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Old 07-31-2022, 08:51 PM   #1
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Do I really need paper charts?

Iím going to be cruising back from Ontario to NJ and have brand new electronic charts on my 2 chart plotters (upper and lower helms) and a backup one as well. I have paper charts of Lake Ontario/Oswego Canal and then will head ast on on the Erie Canal. After exiting the Erie Canal, Iíll be heading down the Hudson to NY harbor and then to Sandy Hook. And then down to Barnegat Bay via Manasquan inlet and Pt Pleasant Canal. Anyway, my electronic charts will be less than 2 weeks old and cover the entire trip. And I have the latest Skipper Bob Guide to the Oswego and Erie Canals and the latest Waterway Guide that covers the Hudson River and NY harbor etc. So do I really need paper charts too? I can download from NOAA pdf versions of all of the charts (there are many) that cover the route but is this even necessary? And to buy full size charts would be expensive Thoughts from actual cruisers please.
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Old 07-31-2022, 09:21 PM   #2
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Whether or not you need paper charts is rapidly becoming irrelevant, as they are increasingly difficult to obtain. We don't have paper charts for the entire trip we are on right now, Puget Sound to Glacier Bay, and back, about 2,900 miles all told. I WISH I had paper charts for everything, but I couldn't find all of them, and the ones I DID locate were old charts, years out of date.
Our solution was to have backups to the backups for electronic charts, 2 tablets, 3 I-phones, and two laptop computers. Not the best solution, but the best I could come up with.
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Old 07-31-2022, 09:23 PM   #3
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You don't need them. You may want them but no way you need them (I find old school raster charts intuitive for visual navigation)
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Old 07-31-2022, 09:27 PM   #4
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You may not have a choice since both the US and Cda. have quit printing paper charts.

I too have several tablets , two in use right in front of me + my wifes in front of her. My are usually set for large scale and one for small scale.

We don't have the room for larger screens.

Personally I like the paper charts and still use them for the areas we frequent.

They show far more detail at a glance and show the overall areas .

HOwever we are faced with no choice unless some one has them and no longer needs them or used in a chandlery.
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Old 07-31-2022, 09:31 PM   #5
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Navionics or AquaMap on an IPad or IPhone makes excellent primary or secondary chart plotter.

I have a set of chartbooks but haven't opened them in years. I haven't looked at a paper chart in many years. My basic navigation set is buried somewhere in my basement.

So no, you do not need paper charts. In my opinion you will never use them.
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Old 07-31-2022, 09:40 PM   #6
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Thanks for the feedback

I believe I can download and print pdf versions of some charts, we shrinking of bringing to a Staples or Office Max and having them printed large scale. Some cost but nothing like buying full size charts. But I donít really think I need them but I guess if all of the chartplotters die, then I would be happy to have them. Of course if all of the chartplotters die, chances are the boat isnít moving either.

Thanks everyone for the replies
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Old 07-31-2022, 09:47 PM   #7
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Paper charts? Terribly old fashioned, like me.
The navigational information and ability of chart plotters is another miracle of the age of steam, and something we should fall on our knees and give thanks for. But I like to spread out a paper chart, even- forgive me- an out of date one, for planning purposes, at the end of the day, and perhaps with a beverage.
It is regrettably the case that within the next 12-24 months they will be gone.
In the last two weeks I went to a place here in Desolation Sound where I knew they had a stock of local charts. They are several years out of date. I explained the Australian expression 'money for old rope' to the boss, and asked what he would charge me if I took 6 or 8, rather than him using them to light his fireplace this winter.
He invited me to take what I wanted. I am sitting here now in in Galley Bay admiring a couple of them.
Get 'em while you can.
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Old 07-31-2022, 10:17 PM   #8
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I made a point to down load all the raster charts for the west coast. I can print them out using banner mode on the printer. Then I just tape the sheets together. Problem is they are out of date.

The fact is I use a Raymarine chart plotter for navigation and I do all my planning on navionics on my iPad.

The last time I actually used a paper chart was an Art project.

I have 3 MFD’s, two iPads, one Phone, one InReach, and three laptops all with some form of chart plotting.
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Old 07-31-2022, 10:35 PM   #9
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I have paper charts but do you really need them? I don't think so. What you need is redundancy to back up your primary nav system. I have an Furuno chart plotter that's integrated with radar as my primary. I have a tablet with Navionics chart plotter as a backup which runs on an internal battery. And a laptop with a plotter. And I have a chart plotter on my cell phone. I use the tablet for route planning. I haven't used my paper charts in many years....never needed them.
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Old 07-31-2022, 11:51 PM   #10
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I have a book of charts of the Delta and surrounding area, spiral bound with facility references and locations. I like to review it before a trip and it doesn't take up much space and fits in the document drawer with the rest of the boat docs.

Nah, don't need it, but I'm glad I have it -
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Old 08-01-2022, 03:16 AM   #11
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I do have paper charts on board and if we stay in view of land I don't plan my position on the chart
However, if we have a leg outside of view of land I will keep my position updated on a chart.
Why ?
Electronics are nice, but they can fail. And if they fail you have absolutely nothing to determine your position.
Can all electronic equipment fail ? Well, you could run out of electrical power because of an electrical failure and then you will need paper charts again.
On top of that, I still see it as good practice to keep plotting your position on a paper chart, knowing how to calculate a course, a distance, drift etc. Too many people now fully rely on electronic equipment and basically have no idea anymore how the basics work.

But again, if I am within view of land I won't plot my track nor position on a paper chart.
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Old 08-01-2022, 05:03 AM   #12
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You don't need a spare tire and jack in the car, because after all, how often is it used?
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Old 08-01-2022, 05:32 AM   #13
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You don't need a spare tire and jack in the car, because after all, how often is it used?
OP already has a couple spares. Plus all sorts of information off a cell phone. He's not exactly crossing an ocean - planned trip is a well marked path day-tripping from Ontario CAN to NJ, presumably there are ATONs and other vessels he coupld follow if two onboard nav systems failed, his tablet failed, and all cell phones failed. How many spare tires should one carry on a trip across town?

Question: let's say updated paper charts are aboard and all electronic navigation systems (including cell phone) are suddenly vaporized. How many of us would continue the trip to the intended final destination uninterrupted?

The use-case for paper charts is extremely narrow - approaching an unknown harbor from sea comes to mind because you can't safely anchor and buy time. I'm sure there are other use-cases, but you get the idea.

Peter
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Old 08-01-2022, 05:37 AM   #14
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I'm just not comfortable cruising without paper charts. Maybe because I'm old school, I don't know, but we keep our 30+ year-old chartbook open on our current location page the whole time, updating the markers as we go. When we started cruising a few years back, my wife Liz would make fun of me and my chartbook that was printed well into the 20th century. Now ,she's the one who uses it the most. Surprisingly, the "outdated" charts from last century aren't too inaccurate at all. The geographical features dont change that much (except for inlets & their proximities) and we actually use it more than you would think. It's just easier to study a paper chart rather than zoom in on an electronic one. Plus it's so damn hard to use a parallel ruler & dividers on our MFD's...
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Old 08-01-2022, 06:01 AM   #15
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Can all electronic equipment fail ? Well, you could run out of electrical power because of an electrical failure and then you will need paper charts again.

It's a point, but... I dunno that I'd agree with your "you will need paper" conclusion too readily.

If we had a complete electrical power failure... (assuming that didn't affect engines, which would put the kibosh on navigation anyway)...

We'd still have electronic charts on a laptop, two tablets, and two phones... before we had to resort to paper.

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Old 08-01-2022, 06:58 AM   #16
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I don't carry paper charts. As Chris pointed out above, with the chartplotter plus backup charts on a laptop and phone, by the time I hit the point where I can't keep some form of chart display working, I likely have much bigger problems. If I've truly lost all parts of the electrical system to the extent where I can't rig a way to even keep a phone charged, then I likely don't have running engines anyway, so it no longer matters.
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Old 08-01-2022, 07:29 AM   #17
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Getting back into cruising after 30+ years. Grew up on the Chesapeake. Wandered the east coast from Maine to Florida and Bahamas. All my charts and cruising guides are from the '80s. There is a Garmin chartplotter on the flybridge. I will be gathering up as many current/newer charts/guides as I can. Will be investigating tablet/laptop navigation also.
When the EMP drops, will the old Lehmann still run? Probably should have bought another sailboat.......

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Old 08-01-2022, 07:38 AM   #18
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Getting back into cruising after 30+ years. Grew up on the Chesapeake. Wandered the east coast from Maine to Florida and Bahamas. All my charts and cruising guides are from the '80s. There is a Garmin chartplotter on the flybridge. I will be gathering up as many current/newer charts/guides as I can. Will be investigating tablet/laptop navigation also.
When the EMP drops, will the old Lehmann still run? Probably should have bought another sailboat.......

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I have Garmin at both helm stations. I also have an iPad with Navionics and Time Zero loaded on. Iíll take the iPad any day. Navionics for the vector charts and Time Zero if I want to look at an old fashioned government raster chart. I use the Garmins for Radar. The old saying goes ďif you canít beat Ďem buy emĒ. Exactly why Garmin purchased Navionics.
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Old 08-01-2022, 07:57 AM   #19
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Taking tides and and weather into account; know where you're going. Before venturing out, carefully plan the day's journey. Coastal - when possible, stay in sight of, but off from land. Read the compass well. Pay attention to sea and land markers. Keep close eye on depth sounder. Read paper charts or electronics as/when needed.

BTW - Great to have a navigator wife at your side too!!
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Old 08-01-2022, 08:20 AM   #20
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bluewaterweb.com is the goto place for full size charts plus map books. They will gladly print out any charts you want. All you need is chart #1 to use as an index. They have a version of #1 on their web site too.

Great folks.
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