Whether you are the captain of a large vessel or operating a small recreational boat, an onboard chart gives you a better, safer sense of your location and surroundings. According to an article titled, “Chart Reading 101” and published on BoatSafe.com, a chart “allows you to compare what you are seeing with what you should be seeing and can help you keep your bearings.”
According to the article, the benefits of carrying a chart onboard include a significant amount of information designed to help boaters safely navigate the region covered by the chart. Knowing that many boaters don’t understand of how to effectively use charts during boating excursions, BoatSafe.com prepared the following important tips:
- Study your chart thoroughly.
- Look at the position from which you will start and visually follow along the course you wish to take.
- Look for “notes” – water depths, obstructions (especially under water), bridges, power lines or any other unusual items that may be a hazard to your progress.
- Make a note of each of these on a separate piece of paper.
- Make note of all buoys and markers you may pass in the order they will appear. This will give you a documented picture of your route and what you should expect to see without having to continually try to find a small marker on the chart.
- Look for visual objects featured on your chart that you should be able to observe and identify to confirm your position.
An interesting part of the BoatSafe.com article is the use of a chart depicting a “non-navigators” trip from the Shark River out to the Atlantic, down the Jersey Shore, in the Manasquan Inlet and down the Intracoastal to Ortley Beach. Using portions of the chart, readers are guided through the trip and theBoatSafe.com article provides a number of key recommendations as to how to read the chart’s details and directions.
To read the full article and follow the step-by-step sample navigation using portions of a real chart, go here. To order an up-to-date chart, simply visit oceangrafix.com.