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Don’t forget your charts!
July 30th, 2012 @ 10:26 AM EST by admin

We heard a rumour recently that the marine unit has been cracking down on people boating without charts. We can’t verify the cracking down rumour, but member John Cangardel did some research for our collective benefit.

John didn’t have to go very far. Transport Canada’s Safe Boating Guide mentions charts and publications right here:

“…you must carry the following for each area you plan to boat in: the latest edition of the largest scale chart (when available); and the latest edition of related documents and publications, including Notices to Mariners, Sailing Directions, tide and current tables, and the List of Lights, Buoys and Fog Signals.”

It says must; it is not an option and no Richardson’s chart books or similar books are acceptable. They have to be CHS (Canadian Hydrographic Service) – the official source for navigational publications in Canada.

The legislation is available for your reading pleasure.

The only exemption from carrying these documents is as follows:

If the person in charge of navigation has sufficient knowledge of the following information, such that safe and efficient navigation in the area where the ship is to be navigated is not compromised:

  1. the location and character of charted
    1. shipping routes,
    2. lights, buoys and marks, and
    3. navigational hazards; and
  2. the prevailing navigational conditions, taking into account such factors as tides, currents, ice and weather patterns.

Basically, the person has to know the entire contents of a chart and related Notices, Lists and Directions.

In addition, in the event of an accident, insurance companies may require proof that the boat had all these required charts and publications, because it’s the law. If the boat didn’t, it would give insurers a good opportunity to deny a claim, unless the skipper could prove he/she had an encyclopedic knowledge of the area.

by Faith Seekings and J M Cangardel