusal to let me canoe with a friend after graduation down the river from the last locks above St. Louis to my friend's relatives home in Baton Rouge. I was the one with the canoeing experience, he bought the brand new Grumman canoe and had all the camping gear.

We ordered a huge Army Corps of Engineers chartbook of the river that showed every mile of it in extreme detail. We spent weeks poring though the charts planning every day's paddle, which islands we'd camp on, which towns we'd resupply in, and so on.

And then my mom said I couldn't do it unless we had adult accompaniment and supervision. Bloody parents. I never forgave her for that.

Anyway, I'm well acquainted albeit not from direct experience with the costantly shifting nature of rivers like the Mississippi. We've dealt with it directly on the Stikine River in BC with the floatplane. (photo)
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Old 05-11-2015, 02:37 AM   #53
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Wifey B: I was asleep and just woke and had a question. Why are we discussing Navigation in Depth? Isn't in Navigation in Shallow where the big problems are?
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Old 05-11-2015, 03:16 AM   #54
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That depends. Are you navigating in Chesapeake Bay or over the Marianas Trench?
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Old 05-11-2015, 06:18 AM   #55
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"Bloody parents. I never forgave her for that"

Times change , Herrishoff at 14 -16 or so had no hassles sailing with his blind brother from Mass to NYC to see some boats , and return.

Today parents that allow their kids to walk 1/2 mile unaccompanied to a playground are taken to child abuse court.
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Old 05-11-2015, 07:52 AM   #56
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To make a blanket statement that paper charts are dangerous is absurd and indicates a very narrow view of the realities of boating.
I don't think so. In fact, the statement comes directly FROM the realities of boating. I'm in a unique position of being invited on hundreds of boats every year. I usually talk about charts and see what different boaters are using in different areas. We cruise through the year putting on between 2,500 and 5,000 nm each year.

Having paper charts onboard today for the large majority of boaters is like having a set of feeler gauges in the set of tools that are carried in their car. Sure, they're fine tools. There's nothing wrong with them. But 98% of car drivers don't know how to use them. Heck, 95% of car drivers don't even have a set of tools in their car except, perhaps, a lug wrench.

I totally agree that charts don't change much when the coastline is rock. I've lived in Maine for 22 years. The granite coastline doesn't move. But that's just not the way it is at all in many, many other places. As someone else pointed out, review the Local Notice to Mariners put out every week. We're likely one of the very few who review all 17 districts of them every week. It's wildly rare to see a single navigation warning other than a light of buoy out of place in the PNW. There are dozens of major navigational depth change LNM's in the east every week. We have 600 hazards documented along the ICW alone and that doesn't include NJ where major sections of the landscape have changed and depths from 4 years ago are no longer real. A NOAA cartographer himself wrote a comment on a hazard just south of Fernandina Beach admitting that their charts are so far off, that they're updating the charts this week and getting the CG to put out LNM's about it. Read that here:
https://activecaptain.com/X.php?lat=...76154&t=n&z=15

His comment is the top one, entered by him a couple of days ago. This type of thing happens every week. Another reality is that boaters find these hazards and changes long before the government does - NOAA licenses our hazard data because they found it to be much more current than the information the CG was providing.

And this isn't limited to the ICW or NJ east. Nothing shifts and moves more than the Bahamas. Run around gunkholing in the Chesapeake and you'll quickly find that you watch your depth sounder more than the charts. I've never needed to do that in Maine.

Another thing most people forget is that an electronic charts can do all the things a paper chart can do. You don't have to have a GPS to make it work. You can draw laylines, measure distances, zoom out for a broader view. As most of us well know, raster charts are just "photographs" of the paper charts. Does it really matter whether you read a book on paper, a Kindle, or an iPad? It's the same thing with charts.

So yeah, my blanket statements are more about the realities of boating than any argument I've heard yet. Reality recognizes that most boaters honestly can't use the tools from the previous generation. To go even further, when I go onto a boat where someone boasts about using paper charts, again, there are no pencil marks or no tracking on the paper. It's rare to find the chartkit even flipped to the right page. They boast about using a tool that they don't honestly use but have some odd fear that they're not a "real" boater unless they claim they're in the "paper chart" camp. It's mostly BS. I'm just one of the first to stand up and call it that.
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Old 05-11-2015, 07:56 AM   #57
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For those parents who'll let their kids drink from the hose and wander about, the outward bound school on hurricane island Maine teaches a 3 week nav and sailing course in open boats during the summer. They also do courses for adults. Not cheap but the skills aren't perishable either. They also have a program in the keys.


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Old 05-11-2015, 08:32 AM   #58
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I don't think so. In fact, the statement comes directly FROM the realities of boating. I'm in a unique position of being invited on hundreds of boats every year. I usually talk about charts and see what different boaters are using in different areas. We cruise through the year putting on between 2,500 and 5,000 nm each year.

.........edited out.......

Blanket statements are more about the realities of boating than any argument I've heard yet. Reality recognizes that most boaters honestly can't use the tools from the previous generation. To go even further, when I go onto a boat where someone boasts about using paper charts, again, there are no pencil marks or no tracking on the paper. It's rare to find the chartkit even flipped to the right page. They boast about using a tool that they don't honestly use but have some odd fear that they're not a "real" boater unless they claim they're in the "paper chart" camp. It's mostly BS. I'm just one of the first to stand up and call it that.
Thanks.....

while I won't say that paper charts are anymore dangerous than anything else....any tool used poorly or improperly can be dangerous...especially by the overconfident.

I rarely use my navigation slide rule or navigate by the stars or try to navigate in the fog with just may depthsounder...all things I did in previous decades.

Now I recreationally boat in my home, which I really don't want to do without even for 5 minutes from improper navigation. I also want it to be as much fun and as relaxing as possible. Going back to the old ways?.....only if absolutely necessary.
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Old 05-11-2015, 09:50 AM   #59
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The significant trend I have noted is that culturally it has become acceptable to be dependent upon electronic devices instead of using them as tools. All the difference in the world is contained simply in the persons approach of how they use their tools. Do they anticipate failure scenarios and plan? Do they practice even a few moments operation without such a tool just to see how hard it would be. As human beings, we have the ability to be creative, to find solutions, but there is a whole element of society today who would not be able to write a manual in a scenario where someone did not already do it for them. The one tool that can get us out of just about any scenario, is the one that is considered fully optional today, and I'm talking about the fuzzy grey matter between your ears.

There are plenty of options to navigate without electronics. Might not be my preference, but I could do it.
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Old 05-11-2015, 10:00 AM   #60
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The significant trend I have noted is that culturally it has become acceptable to be dependent upon electronic devices instead of using them as tools.
Of course we have become dependent on electronics, charts included.

Thats because they work reliably.

I started boating with paper charts. I started flying before moving map GPS existed for civilians. I know how to plot a course on paper.

I can plot that same course on my IPAD using the same thought process. The only difference is instead of manually calculating the course to steer my Ipad does it for me.

My need for paper charts has been eliminated by technology. Just like my need for allot of paper things.

There are two things we use for navigation. Position and awareness of what's ahead. Loose either and we are at risk. Position is not only by gps. It is by your eyes. Looking at the terrain around you, matching that up with what you see on the charts. While we might think we are totally dependant on gps for position, that generally is not really the case. We know our location more accurately than we think all the time just by thinking.

Personally I think we'd be better served (for the average boater) on developing skills to fix our boats at sea than worring wether our electronic charts are going to leave us in a pickle. Cant remember the last assist call I heard saying "my plotter is dead, please help" but I hear calls every weekend from boaters looking for help fixing things that they should be able to fix themselves.
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