Hurricane Season 2021 – Here We Go Again!

June 16, 2021

The 2021 hurricane season is upon us, and all we can say is: batten down the hatches!

This year is going to be another wild ride, possibly worse than 2020, which already was a Top 5 worst ever year. In this post, we’ll compare last year to this year, offer hurricane safety tips and link you to hurricane tracking maps.

Last year was a doozie

The Atlantic saw 30 named storms and 13 hurricanes, double the long-term average. At least 430 deaths were directly attributed to the storms. Docked boats suffered $51 billion in damages from winds, storm surges and flooding. Iota, alone, blew sustained winds of 160 mph.

The Pacific hurricane season, too, was active, but mostly in the western Pacific. Waters along the U.S. west coast are too cool for damaging storms.

Here’s a map of what 2020 looked like in the Atlantic:

The 2021 Atlantic hurricane season looks even more brutal

Experts predict another humdinger this year, for the sixth year in a row. Forecaster Xubin Zeng, from the University of Arizona, predicts 18 named storms. Forecasters use computer models that combine forecasts of sea surface temperature, wind, pressure, humidity and precipitation with the researchers’ understanding of hurricane formation and artificial intelligence.

The hurricanes bear down on the eastern U.S. like bowling balls. This 2020 graphic illustrates the “bowling alley” that spans the Atlantic.

Damage is extensive, on the water and off. Hurricanes crush and sink all sorts of watercraft, but the damage goes further and deeper. Debris or sea floor changes alter navigational channels. Hurricane Katrina in 2005 alone accounted for as many as 300 obstructions to navigation as charted by NOAA.

Taking steps to protect your boat this hurricane season

Hollywood loves to show intrepid sailors lashing themselves to the mast and staying with their craft during a hurricane. While this scene makes for a potential Academy Award nomination, in real life staying with your craft can be dangerous. The American Boating Association offers these tips for protecting you, your passengers and your watercraft going into hurricane season:

  • Do not stay with your vessel. Get to a protected area or emergency shelter.
  • Prepare hurricane moorings way in advance, in an inland area.
  • Check the moorings. Make sure they will be able to maintain their hold in a strong wind.
  • Remember, storm surge and associated tides can be 10 to 20 feet above normal. Prepare accordingly.
  • Wind directions change constantly in a hurricane. Make sure your boat is secured from all points of the compass.
  • Remove all items from the boat that could go airborne and become a missile. Lash down everything else.
  • Seal all openings. Protect portholes and other window-like structures.
  • When your local authorities issue a Warning, heed it and move your vessel to its hurricane mooring.
  • Make sure your vessel is not blocking movement in the area in which it is moored. In other words, be courteous to other boaters.
  • Remember chafing gear for your lines (however, make sure you get carried away with chafing gear, as winds and movement will be extreme, and you don’t want a line to be cut by a sharp edge).

Track the 2021 hurricanes

OceanGrafix offers three hurricane tracking charts that allow arm-chair storm chasers and nautical enthusiasts to track and record storm progress throughout the hurricane season. 

Eastern Pacific, size 35” x 24”

Full Atlantic, size 35” x 26”

Western Atlantic, size 35” x 31”

Celebrate Fresh and Salt-Water Fishing

June 9, 2021

June 5-13 is National Fishing and Boating Week

Fishing is a big sport. 

As of 2018, 49.4 million Americans fished, spending 883 million days fishing. Freshwater fishing represents the largest segment, with 39 million participants. With some overlap, 12.8 million saltwater fish.

Anglers spend $49.8 billion on fishing trips, with the average cost per trip of $1,290 in 2016. The biggest segment costs are bait, boat rental or purchase, guide and land-use fees. That is more money than was spent on either birdwatching or hunting, which are also huge sports.

What do these anglers catch?

Top three freshwater fish caught: 

  1. Trout
  2. Catfish
  3. Bass

The top three saltwater fish caught:

  1. American red snapper
  2. Mahi-mahi
  3. Scamp grouper

Men, women and fishing

While fishing was once a male-dominated sport, about 45 percent of new anglers are female. Half of these are girls ages 6 to 12. When you look at the overall fishing population, women represent about 35 percent of the total.

When you ask a man why he fishes, he usually answers, “To catch fish.” When you ask a woman, she typically says, “To relax and unwind.”

While the differences and similarities are fascinating, two stand out: Considerably more men than women will ice fish; women get their fishing information from the newspaper and men watch fishing shows!

Much is behind the allure of fishing

Fishing is popular for different reasons, but all of them are compelling.

Fly fishing requires an intense concentration on currents, food sources and the technique of presenting the right fly at the right place at the right time. In these moments, while standing in a beautiful stream or lakeshore, you are immersed in nature and not thinking about the mundane and sometimes unpleasant realities of your job, mortgage or pressing home repairs. You have a simplified life.

Boat fishing attracts people who love to study where the fish hang out depending on currents, water temperature and bottom structures. Catching fish can be as simple as having a cane pole and bait, or as gear-intensive as having a motorboat with an outboard or inboard, a trolling motor, sonar, bait and fish wells, expensive rods and reels and GPS tracking. 

Fishing is a sport that attracts both introverts and extroverts. You can fish alone or make it a social outing. But in all cases, the goal is to be outside in nature and outsmart the fish, which are plenty smart themselves, and either catch and release or bring home a fresh fish dinner.

Some helpful fishing resources

Ready to wet a line? Here are resources to help you out:

Fishing tips for beginners
Saltwater fishing gear
Freshwater fishing tips for beginners
National Coast Guard Boat Safety Guide
Find places to fish or boat
Free fishing days 2021

Reversing Reef Destruction

June 7, 2021

World Reef Day was June 1. Help rehab coral reefs year-round.

Warmer seas due to climate change have destroyed half the coral in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef since 1995. The problem is broader: scientists estimate that we’ve lost half of all coral reefs worldwide since 1980 and we could lose the rest by 2050.

Hot sea water “bleaches” or kills the organisms that feed the coral, which then turns white. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the cause of rising levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is from burning fossil fuels. 

Coral reefs are so sensitive to water temperature change that a one-degree Centigrade change, which has occurred to date, is enough to kill the reefs. Scientists say without changes in human behavior, the world is headed towards a three-degree Centigrade warming, or another two-degree Centigrade increase.

Warming water isn’t the only problem. Oceans absorb about 30% of carbon dioxide from fossil fuel burning. Over time, sea water becomes acidic, destroying coral that is made largely of calcium carbonate. 

Why we depend on coral reefs

Why should we be concerned about the loss of coral reefs? After all, they only cover less than 1% of the ocean floor. The answer is that reefs:

  • support 25% of all marine species
  • prevent coastal erosion
  • protect oceanside development from storm surge
  • support a $30 billion industry of seafood and tourism

Each of us can make a difference

June 1 (every year) is World Reef Awareness Day. Scientists remind us that there is much we can do to bring back healthy coral reefs. Beyond reducing the use of fossil fuels, we can:

  • Wear non-nano zinc oxide sunscreens when diving in reefs. These sunscreens enter the cells of invertebrates and fish, causing cell damage.
  • Reduce single-use plastic, which makes it to landfills and then into the oceans, choking the reefs.
  • Actively support reef health and be a spokesperson on your social media. The World Reef Day toolkit will get you started.

Tour the Great Barrier Reef

Want to take a closer look at the world’s largest reef? At OceanGrafix, we have an NGA chart of the Great Barrier Reef on the eastern shore of Queensland, just south of Papua New Guinea.

Here are a few more resources:

Anyone who has seen the colorful coral of reefs and the sea creatures who call the reef home understands the fragility of the world’s coral reefs. Help celebrate World Reef Day every day.

Key Tips for Safe Boating

May 25, 2021
Two women sailing

Safe boating saves hundreds of lives each year in the U.S. In 2019, the year of the most current statistics, 4,168 boating accidents led to 2,559 injuries and 613 deaths. Some 79% of boating deaths are due to drowning, and 86% of victims are not wearing a life jacket, even though 2 of every 3 who drown are good swimmers. Safe boating matters.

A life jacket goes a long way for safe boating

The myth is that most of these deadly boating accidents and deaths occur from young people drinking and boating. In fact, 66% of deaths occur with boat operators over the age of 35, where alcohol was not a factor in 77% of the deaths.

Unfortunately, 7 of 10 deaths occur when the boat operator has not had boater safety instruction. Thus, the importance of Safe Boating Week to remind boaters to brush up on safety procedures. Here’s a quick boating safety tip sheet.

You can check out the Safe Boating Week website, which covers special events (Wear Your Life Jacket to Work Day was May 21), safe boating tips, how to select the right life jacket, cold weather boating advice and more.

But the simple fact is that wearing a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket is the most important life-saving strategy for recreational boaters. Gone are those bulging orange vests. Modern life jackets are stylish and less obtrusive. Check here for the best life jacket styles for you.

Follow USCG Navigation Rules

Smart navigation is another key element of boater safety. The U.S. Coast Guard Navigation Rules are much like the rules of the road on the highway. They establish a consistent way to navigate safely and avoid collisions when two boats are crossing paths, are on course to meet head-on, or when one boat wishes to overtake another.

Since these are universally accepted rules, they should guide how you know when to defer to another boat, when you have right-of-way and how to communicate with other vessels.

“quick reference guide” to the rules is handy to have on hand. You can buy the complete rule book here.

Wearing life vests and following safe boating rules are vital to boating safety. That said, we’d be remiss if we didn’t say accurate charts are also essential. 

We hope Safe Boating Week marks the continuation of a long, safe and enjoyable boating season for you in 2021.

Why We Celebrate National Maritime Day

May 24, 2021
National Maritime Day

As it does every year, the United States just celebrated National Maritime Day on May 22nd

Created by Congress and signed into law in 1933 by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the day was conceived to honor and celebrate the importance of the Merchant Marine. 

During World War II, more than 800 U.S. merchant ships were damaged or sunk. Of the more than 250,000 members of the Merchant Marine who served during World War II, more than 6,700 were killed and hundreds were detained as prisoners of war.

The holiday has since been expanded to include all members of the maritime industry and domestic waterborne commerce as well.

First celebrated on May 20th, Congress changed the date to May 22nd to commemorate the steamship SS Savannah, which set sail on the first trans-Atlantic voyage entirely conducted under steam power on May 22, 1819. 

Since 2006 the Maritime Administration has partnered with the U.S. Coast Guard, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the American Association of Port Authorities, the Waterways Council Inc, and others in the maritime industry to promote National Maritime Day and raise awareness of the maritime industry.

The President is requested to issue a proclamation each year, calling on all government agencies and citizens to fly the flag at full staff. All vessels registered under the American flag should dress ship to commemorate the day.

National Maritime Day is marked by many organizations in many communities. Since the onset of the pandemic, many of these observations have become virtual or have been canceled. Pre-pandemic, there were memorial observances at Merchant Marine memorials, and many seaports hosted open houses. One event marking National Maritime Day took place at the Port of Baltimore, where the retired NS Savannah, the first nuclear-powered merchant ship, has been docked since 2008.

To find out about observations and celebrations, contact your local port or chamber of commerce.

Come Along on the First Atlantic Steamship Crossing

May 12, 2021

On May 22, we will celebrate National Maritime Day, marking 202 years since the first steamboat crossed the Atlantic between Savannah, Georgia, and Liverpool, England. 

The ship was the SS Savannah, built in 1818, the year before it crossed the Atlantic. The crossing was a first, but nothing went according to plan. 

What it was like on the SS Savannah

Since steam power was new, and a trans-Atlantic crossing had never been done, you would have signed up to work on vessel as new and untested as a rocket ship to Mars is today. The tension of the unknown had dire consequences on the crew: Savannah‘s departure was delayed for two days after one of her crew returned to the vessel in a highly inebriated state, fell off the gangplank and drowned. 

SS Savannah, 1819 via Wikipedia

The voyage itself was a bit of a false story.

The steam engine powered two paddlewheels (one on each side of the beam). Weather and cargo determined the wheel’s depth. On this maiden voyage, the Savanna carried neither cargo nor passengers, so the wheels barely reached the water, making them highly inefficient. Passage took 29 days, mostly by sail, relying on steam for only 90 hours. During those 90 hours, other ships reported seeing “a ship on fire,” so unused were they to smoke coming from a vessel. The owners were disgusted with the steam’s inefficiency during the voyage. After the maiden cross-Atlantic crossing, they converted the SS Savannah into a sailing packet. Three years later, the SS Savannah plowed into Long Island, a total wreck. Such is history.

Regular steaming would take another 60 years

It wasn’t until nearly 20 years later that two fully-powered steamships, the SS Great Western and the SS Sirius, both paddlewheels, crossed from England to the U.S. completely on steam power. Only the SS Sirius carried passengers. Another 40 years would pass before a steamer was built of steel, not wood, and steaming became popular.

Most of your crew time on the SS Savannah would have been spent hoisting and trimming sails, not shoveling coal into steam engine boilers. However, if you were bent on crewing a steamer, by 1866, you signed up for a backbreaking job stoking boilers with coal on a steamer coursing from England down the African coast and across the Indian Ocean. These steamers needed a cargo of coal so huge, they couldn’t carry commercial cargo or passengers.

By the way, the term “Blue Ribbon” originated with the “Blue Ribband,” an award given to any passenger steamer regularly crossing the Atlantic. The first winner: the SS Sirius.

Trace part of the SS Savannah voyage yourself

Our popular nautical chart options cover Tybee Island all the way to Savannah Port. Each map is shown as a square.

NOAA Nautical Charts from OceanGrafix in the Savannah area

NOAA Nautical Chart 11505, Savannah River Approach

NOAA Nautical Chart 11507, Intracoastal Waterway Beaufort River to St. Simons Sound

NOAA Nautical Chart 11514, Savannah River to Brier Creek

The map of the actual Savannah port looks like this:

NOAA Nautical Chart 11514 detail: Savannah Harbor 

This May, Say “Thanks” to Our Men and Women in Uniform

May 3, 2021

May is Military Appreciation Month. 

This month of celebrating our active troops and veterans was dedicated by Congress starting in 1999, based on legislation introduced by the late Senator John McCain. 

Why May? May was a logical choice because the month includes many historic veteran celebrations: Memorial DayMilitary Spouse Appreciation Day and Armed Forces Day. May also includes Victory in Europe (VE) Day, which commemorates the end of WWII in Europe. And, who can forget the dramatic raid and death of Osama bin Laden on May 2, 2011?

With summer finally here, everyone looks for ways to get outside and celebrate our troops. Look for flyovers during baseball games, flag-raisings and lots of community events. During the month, our heroes—all our military active duty and veterans—are treated to discounts and special events. Among them:

To help celebrate Military Appreciation Month, OceanGrafix offers current and historic nautical charts of coastlines, where we look back and celebrate key military victories. Charts are suitable for framing. Here’s a sampling:

Battles of Lexington And Concord (April of 1775) 

The Battles of Lexington and Concord were the first battles of the Revolutionary War, beginning on the night of April 19th, 1775. The battles were fought between British colonists and angry resident militia. The lead up to the war was accelerated by tension building up between the British colonists and the residents of the 13 American colonies. On the night of the first American Revolutionary War, 700 British troops marched off ships in Boston Harbor to Concord in order to seize an arms cache. 

Chart: 337-00-1864 – MA, 1864, Boston Harbor

Paper size: 20” x 24”

Siege of Charleston (1780)

The Siege of Charleston was one of the major battles, which took place towards the end of the American Revolutionary War, after the British began to shift their strategic focus towards the Southern Colonies. As a defeat, it was the biggest loss of troops suffered by the Continental Army in the war.

Chart: 470-06-1959

Paper size: 20” x 24”

Battle of Yorktown (October 1781) 

The Battle of Yorktown took place from the 28th of September until the 19th of October of 1781 and was waged between Americans and their French allies against the British in Virginia. It was the last great battle of the American Revolutionary War. General George Washington was the commander of a force of 17,000 French and American troops against a contingent of 9,000 British troops under General Lord Charles Cornwallis. 

NOAA Nautical Chart 12241

Paper size: 36” x 50”

Order beautiful historic charts 

The historical charts are suitable for framing and make great gifts to commemorate battles won that saved our nation and our democracy. Some of the historic charts date as far back as 1747. These novelty charts (which are not intended for navigational purposes) are carefully colored and detailed to give them an antique look — and they’re printed on gallery-quality paper, ready for framing. 

Lake Michigan: The Charts You Need for Your Spring Sailing Adventures

April 23, 2021
Lighthouse and sailboat on Lake Michigan

Spring is just around the corner and, like most of us, you’re probably itching to get out of the house and onto the water! Lake Michigan offers deep blue fresh waters, ocean-style cruising, and more than 1,600 miles of coastline to explore. Before you head out for spring sailing on Lake Michigan, be prepared with NOAA’s nautical charts for your journey. 

Four favorite Lake Michigan boating trips are highlighted below, along with the charts you’ll need. Spring is coming! Start planning your sailing trip to Lake Michigan.  

1. Beach Towns of Southwest Michigan

The east side of Lake Michigan borders southwest Michigan. It’s known as the warm side of the lake. Multiple beach towns run the shore, starting south in New Buffalo and heading north to Ludington. The area is known for its white sandy beaches, sand dunes, and lighthouses. Coastal towns with state parks, wineries, shops and restaurants are perfect for harbor hopping. If you’re traveling in the spring, the area hosts a plethora of festivals, including the Blossomtime Festival in Benton Harbor and Tulip Time in Holland.     

Key Ports: 

New Buffalo, Benton Harbor, South Haven, Holland, Muskegon, Ludington

Charts you’ll need for your trip: 

  • NOAA 14901: Lake Michigan
  • NOAA 14905: Waukegan to South Haven, Michigan City, Burns International Harbor, New Buffalo
  • NOAA 14906: South Haven to Stony Lake, South Haven, Port Sheldon, Saugatuck Harbor
  • NOAA 14907: Stony Lake to Point Betsie, Pentwater, Arcadia, Frankfort
  • NOAA 14930: St. Joseph and Benton Harbor
  • NOAA 14932: Holland Harbor
  • NOAA 14933: Grand Haven, including Spring Lake and Lower Grand River
  • NOAA 14934: Muskegon Lake and Muskegon Harbor
  • NOAA 14937: Ludington Harbor

2. Grand & Little Traverse Bays

Further north on the east side of the lake, Grand Traverse Bay and Little Traverse Bay are popular sailing destinations. Once home to the great Ernest Hemmingway, the area’s great waters make it obvious why the author had such a love for boating. The bay waters offer a calm retreat, while onshore visitors enjoy hiking, collecting fossilized coral at Petoskey State Park, and the chance to tour Ernest Hemingway’s old haunts. Beaver Island is also a popular destination, though the crossing gets quite windy. 

Key Ports: 

St. James Harbor, Northport, Suttons Bay, Traverse City 

Charts you’ll need for your trip: 

  • NOAA 14901: Lake Michigan
  • NOAA 14880: Straits of Mackinac
  • NOAA 14902: North end of Lake Michigan, including Green Bay
  • NOAA 14911: Waugoshance Point to Seul Choix Point, including Beaver Island Group, Port Inland, Beaver Harbor
  • NOAA 14912: Platte Bay to Leland, Leland, South Manitou Harbor
  • NOAA 14913: Grand Traverse Bay to Little Traverse Bay, Harbor Springs, Petoskey, Elk Rapids, Suttons Bay, Northport, Traverse City
  • NOAA 14942: Lake Charlevoix, South Point to Round Lake

3. Illinois Lakeshore 

On the other side of the lake, the southern coast borders with Illinois. Of course, most are familiar with Chicago’s museums, skyscrapers, and shopping. Traveling north from Chicago, the coastline offers multiple harbors. Winnetka is a popular destination with 27 parks and a forest preserve, perfect for fishing, birdwatching, and hiking. Zion is home to Illinois Beach State park, where visitors enjoy sand dunes, beaches, marshes, forests, diverse wildlife, and green-blue waters. Finally, Winthrop Harbor is the most northern point on the Illinois coastline. It has the largest marine on the great lakes with a dock system of 1,500 slips.    

Key Ports: 

Waukegan, Montrose Harbor, Belmont Harbor, Diversey Harbor, Chicago, DuSable Harbor, Monroe Harbor, Burnham Harbor

Charts you’ll need for your trip: 

4. Eastern Wisconsin Shoreline

The northwest side of Lake Michigan is bordered by Wisconsin. Although this is the colder side of the lake, it offers plenty of attractions that make it worth it. Sailors enjoy its lighthouses, rugged shorelines, and quaint port towns. It also offers plenty of great opportunities for fishing and kayaking. On shore, visitors enjoy hiking and biking trails and historical attractions. Port Washington is picturesque with historical buildings reminiscent of New England charm, and Sheboygan is a popular destination for golfers.  

Key Ports: 

Kenosha, Racine, Milwaukee, Port Washington, Sheboygan, Manitowoc, Sturgeon Bay, Egg Harbor, Green Bay, Oconto, Marinette 

Charts you’ll need for your trip: 

  • NOAA 14901: Lake Michigan
  • NOAA 14902: North end of Lake Michigan, including Green Bay
  • NOAA 14903: Algoma to Sheboygan, Kewaunee, Two Rivers
  • NOAA 14904: Port Washington to Waukegan, Kenosha, North Point Marina, Port Washington, Waukegan
  • NOAA 14905: Waukegan to South Haven, Michigan City, Burns International Harbor, New Buffalo
  • NOAA 14909: Upper Green Bay – Jackson Harbor and Detroit Harbor, Detroit Harbor, Jackson Harbor, Baileys Harbor
  • NOAA 14910: Lower Green Bay, Oconto Harbor, Algoma
  • NOAA 14918: Head of Green Bay, including Fox River below De Pere
  • NOAA 14919: Sturgeon Bay and Canal 
  • NOAA 14922: Manitowoc and Sheboygan
  • NOAA 14924: Milwaukee Harbor
  • NOAA 14925: Racine Harbor

Looking for more NOAA Great Lakes charts? Browse our entire collection

Green Boating: Tips for Sustainable Sailing for Earth Day and Every Day

April 15, 2021
Garbage near the sea

This April 22nd marks the 52nd Earth Day

Sparked by the 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill, Earth Day has always had a strong connection to our oceans. We boaters pursue our pastime out of a love for the beauty of open waters, and we see first hand the threats they face. 

As Earth Day approaches, let’s consider these tips for sustaining our oceans.


Ocean Conservancy reports that “Every year, 8 million metric tons of plastics enter our ocean on top of the estimated 150 million metric tons that currently circulate our marine environments.” Help control the plastics problem by

Recycling & Waste Disposal

It is always illegal to dispose of plastics, oil, and other hazardous wastes into the water, and food garbage and sewage cannot be released within three miles of shore. Make a bigger impact by:

  • Buying in bulk and avoiding excessive packaging 
  • Discarding waste at onshore recycling and disposal facilities 


It is more than likely that your vessel is powered by gasoline. Consider reducing your impact by:

  • Purchasing a four-stroke engine to increase fuel-efficiency and reduce pollutants and noise. Two-stroke engines will dump 30% of their fuel and oil unburned into the water
  • Preventing oil discharge 
  • Maintaining a well-tuned engine
  • Conducting maintenance on land
  • Fueling tanks slowly, using pads or rags to catch drips and spills

Sea Grass

Beds of seagrass stabilize sediments and provide a habitat for a variety of marine creatures.  Seagrasses are the dietary mainstay for manatees, sea turtles, and urchins, and these beds serve as nurseries for crab, fish, microbes, and shrimp. Avoid disturbing these areas by:

  • Checking your nautical charts for areas marked in green or Grs, indicating seagrass
  • Paying attention to tides (although some beds are in danger even at high tide)
  • Looking for buoys, which mark the boundaries of some seagrass beds
  • Reading the water—seagrass beds can appear as large dark areas under the water
  • Knowing your boat’s operating depth, to the bottom of the propeller
  • Tilting your motor out of the water and walking or poling your boat  
  • Anchoring in bare areas


When painting your vessel, use an alternative to antifouling paint, which leaches copper into the water, harming  marine life. Of course, storing your boat out of the water is the best way to protect it and the water. Dry docking and boat lifts and floats provide great protection for your boat and the ecosystem.


Invasive species can migrate by grabbing a ride on your boat. Keep plants and animals where they belong by:

  • Inspecting your boat as soon as you remove it from the water
  • Draining the bilge tank and anything else that holds water
  • Washing the boat completely with nontoxic products and letting it dry several days before putting in to a different body of water

Report Pollution

When you have a hazardous waste spill or see others polluting, make a report to the Coast Guard’s National Response Center by calling 800-424-8802, which is staffed 24 hours a day.

Practice these eco-smart habits throughout the year and bring the spirit of Earth Day to every voyage!

How to Fold Nautical Charts in 7 Easy Steps

March 24, 2021

When you get your nautical charts, you may be surprised by how large they are. To make them easy to use and store, you will need to fold your charts and know how to fold them back after use.

For the best results, you’ll use an accordion fold, ending with the chart face on the outside and the title block showing. This folding method is simple and will make your charts manageable and easy to identify. Watch the video below or continue reading on for step-by-step instructions.

1. With the chart facing up, fold it vertically inward so that the chart face is on the inside.

2. Take one edge and fold it back vertically, so the chart face is on the outside.

3. Flip it over and take the other edge and fold it back vertically, so the chart face is on the outside. 

4. With the title block side face up, fold in half horizontally.

5. Take one end and fold it back horizontally toward the fold.

6. Flip over and take the other end and fold it back horizontally toward the fold.

7. Turn so the title block is face up.

When using the chart, unfold just the area you want to observe and fold the rest out of your way. Practice the folding technique a few times, and you will be good at it in no time. 

See this technique demonstrated by Bob Sweet, senior navigator, former U.S. Power Squadrons National Educational Officer.

For the most up-to-date nautical charts printed on demand, visit OceanGrafix.