ST. PAUL, Minn. — The Alliance for Safe Navigation released findings from its annual survey for recreational boaters. The survey’s purpose is to gauge boaters’ awareness of available updates to navigational tools and their concerns related to accuracy. This year’s survey also will gather data concerning groundings and whether they were related to a lack of accurate navigational tools.
While most boaters use aids such as GPS, electronic charts and paper charts, the 2010 survey of 7,570 boaters revealed that most respondents do not routinely purchase current charts that reflect weekly updates issued by the U.S. Coast Guard. These updates, called the Local Notice to Mariners, contain critical information about changes such as shifting shoals, moved buoys and newly submerged obstructions; boaters can easily access these updates.
“Changes happen every single day, and one seemingly small change can be very important when it comes to boater safety,” said Ken Cirillo, business development executive for Jeppesen, a founding member of the alliance. “By using charts that are current, whether those charts are paper or electronic, boaters improve their odds of avoiding accidents and groundings.”
“Significant and frequent changes on—and under—the water happen, and boaters need to remain aware of these changes to ensure their safety,” says David Enabnit, technical director at NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey. “The Alliance for Safe Navigation strongly suggests that updated navigational tools are the best approach to safe navigation.”