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BoatUS Report

BoatuslogoBoatUS: NOAA National Charting Plan Looks to the Future

“We don’t expect paper charts to go away anytime soon.”

Many in the boating community have recently expressed concern after learning of a proposed plan for the “sunsetting” of paper navigational charts, which was listed among the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Charting Plan, released earlier this spring.

A closer reading of the strategy however, according to the BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water, reveals a forward-looking approach that sets a course to enable the Office of Coast Survey’s Marine Chart Division to continue to meet the evolving needs of boaters into the future. The member-funded nonprofit Foundation serves as the safety arm for the more than half-million member Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS).

“The way we access data today is different than how we accessed it 10 years ago, and we believe there’s a good chance it will be different 10 years from now,” said BoatUS Foundation Vice President Susan Shingledecker, who serves as the boaters voice on the 15-member NOAA Hydrographic Services Review Panel, which advises the federal agency on the nation’s navigational charting needs. “The National Charting Plan shows that NOAA is looking to evolve its products and use its resources efficiently to meet the changing needs of its users. Having nautical charts available in a range of formats is key to boating safety, and we don’t expect paper charts to go away anytime soon.”

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Navigational charts are critical to boating safety, and have evolved to meet to the changing needs of boaters and the use of technology.

To ensure concerns were recognized, comments filed today with NOAA by BoatUS Government Affairs said, “BoatUS feels strongly that NOAA’s charting products need to continue to be available in a wide range of formats. …We see some form of paper charts as an essential need for the foreseeable future.”

BoatUS also notes in its comments that charts are likely moving to the metric system and will require boater education. The BoatUS Foundation expects to increase its educational outreach as that occurs.

Among the proposed boater-friendly changes in the National Charting Plan, according to Shingledecker, are more frequent chart updates – weekly, instead of long intervals, and the better integration of data with other agencies such as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Coast Guard, which could mean integrating the latest channel depths and aid to navigation positions. The plan also allows NOAA to focus attention on underserved waterways, such as resolving chart discrepancies in areas of importance to recreational boaters.

“We see a more efficient chart production that allows more frequent updates of obstructions, discrepancy resolution and exploration of using crowd-sourced data,” said Shingledecker. “Boaters on the Intracoastal Waterway, for example, need to know what the channel depth is today – not what it was last year. The plan is simply a starting point to get us there.”

NOAA also responded to boaters’ concerns in a blog post today, ensuring boaters that, “The draft plan does not offer a timeline for ending the production for NOAA paper charts or (Raster Navigational Chart) data. We expect this process may take decades to complete, as user communities continue to adopt electronic navigation and our production system and products continue to improve.”

Suggested Tweet and Facebook post: BoatUS Foundation: NOAA Navigational Charting Plan looks to the future  https://goo.gl/2aPjYA  #BoatUSfdn

About the BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water: The BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water is a national leader promoting safe, clean and responsible boating. Funded primarily by donations from the more than half-million members of Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS), the nonprofit provides innovative educational outreach directly to boaters and anglers with the aim of reducing accidents and fatalities, increasing stewardship of America’s waterways and keeping boating safe for all. A range of boating safety courses – including 34 free state courses – can be found at BoatUS.org/courses.

 
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Posted by on June 9, 2017 in BoatUS Report

 

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BoatUS Report


Low Cost Life Jackets for Teens Available for Camps, Schools, Non-Profit Programs

The BoatUS Foundation’s Teens Afloat Program helps keep teens safe on the water by offering discounted vest-style life jackets – at just $5 – to non-profit summer camps, schools, or any local non-profit organization providing on-the-water educational programming for teens. Now is the time to help your group get in on the discount.

The BoatUS Foundation Teens Afloat Program in action on Washington’s Anacostia River.


Made possible through a donation from the National Marine Bankers Association, the goal of the program is to provide an affordable way to keep teens safe while they participate in educational programs on local waters. Groups interested in getting life jackets may apply using an online application located at www.BoatUS.com/Foundation/TeensAfloat by a March 31 deadline. After applications are received, the Foundation will choose the applications that best match grant guidelines and post them on the Foundation’s website and Facebook page for a public vote in April.

“We’ve received many requests over the years from groups providing these kinds of on-the-water educational programs to teens that desperately need life jackets,” said BoatUS Foundation Program Manager Alanna Keating. “These programs are great ways to give teens a chance to experience being on the water and at the same time educate them on the importance of life jacket wear. We also hope that involving the public with voting helps to promote these programs,” she added.

The Teens Afloat program is for groups currently offering on-the-water programs, such as educational boat trips, canoe and kayak excursions that include safe and clean boating in their curriculum. However, groups that don’t currently include safe and clean boating in their educational programs can also apply if they commit to add these topics to their programming. “Our ultimate goal is see these kinds of educational programs grow – and keep teens safe while they’re participating in them,” added Keating.

The life jackets offered are Type III vests – the most comfortable non-inflating type available that normally retail for about $30 each. Applicants are allowed to request from 10 to 50 life jackets in increments of 10. For more information in including application guide lines, go to www.BoatUS.com/Foundation/TeensAfloat.

About the BoatUS Foundation: The BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water is a national leader promoting safe, clean and responsible boating. Funded primarily by the half-million members of BoatUS, it provides innovative educational outreach directly to boaters and anglers with the aim of reducing accidents and fatalities, increasing stewardship of America’s waterways and keeping boating safe for all. To make a tax-deductible donation to this 501(c)(3) nonprofit, go to www.BoatUS.com/Foundation

 
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Posted by on February 28, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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