Boaters now have a new aid to navigate their way on the water. “Booklet charts,” are printed from your own computer, and are free from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Nautical charts have historically marked coastlines, shown water depths, aids to navigation and channels. The charts are produced by NOAA and are periodically updated. Many boaters don’t have current nautical charts for several reasons. The traditional “paper” charts are expensive and take up a lot of room.
For the “booklet chart,” you select a section of a larger chart from the NOAA Website and print it on 8½ by 11 paper. It comes out clear, in color, and is free. I downloaded the chart of Key West Harbor and it turns out to be a 20 page document with tons of information.
All available charts can be viewed on the screen from the NOAA website.
The NOAA BookletChart™ is an experimental product but have proven to be very popular. They are made to help recreational boaters locate themselves on the water.
The Booklet Chart is reduced in scale and divided into pages for convenience, but otherwise contains all the information of the full-scale nautical chart. Bar scales are also reduced in scale, but are accurate when used to measure distances in a “Booklet Chart.” Excerpts from the United States Coast Pilot are included. Most chart notes are consolidated on a single page for easy reference. Emergency information for the charted area is printed on the back cover.
NOTE: During this experimental period, “Booklet Charts” are not being updated every week with Notices to Mariners. Further, some errors are known to exist, e.g. the “Approximate Page Index” might not match the chart inside.