White paper argues for updated charts

Navigating with old, outdated charts seems like a bad idea. The Alliance for Safe Navigation, a group that includes Jeppesen, OceanGrafix, the Power Squadron, BoatUS, SeaTow and NOAA, has just released a white paper, available to the public, that makes the case that up-to-date charts are a key element in safe navigation. Makes sense that using the most up-to-date charts are going to be your best bet for staying out of trouble.

From the press release: Jeppesen, with the participation of its Alliance for Safe Navigation partners, has recently published a white paper that examines common causes of boating accidents, property loss and injury and educates boaters about the most basic way to improve safety at sea â۠by making sure they sail with up-to-date navigation charts. This educational paper, Boat Smart, Update Your Charts, is freely available to the marine industry, boating organizations and the public by contacting Jeppesen or online at www.jeppesen.com/boatsmart.

“The evidence clearly shows that too many boaters are sailing with old, outdated charts (or none at all), and that this contributes to an unacceptable number of grounding accidents in the U.S. each year, said Jeppesen Business Development Executive Ken Cirillo. “Whether navigating with paper charts or electronic charts, boaters need to have accurate chart data that incorporates all the latest changes and corrections. The industry has made important strides in updating marine cartography and making it readily available to the boating public. Now, we must focus on educating boaters about the need for updating and its many benefits, which can also include savings on boat insurance,� added Cirillo.

In addition to Jeppesen, Alliance for Safe Navigation partners include OceanGrafix, United States Power Squadrons, BoatUS and Sea Tow Foundation for Boating Safety and Education. Each participating organization brings its own perspective and expertise to the collective whole: Jeppesen specializes in electronic cartography, OceanGrafix is a leader in Print On Demand paper charts, United States Power Squadrons is a non-profit organization providing safe boating classes nationwide, BoatUS (Boat Owners Association of The United States) is a membership organization representing more than half a million boaters nationwide, and the Sea Tow Foundation for Boating Safety and Education is a non-profit educational wing of Sea Tow, a leading provider of marine assistance and towing nationwide.

In addition, the Office of Coast Survey, on behalf of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), has joined with the Alliance as a founding sponsor. “Our navigable waters are in a constant state of change from natural and manmade forces,� said Cirillo. “These changes may be visible, like the relocation of channel markers or a hazard buoy. Or they may be hidden from view, such as the emergence of a shallow sandbar piled up by winter storm waves. The only way to optimize navigation safety is to have and use up-to-date navigation charts whenever you’re on the water. Relying on charts that are even a few seasons old is an unnecessary gamble that could cost you your boat, or worse.� Here are a few eye-opening facts concerning boating safety:

• A March 2010 news release from BoatUS listed groundings as the #3 reason for assistance being rendered on the water, behind battery problems and engine failure.

• A 2007 Hydrographic Services Review Panel report stated that between 2004 and 2007 there were more than $16 million in damages from more than 1,400 groundings in the U.S.

• That same report notes that over the past five years, there have been more than 2,500 accidents as a result of striking a fixed object, at a cost of more than $27.5 million.

“I speak for the alliance when I say that our primary goal is to improve the safety and enjoyment of boating for enthusiasts across the country. Motivating people to take advantage of the updated charts available to them today is a good start. The process begins with education, and this paper is a good first step in what will be an ongoing campaign,� said Cirillo.

By Ocean Navigator