One of NOAA's handiest navigation products, especially for recreational boaters, has been Coast Survey's experimental BookletCharts — nautical charts that are easy to download and print from home computers.
Coast Survey has now moved the BookletCharts from experimental stage into official production. Nearly a thousand newly updated BookletCharts are available free online.
NOAA's new official BookletCharts cover the 95,000 miles of U.S. coastline and the Great Lakes. The BookletCharts contain most of the information found on NOAA's full-scale nautical charts, but it is presented in a reduced-scale form.
"Many boaters don't use nautical charts, trusting local knowledge or their memories. But that can be dangerous, as seafloors constantly shift, shorelines erode, and dangers to navigation are discovered," said Jon Swallow, chief of NOAA Coast Survey's Navigation Services Branch. "BookletCharts will tell a boater about these developments, and will help ensure a safe voyage, whether it is around the bay or down the coast."