Be sure your new chart is up to date

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Coast Guard Auxiliary warns that some retailers may have been selling old editions of nautical charts

Coast Guard Auxiliary warns that some retailers may have been selling old editions of nautical charts

The Coast Guard Auxiliary warns boaters to make certain they are buying the most up-to-date nautical charts after reports that some retailers were selling outdated ones.

“It’s usually because people don’t look,” says Auxiliary spokesman Wayne Spivack. “It’s like when you go to the grocery store, you check the expiration date on food.” Consumers should check the dates on charts as well, he says.

Before heading out to buy new charts, Spivack recommends checking www.chartmaker.ncd.noaa.gov/mcd/dole.htm to find the dates of the latest edition of a particular chart.

Spivack says the Auxiliary issued the warning after hearing several anecdotal tales of retailers selling outdated charts, and in some cases boaters who bought them. The Log, a California boating publication, published an investigative report Nov. 17 that several retailers in the San Francisco Bay area were selling outdated charts.

Accurate charts are an obvious must for safe boating, whether cruising a local bay or undertaking an extended voyage, Spivack says.

In addition, the Coast Guard’s navigation center issues a Local Notice to Mariners for nine regions. The notices detail specific changes in the aids to navigation within a region (www.navcen.uscg.gov).

The Auxiliary also reminds boaters that free vessel safety checks and a wide variety of safety courses are available. In a vessel safety check, a trained vessel examiner will verify the condition of certain safety equipment required by state and federal regulations. The examiner will give the boater a copy of the evaluation, with no citations (www.safetyseal.net). More information about boating education courses can be found at www.cgaux.org/cgauxweb/classes/master.shtml.

Founded in 1939, the Coast Guard Auxiliary is the civilian component of the Coast Guard and comprises 38,000 volunteer members.