What does “charts not intended for navigational use” mean?

Seabreeze sells, and recommends, commercially published charts, chart books, and atlases, all of which contain the phrase ” . . . not intended for navigational use” somewhere in some small-print paragraph.   We use them on our own boats.   They generally are more comprehensive in coverage, easier to manage on small navigation stations, and much less expensive than a full set of official charts covering the same areas.   Most start from official charts and then add useful information. So why “. . . not intended for navigational use?”

There are several reasons, some to do with navigation, some to do with liability.   Liability?   You bet!

If you rely on an atlas to get through a shallow spot, or between the rocks, or to identify the harbor entrance and avoid the beach next to it, you may be unpleasantly surprised by the result.  Here are some of the challenges:

  • Chart books and atlases don’t get updated very often.  Some have never gone past the first edition.
  • Occasionally they leave out part of the official chart in the interest of saving paper.
  • If they come from private chart makers, they may leave out critical marks, or have errors.

Seabreeze Nautical Books and Charts can recommend the appropriate charts and navigation software that are intended for navigational use.  We can also recommend those charts that are suitable for decorations or illustrative purposes only – please don’t plan your cruise using them, though!

Categories: Navigation