ST. PAUL, Minn. – A recent survey revealed that 64 percent of boaters are not concerned enough about the accuracy of their navigational aids to seek out or make updates, according the Alliance for Safe Navigation, which today released results from a survey of 7,570 recreational boaters.
The alliance is composed of several boating industry companies that joined forces last spring to promote the importance of up-to-date navigational information. The group, which is sponsored by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, consists of BoatU.S., Jeppesen, the United States Power Squadrons, OceanGrafix and the Sea Tow Foundation for Boating Safety and Education.
The survey was intended to measure the use and awareness of available updates to navigational tools. It revealed a general lack of concern among recreational boaters regarding the accuracy of their navigational data. While most boaters use aids such as GPS, electronic charts and paper charts, 79 percent fail to track updates issued weekly by the United States Coast Guard that maintain the accuracy of their navigational aids. These updates, called Local Notice to Mariners, contain information about changes such as shifting shoals, moving buoys and newly submerged obstructions and can be easily accessed by boaters.
“Unfortunately, these survey results indicate that boaters simply are not aware of how often conditions change and how those changes can affect their safety,” Ron Walz of OceanGrafix, a founding member of the alliance, said in a release. “The truth is that waters do change—and inaccurate chart information can turn a safe and enjoyable cruise into a dangerous situation.”