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Old 05-04-2014, 06:35 PM   #1
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Updating My GPS Charts

We are planning our voyage in September down the ICW, from Annapolis to Marco Island, FL, via Okeechobee waterway. While south, it's likely we'll travel down to the keys, too.

We have the charts that came with the boat and our Raymarine MFD's in 2012. We think that they were installed in spring/summer of 2012.

As prudent mariners we'd like to buy and install updated charts that will cover us for the trip.

I believe that I'll need the latest electronic charts from Navionics for our MFD as well as a good paper chart book. By the way, who makes the best chart book?

We'd hate to buy them now and then learn about updates a few months later. We keep reading that shoaling in the ICW can make navigation pretty tricky so we're trying to get the latest information.

Can anyone advise us on the timing of these purchases, as well as any other advice regarding best pricing and installation?

Other tips on navigation will also be appreciated.

Thank You!
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Old 05-04-2014, 11:56 PM   #2
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Although I'd encourage you to update your charts, you shouldn't expect them to give you much of any useful info on shoaling. Active captian is probably best for that, though I find about 1 useful hazard mark out of every 10 posted. Many warn about shoaling and hazards outside of the main waterways, depths that drop, but at still well within the controlling depth, and stuff that is way out of date and hasn't been removed. In fact, it's not clear how/if hazards ever do get purged. Jeff? I'm sure it's a daunting task to do it.

Anyway, as far as charts becoming immediately out of date, I think most vendors now offer some period of updates when you purchase - like free updates for the first 6 months or something like that. It's worth checking.
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Old 05-05-2014, 12:05 AM   #3
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You need to talk with Navionics as to when the best time to update would be.

As to paper charts, I like the "Interacoastal Waterway Chartbook Norfolk to Miami" and the Maptech chart kits.

As far as up to date info it's hard to beat the Cruisers Net and Active Captain.

In fact if your paper charts are only as old as 2012 I don't know if I would bother replacing them for that trip. Just check AC and CN as you go for trouble spots.

There are also cheap or free chart programs for you computer, like Polar Navy, that you could run as a back up if you feel the need. Plus chart apps you can put on your phone or tablet.
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Old 05-05-2014, 05:51 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Capt.Bill11 View Post

As far as up to date info it's hard to beat the Cruisers Net and Active Captain.
.
Cruisers Net, Active Captain and Waterway Guide.
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Old 05-05-2014, 07:52 AM   #5
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Navionics has a free upgrade program now for the first year you own the chip, you do it with your computer. As Bill says, call them or Raymarine. I'd agree it is a bit borderline but the chips are typically about 200 bucks depending on model and cover the whole eastern US, so why not? If it is a 2012 chip you may be able to upgrade it via download.

We like the Maptech chart books for the "big picture", but consider the Kettlewell ICW chart book a great adjunct. Also check out the Doyle's books, they very good (Managing the Waterway, On The Water Chart Guides) I just haven't had the chance to use them on the water personally.

I too find AC too cluttered, prefer Cruisernet which is more aggressively edited. Definitely second the rec on the Waterway Guide books in addition to the Doyles.
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Old 05-06-2014, 07:55 AM   #6
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Not much changes on the ICW , the buoys get more numerous .

My 1960 paper charts have 5 or 6 buoy numbers crossed out and new installed.

A hand held GPS does the nav today , but the paper is insurance.
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Old 05-06-2014, 02:47 PM   #7
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An electronic chart is no better than the paper charts it was created from. If the areas haven't been surveyed since your charts were produced and the paper charts haven't been updated, you gain nothing from a "new" electronic chart.

I use electronic charts and I plot my routes in advance on the PC but the most important thing is using your eyes. Trust what you see first, then the chart.
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Old 05-06-2014, 05:19 PM   #8
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I always felt the two most important navigation tools on the ICW were a good pair of binoculars and your depth finders. Third, radar. Remember, a plotter or chart represent a theory of where you are and what is around you. So reality-based navigation comes first, IMO.

When she had the helm, Ann especially liked the Kettlewell chart, could have it right at the wheel; she'd just check off each set of markers or other landmark with a pencil as she passed them. If something seemed out of whack, stop the boat and try to figure out what was happening.

Actually in a lot of areas the markers are changed, go off station, added and subtracted on a regular basis so something updated to the LNM is nice, but not necessary IMO. You might be there the day they put in that new buoy. I just read the LNM every week and annotated the chart and put an advance note in the log if need be.
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