How to Read a Nautical Chart

How to Read a Nautical Chart

Team Vestas shipwrecked over 600 miles off-shore in the Indian Ocean and even though millions of dollars were spent on sophisticated electronics, crew, and boat, they still ran aground because they were using an electronic chart at a scale which hid these dangerous shoals.

Know that electronics will fail, and power will be lost, but knowledgeable use of paper charts, along with a compass, dividers, and binoculars will never be obsolete. Reading and interpreting what you see on a nautical chart and correlating that information to what you see on the water is an invaluable skill. “How to Read a Nautical Chart –The Basics” is the first step to learning these time-honored and proven skills

The skills learned in this course and work from this chart can be applied to any NOAA chart. One of our basic objectives is to correlate what you see on the chart to what you actually see on the water. You need to know where you are at all times, and if you don’t, a pleasure cruise could turn into a fiasco.

Do You Need This Course?

Do you know the meaning of everything you see below and can locate it on the chart? If not, you probably do.

What Will You Learn?

Class time is approximately 4 -5 hours. We have chosen Chart 14802, ‘Clayton to the False Ducks ’ which many Lake Ontario boaters would use en – route to the Thousand Islands, a popular cruising destination.

The skills learned in this course and work from this chart can be applied to any NOAA chart. One of our basic objectives is to correlate what you see on the chart to what you actually see on the water. You need to know where you are at all times, and if you don’t, a pleasure cruise could turn into a fiasco.

Course Outline

How to interpret the use of colors and labeling of the chart.

Understand how to read charted depths and elevations. Know if you can safely pass over danger areas or under bridges.

Learn how to measure distance in nautical & statute miles.

Understand the Compass Rose and the difference between True and Magnetic North.

Learn how to give headings in degrees and identify the cardinal and inter-cardinal compass points.

Learn how Aids to Navigation are defined by color, shape, numbering, lettering and light color and light sequence.

Use latitude and longitude to find a position or location on the chart.

Work out problems using distance, direction, latitude & longitude. Identify major and minor lights, buoys, day -marks and more.

The skills learned in this course and work from this chart can be applied to any NOAA chart. One of our basic objectives is to correlate what you see on the chart to what you actually see on the water. You need to know where you are at all times, and if you don’t, a pleasure cruise could turn into a fiasco.