What are the Methods To Update Navigation Charts On Board Ships?

Correcting and upgrading a navigation chart is a constant process. Once a chart is published, constantly changing navigational features and aids or other relevant information have to be promulgated in order to update the ships navigating in those areas.

Admiralty Notices to Mariners or Weekly Notices serve the purpose of correcting and updating charts, which are being supplied to the vessels electronically or in paper format.

deck officer engineer

Various Means to update and keep corrected the chart outfit system onboard are –

Weekly Notices to Mariners

Issued on a weekly basis by the Admiralty, these notices contain corrections to charts and various other publications such as Admiralty sailing directions and Admiralty list of lights and radio signals. They also include temporary and preliminary notices to correct charts. The year begins with notice no .1 being issued in first week of January and the numbering increases chronologically till last week of the year. They also notify about any new charts or new editions being published and their previous editions being cancelled.

The corrections are mentioned either in the form of co ordinates with instructions or in the form of overlay chart tracings and blocks to be cut and pasted. New editions of Admiralty list of lights and fog signals, Admiralty Sailing directions and Admiralty List of Radio Stations are provided when available.

Cumulative List of Notices to mariners

These are published twice a year in January and July. The main purpose of them is to provide a list of current editions of all Admiralty Charts and the serial numbers of notices affecting them which have been issued in previous two years. The charts present onboard can be verified for any missing corrections by checking them against the Cumulative Lists.

Annual Summary of Notices to Mariners

All the temporary and preliminary notices for a previous year are being published collectively in Annual Summary of Notices to Mariners. They are quick and handy references available to determine which all temporary and permanent corrections are applicable to a chart. They also contain summary of corrections to sailing directions.

Chart correction software and computer ( Chart Co)

The paper copy of weekly notices to mariners is digitized using software popularly named as Chart Co. Being online with a chart correction service provider, this organizes chart folios onboard in the form of a database and the corrections received being individually listed under respective charts. A navigating officer can then access the system using chart number to print and apply any specific or all applicable corrections for any chart present onboard. There is an offline database and software in use onboard ships where corrections are supplied in the form of weekly mail attachments. These are used to keep the chart correction database up to date exactly like the paper copy of Weekly Notices to Mariners.

Navarea Warnings: Navarea warnings are promulgated to ships operating in various areas. The world is divided into 21 NAV AREAS and these warnings are broadcasted by World Wide Navigational Warning Service. Through a network of Area Coordinators and National coordinators important international, coastal and local warnings and notices related to navigation are transmitted to ships which they receive using MF/HF radio frequencies and satellite networks.

Navtex Warnings: These are broadcasted by Telex Broadcasting stations established in various coastal areas. Mostly they broadcast navigational, meteorological and distress warnings. They play a vital source of providing early warning in coastal navigation. A receiver onboard named as a Navtex Receiver is used to receive Navigational warnings. E.g. In  Dec. 2004 the Navtex stations were the first to broadcast urgency and distress warnings related to Tsunami to fishing and other merchant vessels operating in Indian ocean and adjacent coastal areas.

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About Author

Abhishek Bhanawat is a chief officer who has worked on various types of tankers. He specializes in Crude Oil and Product Tankers. He is extremely passionate about his work and loves to sail. An avid reader since childhood days, he likes to write about his experiences in free time. He loves to share his views and opinions regarding his maritime profession. He also likes to teach and always supports his juniors who are at the sea through mails and over phone.

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  1. Good day C/O Abhishek.

    Quite an informative article, however I really must correct you on one thing.

    The software for downloading chart corrections (and other useful data) on a computer is available from a number of providers who have a relationship with the issuer of the corrections, e.g. Admiralty for BA charts. ChartCo is not the general term, but you may have thought it was if your experience has only ever been with this product or is the product of choice for your company. ChartCo is a brand name, they are one of the major distributors, and have a really excellent product which I have used before and would recommend. However there is competition from GNS with their Voyager product, and many others out there. Therefore it would be incorrect to name a brand in your article, generalised terminology should be used instead.

    Jack Jenkins, Vessel IT Engineer

  2. What is the requirements of a regular update of ship board nautical charts and publication receiving mode to ship.?

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