Head to the NOAA Coast Survey website for the latest charting products.
NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey is the nation’s chartmaker, with over a thousand charts covering 95,000 miles of shoreline and 3.4 million square nautical miles of waters within the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone. Here’s a quick overview of the nautical charts that NOAA produces.
- Paper nautical charts are printed on demand by NOAA-certified agents.
- NOAA PDF nautical charts are digital formats of the traditional paper charts, and are up-to-date to the day they are downloaded. PDF charts are free.
- NOAA Raster Navigational Charts (NOAA RNC®) are digital images of NOAA’s entire suite of paper charts, updated continually with critical corrections. They can be used in many electronic charting systems and offer advanced functionalities such as real-time positioning. Available for free download in BSB format.
- NOAA Electronic Navigational Charts (NOAA ENCs®) are NOAA’s most powerful electronic charting product. These layered vector charts, available for free download, can be used in Electronic Chart Display and Information Systems (ECDIS).
- BookletCharts™ are free, print-at-home products to help recreational boaters locate themselves on the water. BookletCharts, in letter-sized format, contain all of the information on full-scale nautical charts.
- Historical Maps & Charts Collection contains over 35,000 images, including some of the nation’s earliest nautical charts.
- United States Coast Pilot® is nine volumes of supplemental information important to navigation. PDFs are updated regularly and are free for download.
DYK: President Thomas Jefferson founded Coast Survey in 1807 and tasked it with creating charts of the nation’s coastal waters so America’s young shipping industry could thrive. Reflecting Coast Survey’s beginnings, the Historical Map & Chart Collection contains over 35,000 images — charts, maps, sketches, and more — that are available free to the public.
Compiled by Paul Johnson
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