Stanley Yacht Services: NOAA To Cease Printing Nautical Charts

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

NOAA To Cease Printing Nautical Charts

Effective April 13, 2014, the government will stop the lithographic printing of NOAA nautical charts.

No new paper charts soon! 
NOAA's Office of Coast Survey and its predecessor agencies have been responsible for printing traditional lithographic paper charts since the Civil War. However, given modern innovations, including partnerships with print-on-demand (POD) distributors and the popularity of digital alternatives, NOAA concludes "it is no longer justified as a use of tax dollars" to continue printing the charts, as much as they'd "like to continue the tradition of lithography".

As for the future availability of charts in alternative formats, NOAA explains :
We continue to improve NOAA electronic navigational charts (for display on computers, mobile apps, and electronic chart display systems) and NOAA raster navigational charts (used in a variety of electronic charting systems). We are also testing a new product: during a trial period from Oct 22, 2013 to Jan 22, 2014, we are making about a thousand nautical charts available in printable PDF format for free download. We plan to issue a Federal Register Notice asking for comments on continuing free public access to PDFs after the trial period. 
Whistler Chart
And don't worry, collectors! You can always download and print historical charts, including some from the 1800's, when James Whistler (known for the iconic painting “Whistler’s Mother) and John Muir (founder of the Sierra Club) worked for Coast Survey, from

For more information about the change, click here.

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