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Charts Are Worth The Paper They Are Printed On

I am constantly surprised by sailors (not you of course) who believe their electronic charts are accurate. They are exactly as accurate as the paper charts they are copies of, and the paper charts are, in turn, just as accurate as the surveys they are based on. Many such surveys were last done before 1900 using, shall we put it politely, less than precise instruments.

GPS, on the other hand, is very, very accurate. To put this into a perspective that may be a little clearer, your GPS will precisely record your position aground on the reef the chart shows to be a mile away.

I tip my hat to the old surveyors, because they managed to place almost everything within a mile or so of where the GPS says it should be. In practice this meant that I never set a waypoint less than two miles off any charted land, reef or obstacle, three miles if the waypoint was to be approached at night, and even then I held my breath.

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