Time to update charts for spring

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As part of springtime preparations, boaters need to have up-to-date navigational charts, advises Capt. John Lowell, director of NOAA's Office of Coast Survey. With modern technological advancements, obtaining the latest chart is easier than ever.

"Sailing the oceans and Great Lakes doesn't have to be a voyage into the vast unknown of ages past," explains Lowell. "Obtaining the latest charts that provide increasingly precise depths and up-to-date navigational features can be as easy as clicking a link on a website."

Through a private-public partnership between NOAA and chart publisher OceanGrafix, boaters can purchase "print-on-demand" nautical charts that cover the latest updates, issued as recently as the prior week. This year, the NOAA partnership has expanded and, for the first time, boaters can also purchase National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency charts covering the open ocean from OceanGrafix.

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