OceanGrafix — Accurate Charts. Confident Boating.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Can I order a chart directly from your site?

A: Should you choose to initiate your order from the OceanGrafix web site, you will be automatically directed to one of our retailer sites for the completion of your transaction.

Q: How do I know how much shipping will cost?

A: If you choose to purchase your chart online, you will be directed to one of our online retailers. Shipping and handling fees vary according to the retailer.

Q: Who can I contact with questions or problems regarding my order?

A: In most cases the retailer from whom you purchased your chart will best be able to help you. However, an OceanGrafix representative will always be happy to assist you as well. Contact us.

Q: Am I legally required to have nautical charts onboard?

A: While commercial mariners are obligated to have up to date navigational charts on board, recreational mariners are not required to do so by law. However, virtually all boating experts agree that paper charts are critical to boating safety — for all mariners.

Q: I have GPS onboard. Why do I need a paper chart?

A: Unfortunately, GPS and other electronic systems are not foolproof. A paper chart serves as important backup when the unexpected happens.

Q: How often should I update my charts?

A: Each year, NOAA issues over 11,000 corrections to their suite of over 1,000 charts. Depending on the area of boating, you should consider updating your charts on a regular basis and certainly when a new edition is released.

Current edition charts should be kept up-to-date on a regular basis by checking the LNM & NM for your chart number. Links to the LNM and NM updates & corrections can be found on the chart information page (Search Charts> Search by Chart Number). It is the responsibility of the mariner to keep their charts updated, forward from the POD print date.

Q: How will I know if a chart I own is out of date?

A: Ensure you have the current edition for your chart, found on the chart information page: Search Charts> Search by Chart Number. LNM and NM links will provide any relevant updates for that edition of your chart number. Updates and corrections apply only to the current edition number.

Q: How do I know when there is a New Edition of my chart?

A: To be automatically informed of a new edition release for your chart number, you can request an email alert here: http://www.oceangrafix.com/resources/chartupdates

Q: What is meant by “Notice to Mariners”?

A: Each week the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) issues the Notice to Mariners (NTMs) for ocean-going vessels, providing timely marine safety information for the correction of nautical charts. You can review the Notice to Mariners at http://msi.nga.mil/NGAPortal/MSI.portal. OceanGrafix NOAA charts for U.S. waters include all Notice to Mariner Corrections issued prior to the time of printing.

Q: What is the “Local Notice to Mariners”?

A: The nine district Coast Guard offices issue the Local Notice to Mariners (LNMs) each week, applicable to all vessels. The LNM provides timely marine safety information including the correction of nautical charts, the US Coast Pilot, and the USCG lighthouse list. The list also pertains to aids to navigation, lights, bridges, cables, pipelines, wrecks, obstructions, Federal Waterways, waterway operations and dangers to navigation. LNMs are published at http://www.navcen.uscg.gov/?pageName=lnmMain. OceanGrafix NOAA charts for U.S. waters include all Local Notice to Mariner Corrections issued prior to the time of printing.

Q: What is meant by a chart “Edition”?

A: After an edition has had a number of critical updates, the cartographers may deem it suitable to release a new edition of the chart, complete with additional relevant information for the user.

To be alerted of NOAA, NGA, Imray & CHS new editions, sign up for an alert here: http://www.oceangrafix.com/resources/chartupdates It is imperative that mariners are navigating off the current edition of a chart, as all corrections and updates pertain only to the current edition.

Q. What is OceanGrafix’s relationship with NOAA?

A. In June 2000, OceanGrafix was selected as NOAA’s partner in the development of a new generation of nautical charts for U.S. waters. Using digital technology, OceanGrafix is able to continually incorporate NOAA’s latest cartographic changes — and then print these fully up to date charts as they are ordered. The new charts were first introduced in 2002, and OceanGrafix continues to produce them today under an exclusive contract with NOAA.

Q: What are NGA charts?

A: National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) charts cover a variety of international waters worldwide. Previously discontinued in the spring of 2010, OceanGrafix now prints over 3000 of these charts for commercial and recreational boaters.

Q: NOAA uses the term “Print on Demand.” What does that mean?

A: “Print-on-Demand” refers to NOAA’s exclusive arrangement with OceanGrafix to print NOAA charts that are 100% up to date when they are ordered by a customer. OceanGrafix charts are printed (and shipped or picked up at an OceanGrafix retailer) only when an order is placed.

Q: How do I know which charts I will need?

A: To locate charts by geographic region click on search charts, and then use "search by map" to help identify which chart numbers you need based on the areas you choose.

Q: How do I purchase OceanGrafix NOAA charts?

A: You can call or visit any of the chart retailers in our U.S. network. Many of them are designated as “remote printers” and can print your chart immediately. Most OceanGrafix retailers also have websites and some offer catalog sales. You can also purchase OceanGrafix charts online.

Q: How do I find a retailer in my area?

A: Our website allows you to simply browse or enter your state to find a retailer nearest you.

Q: What Size are the Charts?

A: The full-size OceanGrafix NOAA chart is a single-sided product available in size from approximately 3' to 5' in length and are either 36" or 42" wide, depending on the coverage needed for each specific geographic area.

Q: What Are The Charts Printed On?

A: Charts are printed on water-resistant paper or a fully waterproof synthetic material, vessels with adequate bridge space are able to extend the chart to full length, while vessels with smaller bridges have the option to fold the paper chart to the size they require (waterproof charts can be rolled & bound) for stowing.

Q: I use both paper and digital charts. Which should I update?

A: Update the charts first that you use to do your planning; paper is better. You use your chartplotter to follow the selected paths. You don't need the latest charts on the chartplotter to stay on course, and it's costly to frequently update these charts.

Q: What do various “chart scales” mean?

A: Charts are created in different scales, with increasing levels of detail. For example, on a 1:80,000 scale chart, one inch on the chart represents 80,000 inches in the real world. In other words, one chart inch equals about 1.1 nautical miles. A 1:40,000 scale is twice as detailed. A small scale chart, say 1:200,000, covers a wide area but with less detail (since most charts are printed on similar sized sheets of paper).

Q: What is the purpose of a small-scale chart?

A: A small-scale chart, like a 1:1,000,000, is useful for planning long voyages, but provides little detail along the way. While they make terrific art for your walls, small-scale charts are among those you could consider skipping for your boating trip.

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