British admiralty charts in U.S. waters

That doesn’t seem correct. Wouldn’t the BA just use NOAA hydrographic data, satellite imaginary etc instead? I don’t know for a fact but I’d assume that’s how it’s done.

NOS Hydrographic Survey Data

Looks like we’re both right, they do have some coverage the US already canceled, but BA coverage of US waters does seem to be limited. I have held in my hands the BA reproductions where it was just the NOAA PDF on Admiralty watermarked paper, I doubt those are being maintained. I don’t know if they used to have better coverage, I haven’t been following their catalogue closely.

I suspect it has something to do with 33 CFR 164

§ 164.33 Charts and publications.

(b) As an alternative to the requirements for paragraph (a) of this section, a marine chart or publication, or applicable extract, published by a foreign government may be substituted for a U.S. chart and publication required by this section. The chart must be of large enough scale and have enough detail to make safe navigation of the area possible, and must be currently corrected. The publication, or applicable extract, must singly or in combination contain similar information to the U.S. Government publication to make safe navigation of the area possible. The publication, or applicable extract must be currently corrected, with the exceptions of tide and tidal current tables, which must be the current editions.

(c) As used in this section, “currently corrected” means corrected with changes contained in all Notices to Mariners published by the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, or an equivalent foreign government publication, reasonably available to the vessel, and that is applicable to the vessel’s transit.

Given NTM information is a little funky right now while charts are being phased out, I’m not sure they could get T&Ps and corrections out for the charts that no longer exist. If it wasn’t like $50 I’d order BA 3684 and compare notes.

IDK but it strikes me as not very plausible the British Admiralty would just copy NOAA charts.

The entire rational of hydrographic agencies using international data standards and file formats is so they can use hydrographic survey data from another charting agency.

Easiest and quickest way to check is see if the scale and extent of the charts is the same.

Charts of Portland Harbor

Not the same extent, details differ.

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Hydrographer authorities sell their data to many end user suppliers
Hence the updates both electronic and paper.
Even the pleasureboat stuff like navionics buys data ( but pick and choose the updates…be careful)

“…be careful”

Tell me about it - we use Navionics on our chartplotter, and when we entered the Chesapeake 2 weeks ago I noted that the buoys along the channel heading into Hampton were not where the chart said they should be. I’d updated the chart just 4 days before we left Georgia, so I sent a note to Navionics. Got a snippy answer a few days later informing me that their charts were “up to date”.
So I updated my chart again and -lo and behold!- All buoys in the new locations. FWIW, AquaMap had 'em right at the time and I hadn’t updated those for more than a month…

But then again, Navionics “Sonar Charts” [User-sourced sonar logs applied to the base charts] saved us a LOT of trouble going up the North River off the St Marys River back in Georgia - something NOAA doesn’t have at all, as their data is at least 20 years out of date. (and AquaMap uses NOAA data here, so they are just as wrong)

I’ll pay money for charts I can trust - but sometimes its hard to tell :slight_smile:

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They wont do current updates so they can say dont use this app for navigation.
They dont want that business.

If you run several products at once, you can usually find a place where each one is wrong eventually.
AquaMap may not have user-sourced sonar charts, but they do have ACE (Army Corp of Engineers) updates, which can very much come in handy on the ICW. AquaMap used to have a VERY bad decluttering algorithm, it would have closer buoys vanish while keeping more distant ones visible and in two cases I found it would disappear just the green buoys but not the red ones!
I complained a lot about that and sent numerous screen shots, they have fixed it now.
Home | SEAiq Pilot is a pretty inexpensive way to have a good backup, apparently it is a favorite of pilots. It uses the official NOAA ENCs.

Well, the “Sonar Charts” are clearly marked “Not for Navigation”, and I understand why. But their main-line charts are clearly intended for Navigation.

They all have some lawyer-weaseling in there somewhere like “Never rely on only one source of navigation” or “not responsible for all the stuff you run over”.
Most of the people on here are from the over 300 tons world and such you don’t get to pick your nav chart supplier, they use official certified equipment and charts.
The SEAiq program is a cheap way to see what they see and the charts are free :slight_smile:

Oh, yes! Those CoE charts are VERY nice! But they haven’t done that little river off the St Marys (and maybe never will, as there is exactly one small marina up there :slight_smile: ) But the depicted channel is clearly a copy of the NOAA charting, and both are in significant error in a few places. I suspect that when the pulp mill burned down, interest in surveying that channel dropped to near zero, so there hasn’t been an update in some time.
In most places, AquaMap has been a tremendous help (and the Explorer Charts of the Bahamas, which they offer, are the BEST Bahamas charting, bar none). The CoE charts are also extremely comforting, where they exist.

I remember that buoy problem with AquaMap - THANKS for helping them fix it! Even their new version still shows only the red buoy at wide zooms when there are pairs. They do seem to be responsive.

The problem I found was at zooms where you would definitely think nothing was there if you didn’t see it, like 1 mile around you! I was so glad when they fixed that.

ah no, when you turn on a pleasure boat chart plotter they all say not to used for navigation or as a primary source.
The charts are not up to date and might not ever be is one reason.

IAW original agreements that IHO laid down years ago, various hydrographic authorities usually share the full or base chart details and critical data sets. The US for instance still provides paper charts for US Gov and naval use and a duel numbering system are marked on the charts with the UKHO number and the crossover DHA number on the same location. NOAA could not wait to exit providing paper charts fast enough, followed close behind with NGA having started the process years priro by quietly phasing out certain paper charts. Good riddance since US cartographers are fairly clueless and never figured out the value of placing graticules inside the chart center meridian and other meridians increasing the time to lay down critical fixes. Selling their substandard charts not corrected to the date of sale yet another substandard characteristic. The US government needs the funds anyway to pay for the 15million or so illegal invaders and really cannot be bothered any longer…good riddance.

And NOAA might not be any better :wink:
There was a sandbar that had moved out 1/2 mile into the channel that I was dodging for YEARS until one day the NOAA survey boat came by for fuel and asked if I knew of anyplace they should survey next. Why yes, I have JUST the spot for you!

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The scary part of ECS’s is the pleasure boat world think that somebody went out an re surveyed the whole world to make the charts.
A huge number of the charts are hand drawn as there is no such survey at the scale the chart displays.
Maybe google earth will end up being our accurate charts?
Like most apps we use these days they are collecting huge amount of data from users so perhaps with enough depth data collated a better depth datum can exist?

There was post on reddit not too long ago where someone thought their navionics wasnt updating because he was confused by a caution area reported in 1978. I looked into it and told him, thats relatively up to date givent the survey area is from 1939, he was even more surprised.

I can imagine a not too distant future where AI will be able to redraw these charts with google earth data, but im not sure we should be trusting userdata for depths, there are a million variables.

There are areas of the world where Google Earth IS the most accurate charting available by quite a margin.
On the printed charts and the raster scans at least you can see when the last survey was done:

The NOAA survey boat with side-scan sonar was running all around that area last winter, so those dates might be a lot more recent soon. Back in the day the NOAA boat only saw what was directly under it, so a lot of things could have been missed.
I actually know someone who had a job at NOAA making charts, he said a lot of near shore stuff in Alaska was done from 19th century drawings done from a distance off, his quote was something like “No one was dumb enough to risk their life to row around every rock and take a sight”. He also said there was always some room for interpreting various squiggles and drawings.
I actually should see if I can find the dates on Aquamap charts, they do get new versions out frequently. SeaIQ and OpenCPN use the latest NOAA ENCs, I am not sure if there is any newer charting than that with the exception of Aquapmap downloading the ACE surveys, which is mainly for the ICW and other inland waters they work on.
I have a distrust of crowd-sourced surveys, back in the day when charts out in the Bahamas were not really good with GPS a lot of fixes got passed around to enter various places. You had no idea if the skipper that made them was missing coral heads by inches.

  • I know a few places where I could make a “survey” that looked like good water but literally the channel is about 10 feet wide at most, you are following a tiny path with steep sides.

Hey, we’re anchored in that chartlet :slight_smile: One thing not showing is the increasingly useful CoE surveys of many of the inlets & bays around here - they’ve eased my mind a number of times.
I, too mistrusted crowd-sourced charting, having run into the same “everybody uses the same waypoints” issue, which results in really wacky bottom contours along the lines between 'em, plus lots of areas not covered at all - in the Bahamas. I also ran into a badly-intrepreted “sonar chart” in the Chesapeake - a narrow channel that everyone uses, but with no data, showed an adjacent sand bar as deep water. But the performance of the sonar chart in that river in Georgia has changed my mind - that one made a harrowing passage into dead easy.
With the interpretation done right, I think user-sourced data has real potential for those areas where the .gov isn’t going to be doing any surveys anytime soon.

None of this, however, has much to do with what the big iron ships need :slight_smile:

I sailed up to Istanbul in about 91, the black and white chart we bought ( current) was surveyed in 189?
We worked out they used it in WW1
The lower part of the pensinsula had a caution, NOTE this point is 5 miles north of where marked on the chart.
The GPS had us on the land most of the time.


Years ago, I often steamed in uncharted waters with blind faith along a string of someone else’s waypoints.

It’s still common to be using charts in very changeable remote areas that were last surveyed in the1800s. Etolin Strait (where the Norwegian tanker touched bottom a few years ago) has just gotten some partial new surveying in the past couple of years. It’s only shown on the ENCs, not the raster charts.

It’s common in changing rivers to transit over charted land, particularly on raster charts.
The ENCs must be updated with satellite data in areas where the last survey was in the 1800s. Still we often transit over charted land.

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