Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Are Paper Charts Necessary?

Good Old Paper Chart

If you frequent some of the cruising forums you already know that they are haunted by a few somewhat opinionated, sharp-tongued individuals (SOSTI's) that love to tell any poster why they are mis-informed, wrong or just plain stupid. Heavy on the "You're an idiot." comments. Whatever rocks your chair I guess.

I was reading a thread about the demise of the paper chart where many of the posts supported reliance on GPS based equipment with a heavy dose of "Look where you are going." thrown in. A few posters argued that in the event the electronics fail (lightning, electric issue or satellite shut-down) a paper chart becomes all important. Predictably they were immediately called idiots because total failure is not possible per the all-knowing SOSTI's. Have paper charts really become wall decorations or are they still relevant for the cruising sailor?

Well, let me start by saying I qualify as an idiot because I believe cruisers should carry paper charts and use them. Chartplotters and tablets with navigation apps are my runaway first choices for route planning and navigation. But, having a current paper chart in use for dead reckoning and as a back-up to the electronic devices adds a nice safety factor.

There are plenty of good arguments against paper charts. They are expensive, take up lots of storage room, too cumbersome to use and have to be manually updated. I won't disagree that all these arguments are valid, but I don't believe they outweigh a paper chart's value.

Electronic Chart

So stand tall fellow idiots and ignore those SOSTI disbelievers. We are paper charters and proud of it!


1 comment:

  1. Count me in as a fellow idiot. Charting a course on a paper chart forces one to think.