Safety first for boaters: Learning how to use a chart

COURTESY PHOTO | A seminar on boating safety and chart reading will be given in the first week of February.

The Peconic Bay Power Squadron will present “How to Use a Chart,” part of the USPS University seminar series, at 1:00pm on 8 February 2014 at West Marine in Riverhead.

Attendees will learn about chart symbols, navigation aids, latitude & longitude, true vs. magnetic north and much more.

Charts provide information essential to your safety afloat.  Even with GPS and electronic navigation, the chart displays what’s around and what is between you and your destination.  Symbols used by cartographers tell what lies below the surface of the water and the water depths, while providing information about visible landmarks and aids to help you navigate your course.  The chart is also your link with the GPS via its grid scale, compass rose, and distance scales.  A brief introduction to latitude and longitude provides insight to the operation of GPS receivers.

NOAA Chart No.1 is the quintessential reference to chart details, but is difficult to understand.  This seminar covers what you need to know in an entertaining fashion, and provides you with a Maptech Waterproof flip-fold, “Chart Symbols and On-the-Water Guide” to take along on the boat with you.  In addition to teaching about charts, this seminar walks you through the essentials of laying out a safe course and the steps to measure a course with the USPS plotter.

West Marine is located at 1089 Old Country Road in Riverhead and there is a $45.00 fee which includes the cost of the manual and quick guide. To learn more or to reserve your space, call Fred Smith at 631-298-1930 or visit