Several weeks ago NOAA announced it will discontinue printing lithographic nautical charts in April 2014. Is this the end of paper charts?
This story has had a lot of misunderstandings, thanks in part to the abrupt and unexpected announcement .
Currently, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) prints lithographic marine charts for NOAA. With the advent of modern electronic gadgets, both the FAA and NOAA have seen the demand for their printed charts drop. Shortly after the Government shutdown in September, the FAA decided they will no longer print lithographic nautical paper charts after April 13, 2014 and gave notice to NOAA.
This is not, however, the end of printed charts. NOAA will continue updating chart information and making updated charts available as free PDF downloads. Charts are updated daily, and Notice to Mariners information is updated weekly.
Going forward, printed charts will be available from private companies on a "Print on Demand" (POD) basis. NOAA has authorized two POD vendors, OceanGraphic and Eastview Geospatial. In the Pacific Northwest several chart agents have been supplying OceanGraphics paper charts for years. These charts are up to date, the printing is clear, and they are printed on a special synthetic paper.
The bottom line is, paper charts for US waters will continue to be available from other sources for some time to come.
More information at: