NOAA says it was “very surprised” by a recent study suggesting that many boaters are using severely out-of-date paper charts and are unaware of the availability of updates. “The coastal waters of the U.S. are in a constant state of change. Channels are re-routed; new aids to navigation are established or deleted; new wrecks and obstructions are discovered,” said Richard Sillcox of NOAA. “It is imperative that these changes be reflected on all boaters’ nautical charts.”
Despite that the survey conducted by the U.S. Power Squadron revealed an alarming statistic: About 55 percent of boaters had not updated their NOAA paper nautical charts since purchasing them. Although about 70 percent say they use their paper charts only as backup to electronic ones, the agency stresses that it is in an emergency that out-of-date charts could really prove disastrous.
This article originally appeared in the March 2009 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.