Nav Software questions

The towing company I work for does not provide electronic chart software and they recently banned wheelhouse personel from using their personal computers and programs. The worry is that they can not guarantee that each individual’s program is corrected up to date and accurate. Hopefully, company provided ECDIS’s are in the works.

Management may be waiting to see if the Coast Guard has anything to say. Is there a certain system that is more likely to be approved or mandated by the CG in the future? I would imagine if regs came out then all of the manufacturers would strive to get their programs compliant.

Also, do any of the major programs work with Apple computers? Has anyone tried charting software on an Apple that clones Windows?

I don’t know about CG approval but Sea Clear II is a good program and it is free. Just google “sea clear 2” and you can download it for free. Then download RNC’s from NOAA for free and load them into the program and you are ready to go. Instructions for all this are in the User Manual that downloads as part of the package. Really user friendly. I’m using it on my boat now and have my AIS hooked into it. Works great!!!

Well that’s an interesting take by management. What moron came up with this one? I’ll bet he hasn’t sailed for a while.
You’re perosonally liable by virture of sailing on your license, and so it only makes sense that you should be free to use any aid to navigation you choose. It’s as if they’re telling you to use parallel rules when you’d rather use a rolling rule or triangles. Next they’ll tell you you can’t use your own hand-held GPS as a backup. They’re nuts, and they’re opening themselves up to serious liability by navigating for you from the office. You could sue the living shit out of them if you had an incident while abiding by this policy.
Management is not responsible for your chart corrections, you are, even on the paper charts they provide. There is no guarantee that your paper chart corrections are being done. How many boats have you joined and then spent a week or more bringing the charts and pubs up to date?
BTW, they will not be providinig you with a true ECDIS, but with and ECS (Electronic Charting System) which is much cheaper but still reliable. NobleTech and Transas are the top dogs.
If it was me I would try to reason with the company with regard to the use of personal computers and navigation software. If they still won’t approve it, I’d use it anyhow and, of course, as I always do with electronic charts, only use them to verify what I already know from looking out the window and using my radar. The Coast Guard could never fault you for using your own computer and electronic charts, as long as they’re kept current and corrected. The will kick your ass for keeping your face stuck in the laptop instead of where it belongs, which is out the windows and in the radar. Electronic charts are Dangerous.
Remember what the COLREGS say about “all available means”. Let’s say, for example, that you’ve put your laptop away to please management. Then you have an allision or a collision. During the investigation it comes out that you had a laptop aboard, with up-to-date charts and software, but you chose not to use it. WHAM-O, you just got your pee-pee whacked.
Always, always, always, cover your ass and if a company policy prevents you from doing so, work to change the policy. In the meantime, use youir laptop OR leave it at home.

Sea Clear will work with Apple

Anyone know where to find international E-Charts similar to the NOAA BSB’s?

EDIT: NM found it on the NGA.MIL website.

Does anyone have reccomendations on cheap software that can use the vector based e-charts? As far as I can tell Sea Clear II can’t use these charts and NGA doesn’t have the non-vector based charts.

Cheap is relative. Furuno Max-Sea, NobleTech. I don’t know how much they cost.

Eating hot pockets and top ramen cheap. Both products are around 400 bucks it looks like.

Rice and ketchup was always a favorite back in my youth. When I could splurge, Chili-Mac was a treat.

EarthNC is a great product that works on all platforms (It’s uses Google Earth), not sure about usuing it for commercial navigation.

Sea Clear II will run these charts but you have to “calibrate” them using MapCal. MapCal is part of the Sea Clear download. After you download Sea Clear you have to go into the Sea Clear folder to open Mapcal. Follow the instructions that are provided in the user manual for loading/calibrating these charts for use with Sea Clear.

Re. Sea Clear II. It will run on my Mac Powerbook Pro using the Parallels emulator, but I cannot find a version that will run in Mac OS. For free charting software, you can try Stentec an outfit in the NL who do some simulation software but of late have been very up on producing windows GPS driven charts. From what I can tell Parallels 4 for intel based Macs will run all charting software designed for Windows. If you have an Intel based Mac, you can always run windows in the “Bootcamp” mode which simply turns your Mac into a PC until you restart back to the Mac OS. The Parallels 4 app, however, will run in a coherence mode so you have you two desk tops right there and can go from a Mac app to a Windows program without making any changes or restarts. Unfortunately, for the moment at least, it would seem that the majority of charting and GPS programs are Windows only, however; I have more than a few clients in aviation who use the widows option on their Intel Macs and they fly away and keep coming back. So check out Stentec and Seaclear II. If anyone finds chart software for Mac, I’d appreciate hearing about it. I know that Stentec has some coastal trip planning programs which run on Macs, so they may be a good resource.
I am always happy to answer Mac tech questions if I can, so do not hesitate to be in touch.


I can’t figure out how to get the MapCal to recognize the ENC’s. I know when I was loading the raster basted charts I had to go in to every file and pull the attachments out the subfolders, sicne it appeared that the auto-load wouldn’t dig into subfolders. I dug through the ENC folders and couldn’t find the attachments that MapCal supports.

It’s easier to just use the RNC’s and pull the KAP files out of each folder.

That’s what I figured, do you know where I can get international RNC’s?

haven’t figured that one out yet. Most of the foreign countries I’ve been to/worked with have an oceanography/mapping department within their navies. you might try to find them through a host country’s navy.

Does anyone know if the new version of The Captn (8.3.20) supports DNC charts? I’m thinking about dropping the 450 bones for it. I know an older version had the capability but was in the ballpark of $800. I’ve scanned their website for info but it only stated support for the ENC vector format charts. From what I’ve heard a lot of people like this program any info (good or bad) would be appreciated.

I have all three, TheCaptain, Nobeltic, Maptech,
out of all three I like nobeltic the best but only the older versions. the newer versions have tooooo much crap in them like all the U.S roads and such, (i assume just in case you are boating down the highway), anyways you might want to look for an older version on the net somewere, nobeltic 4.0 is simple and does not need to be registered on their web site to work

Are you from Ohio? I have your avatar sitting on my kitchen counter full of change.