How to Fold an OceanGrafix Nautical Chart

As part of a series of videos produced by OceanGrafix, Bob Sweet—senior navigator, author of The Weekend Navigator & GPS for Mariners, and former U.S. Power Squadrons National Educational Officer—demonstrated how to fold a nautical chart so that it is easy to unfold and use.

According to Sweet, he has been boating for decades and uses GPS, but still you won’t find him on the water without a paper chart. And since the charts are large, Sweet says it’s wise to fold them before departing. Sweet recommends boaters use an accordion-style (i.e., “zig zag”) fold with the goal of having the chart “face” on the outside. That way, when the folding is complete, the title block is showing so it’s easy to pull out the proper chart for use on board.

Following are the steps Sweet follows when folding his paper charts:

  1. Laying the chart face up on a flat surface, fold the chart vertically inward so the chart face is on the inside.
  2. Fold it back vertically on each side. (Note: The chart face is now on the outside.)
  3. Fold the chart the other way.
  4. Place the title block side up and fold from the middle so you now have a long, narrow chart.
  5. Complete the accordion fold by folding each half back toward the center so that the title block is on top.

To use the chart, just unfold the part that you want to observe and fold the rest out of the way. Sweet recommends that you “practice this fold a few times and you will get really good at it.” View the video and/or learn more about paper charts here. In addition, you can view other educational videos in this series, including:

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