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Chart Reading 101

Does it pay to have charts?

Many recreational boaters in small boats don’t consider it important to have charts onboard. This can end up being a bad idea, even if you are just operating on your local lake. Perhaps you are not yet a navigator, but a chart onboard allows you to compare what you are seeing with what you should be seeing and can help you keep your bearings.

What happens if your GPS devices fail, never rely on technology and have maps as a backup.

Nautical charts are different from maps in that they specifically depict water areas, while maps concentrate on land area, roads, landmarks, etc. Land areas and features on charts are sketchy and are noted only for their interest to the boater. Unlike maps, the nautical chart conveys much information specifically designed to assist in safely navigating the area that the chart covers.

Following is some basic tips tip on reading nautical charts

  • 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.

For the Nautical Maps of Queensland click the following link and then select the region.

https://www.msq.qld.gov.au/Boating-maps

If you need any advice feel free to pop in or contact us at North Coast Boating.

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