NOAA Charts Coming to an End

Our analysis of the Vestas grounding in July 2015 examined the many ways digital charts can lead astray even expert navigators.

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The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is seeking public comment on ending production of traditional paper nautical charts. The transition to Electronic Chart Display and Information System (ECDIS) set for 2025 is already underway, but this does not mean the end of backup paper charts, and hopefully not the end of the navigational skills associated with traditional pilotage. Even if you do not intend to make a public comment (see link at bottom), here are…
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Darrell Nicholson, editor of Practical Sailor, grew up boating on Miami’s Biscayne Bay on everything from prams to Morgan ketches. Two years out of Emory University, after a brief stint as a sportswriter, he set out from Miami aboard a 60-year-old wooden William Atkin ketch named Tosca. For 10 years, he and writer-photographer Theresa Gibbons explored the Caribbean, crossed the Pacific, and cruised Southeast Asia aboard Tosca, working along the way as journalists and documenting their adventures for various travel and sailing publications, including Cruising World, Sail, Sailing, Cruising Helmsman, and Sailing World. Upon his return to land life, Darrell became the associate editor, then senior editor at Cruising World magazine, where he worked for five years. Before taking on the editor’s position at Practical Sailor, Darrell was the editor of Offshore magazine, a boating-lifestyle magazine serving the New England area. Darrell has won multiple awards from Boating Writer’s International, including the Monk Farnham award for editorial excellence. He holds a U.S. Coast Guard 100-ton Master license and has worked as a harbor pilot and skippered a variety of commercial charter boats.

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