Free NOAA charts for Chesapeake Bay

          How cool is it when the government gives you something for free that you can actually use?!  Enter BookletChartT, a NOAA initiative that lets you download charts as Adobe Acrobat files and then print them at home for free. 

         All charts are reduced in scale and divided into pages for convenience, but otherwise contain all the information of a full scale nautical chart - even the bar scales have been reduced and are accurate when used to measure distances in a BookletChart.  Utilize two-sided printing and you can staple the charts along the edge to make a booklet.  Other features include consolidation of all chart notes on a single page for easy reference, excerpts from the United States Coast Pilot, and emergency information for the charted area printed on the back cover of each booklet.

         BookletChart will no doubt be a boon to many recreational boaters, however NOAA still recommends use of official, full scale nautical charts for navigation whenever possible.  They also stress that BookletCharts do NOT fulfill chart carriage requirements for regulated commercial vessels under Titles 33 and 46 of the Code of Federal Regulations.

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