This comes as the IMO now mandates that all large commercial vessels on international voyages use electronic navigational charts (ENCs). In 2016, the USCG started allowing regulated commercial vessels on domestic voyages to use ENCs in lieu of paper charts. Recreational boaters are also increasingly using electronic chart displays.

As such, NOAA is taking steps to provide a NOAA Custom Chart web-based application that will enable users to download and print raster chart backup files created from the most up-to-date ENC data.

These chart backup files will look somewhat different than traditional paper nautical charts, but will provide a similar functionality,

…NOAA said.

The US Coast and Geodetic Survey Act of 1947 and the Hydrographic Services Improvement Act requires that NOAA compile and distribute nautical charts and other nautical publications.

NOAA and its predecessor agencies have produced paper nautical charts of the US Coasts, its territorial waters, and the Great Lakes since the mid-1800s. NOAA has produced electronic navigational charts (ENCs) since 1993.

NOAA now seeks comments from the public regarding the raster and paper chart product sunset transition and is particularly interested in:

  • suggestions for improving the NOAA Custom Chart web application, and
  • understanding other non-navigational uses for paper or raster nautical charts.