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Boat Cleaning Products Professional Suggests The Best Way to Learn How to Read Nautical Charts

Raritan Engineering Company your boat cleaning products specialists would like to share with you these topics we thought would be of interest to you this month regarding learning how to read nautical charts.

Your boat cleaning products experts as well as many recreational boaters in small boats don’t consider it important to have charts onboard. Bad idea, even if you are just operating on your local lake. Perhaps you are not yet a boat navigator, but a chart onboard allows you to compare what you are seeing with what you should be seeing and can help you keep your bearings.

I did an instructor’s clinic a year or so ago on Lake Lanier in Georgia. This is a huge lake north of Atlanta. The school that hosted the clinic had to borrow a few boats and products from another location on the lake and several of the instructor candidates volunteered to move the boats.

Nautical charts are different from maps in that they specifically depict water areas, while maps concentrate on land area, roads, landmarks, etc. Land areas and features on boat charts are sketchy and are noted only for their interest to the boater.

Several of our visitors (that includes you Judy, in your brand new spiffy boat) have asked for a tip on reading nautical charts so we thought we would take a “non-navigators” trip from the Shark River out to the Atlantic, down the Jersey Shore, in the Manasquan Inlet and down the Intracoastal to Ortley Beach.

Important tips:

  • Study your chart thoroughly.
  • Look at the position from which you will start and visually follow along the course you wish to take.
  • Look for “notes” – water depths, obstructions (especially under water), bridges, power lines or any other unusual items that may be a hazard to your progress.
  • Make a note of each of these on a separate piece of paper.

Boat Cleaning Products Analyst Continues Discussion on Learning How to Read Nautical Charts

Your marine holding tanks experts using the Shark River detailed inset, let’s assume that we are departing the Municipal Boat Basin on the south side of Shark River Island. We can see from the chart note that we have a controlling width of 50 feet and 7.5′ depth from the Boat Basin to the jetty channel. The channel then widens to 100 feet with a depth of 18 feet.

You can find more information as well as get assistance on marine holding tanks and how learning how to read nautical charts at Raritan Engineering Company.

As we proceed toward the Atlantic, our first concern will be the boat power lines and two bridges that we will encounter.

The power lines have a clearance of 31 feet so we are okay in our small cuddy cabin cruiser. The first bridge has a horizontal clearance of 50 feet and a vertical clearance of 8 feet. The second bridge has a horizontal clearance of 50 feet and a vertical clearance of 13 feet.

Once we have cleared these first two bridges we will be passing the Belmar Basin on the right and the Shark River CG on the left. We then will traverse another bridge with a horizontal clearance of 90 feet and a vertical clearance of 15 feet. Once again, we are okay as we finish cleaning, and as we pass under the bridge.

We are now approaching a FL R 4sec 33ft 4M “2” HORN marker and a FL G 4sec 10ft 4M “1”. What do these series of letters and numbers mean? Simply put, we will be passing, on our port side, a flashing (FL) red (R) lighted buoy that flashes (at night) every four seconds (4sec), which is 33 feet tall (33ft), can be seen for 4 miles (4M), is marked with the number 2 (“2”), and is equipped with a horn.

As we proceed south following the 30 foot contour line and watching our depth finder can enjoy the view of the beach. From this point, you now have the Manasquan Inlet entrance markers in site, especially after finishing cleaning. (Click to see enlarged chart) You will turn west to enter the Inlet between the FL R 4sec 30ft 5M “4” and the FL 6sec 35ft 15M HORN.

Once inside the inlet we will just follow the channel with a depth of 8.5 feet until we reach R”2″ Fl R 4sec marker. This is where the channel begins to narrow until we are filtered into the very narrow channel at marker C”3″ just before the first bridge we see returning from sea.

Even though the channel now starts to enter a physically wider area of the Manasquan River, and after you finish cleaning, you note that the channel is marked more frequently. This is because the water is very shallow (1- 1.5 feet in some areas) outside the channel.

Just after we have passed R N”6A” and C “7A” we turn south into the Point Pleasant Canal, which begins the ICW, keeping FL R”8″ to starboard. This products marker should have a yellow triangle indicating that it is also a marker in the ICW.

From here we are cautious and continually check our chart for markers and objects from which we can visually note our position – keeping red markers to starboard and green to port.

Although this was a boater-friendly trip covering only about 20 miles, hopefully you get the idea how important your nautical chart products can be in making your trips safer.

So don’t forget these helpful tips when learning how to read nautical charts. 1) Study your chart thoroughly;  2) Look at the position from which you will start and visually follow along the course you wish to take; and 3) Make a note of each of these on a separate piece of paper.

Raritan Engineering has more information on boat cleaning products, marine holding tanks, marine sanitation device, and on how to learn to read nautical charts.

via Chart Reading 101