While there has been a lot of publicity about the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s plan to stop printing government-issued lithographic navigation charts on April 13, 2014, that doesn’t mean paper charts won’t still be available. Print-on-Demand charts will be offered by two for-profit companies: OceanGrafix and East View Geospatial.
For those who thought electronic chart plotters would eventually become the only option for future onboard navigation, NOAA announced that the new independently produced Print-on-Demand charts will be sold online or through authorized dealers — and updated weekly with information from the Coast Guard’s Local Notice to Mariners. Next-day shipping will be available.
While the Print-on-Demand charts will not be printed by an agency of the U.S. government, they will produced “under the authority of the National Ocean Service,” NOAA announced. They will use information from NOAA cartographers, utilizing computer software to update the charts.
According to NOAA, the new Print-on-Demand charts “meet the requirements for mandatory carriage of nautical charts published in Titles 33 and 46, Code of Federal Regulations, including the requirements for updating.” And while these paper charts will not be printed by the government, “NOAA is responsible for all navigational content of the charts.”
While the wisdom of NOAA’s plan to stop printing navigation charts is questionable, it’s good to know that they won’t entirely disappear.