Paper nautical charts: which to choose and how to keep up to date

Paper nautical charts: which to choose and how to keep up to date

Paper charts contain: sea routes, shorelines, navaids, depth soundings, danger zones and restricted areas amongst other things, in order to allow you to navigate safely. For decades, it was one of the main navigation items aboard yachts and motorboats. Even in the era of multifunction displays with electronic charts and iPhone Apps, our SVB navigation experts strongly recommend having paper charts on board, in order to always keep up to date and to have in case your on-board electronics fail! As the skipper, it is your due diligence to be responsible for the safety of your crew aboard.

Reading and using paper charts

Navigating with paper charts is part of basic training for (German) water sports license holders. In basic training, the student learns how to determine their current position and possible route by using charting instruments (protractor, pencil and dividers) and coordinate systems/scales. On-board, the chart is this placed on a charting table, in order to prevent it from sliding around in stormy seas. We offer various textbooks on how to learn to navigate with a paper chart or brush up on skills already gained.

Rigg Mood

Which chart from which provider is right for me?

SVB offers chart sets for pleasure craft from BSH, and paper charts from various private providers, such as: Delius Klasing, NV-Verlag and inland waterway charts from Kartenwerft. One can generally say that there isn't one "best" charts provider, as this depends on the select chart's quality and accuracy in the select maritime area. For example, the North Sea, when compared to the Baltic Sea is a much more varied area, where the currents regularly change - such specific information must be included in the chart. Therefore for safety reasons, our specialists recommend BSH paper charts for this region. However, in the Baltic Sea area, NV-Verlag charts have an excellent reputation, as SVB's boss says himself. For the most part, all of the paper charts that we offer are available either individually or as a set.

Many private chart providers are licensees for chart materials from official agencies, however, private chart providers meet the specific needs of water sports enthusiasts, such as: local recommendations of beautiful beaches, optimal fishing areas and tips on particularly exciting routes. We also encourage you to use the largest scale possible (detailed charts) when navigating in unknown waters or coastal districts. This ensures that you don't overlook any dangerous objects or obstacles (wreckage, shallows, rocks, etc.). Many sailors use so-called "overview charts" when sailing or passing through certain areas - these charts only represent a general overview of the area.

How do I stay up to date with my paper chart?

Always keep your paper cards up to date! Our SVB specialists recommend that you periodically replaced your charts in the spring, just before the season starts. Be mindful of the release dates, edition dates and correction dates of these charting materials. You may have to rework some of the details on your chart depending on the area, currents or other circumstances during different seasons. Changes can be followed very easily by weekly news / BSH's correction service for mariners. In addition, NV-Verlag and Delius Klasing also provide corrections and correction sets for your charts via email and this Website.

SVB Tip: To help you with this, select the correct paper chart from our Online Chart Finder, which shows a variety of different charts, both digital and paper. The Online Chart Finder displays our selection of various charts on a detailed map, which highlight different areas and chart types.


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