MyNOAACharts, a mobile app beta test for Android tablets, can easily integrate the user's location, the nautical chart, and all the navigational information from the U.S. Coast Pilot. (Courtesy NOAA)
As recreational boaters gear up for a summer of fun on the coastal waters... NOAA is testing MyNOAACharts... a new mobile application that allows users to download NOAA nautical charts and editions of the U.S. Coast Pilot. The app... which is only designed for Android tablets for the testing period... was released on May 20.
MyNOAACharts... which can be used on land and on the water... has GPS built-in capabilities that allow users find their positions on a NOAA nautical chart. They can zoom in any specific location with a touch of the finger... or zoom out for the big picture to plan their day of sailing. The Coast Pilot has "geotagged" some of the major locations... embedding geographical information... such as latitude and longitude... directly into the chart so it is readable in the app... and provides links to appropriate federal regulations. The app can be downloaded from the Google Play™ app store. It is very important to remember... a boating accident can kill. Keeping a nautical chart on hand... to avoid hitting something... can save lives.
The beta test for MyNOAACharts will expire this Labor Day, Sept. 2. Coast Survey will then evaluate usage and user feedback to decide whether to release a finished version of the app.
Boaters without an Android tablet should not despair. The Office of Coast Survey provides free BookletCharts... which are 8 ½" x 11" PDF versions of NOAA nautical charts that can be downloaded and printed at home. The U.S. Coast Pilot is also available in a free PDF version. Those products... and information for purchasing other nautical products... are available at www.nauticalcharts.noaa.gov.
Important notice for commercial mariners: The mobile app MyNOAACharts and the BookletCharts do not fulfill chart carriage requirements for regulated commercial vessels under Titles 33 and 46 of the Code of Federal Regulations.