United States and Canada Divvy Up Electronic Chart Duties for Border Waters

Two North American neighbors recently agreed to eliminate overlapping coverage of electronic navigational charts.

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According to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Office of Coast Survey, "internationally agreed practices" and discussions between the two entities that produced the charts—NOAA and the Canadian Hydrographic Service—have led to each country eliminating some e-charts in favor of the other country's charts.

Examples include the lower Niagara River and Welland Canal, now to be produced only by the CHS, and the Bay of Fundy to Cape Cod, now NOAA’s responsibility.

Sailors in the Pacific Northwest were the first to see these changes, in July 2012. Sailors in the Great Lakes and the Northeast saw the latest changes take effect in February 2013.

According to NOAA, recreational mariners will most likely not notice the changes, as the only real difference is that they'll pay for any electronic charts from CHS. NOAA's charts are, as always, free of charge and downloadable. Cruisers heading to these areas that have commercial electronic charts should make sure they have the latest updates from the manufacturers.