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Lengthening the service life of charts

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What is the issue?
Navigation stations are typically situated by the main companionway and the odd spray splash or stray raindrop falls down onto the chart table. They also tend to be a rest point where things inappropriately get laid from time to time as is human nature on an active boat. This causes charts to quickly degrade, especially so with ‘home waters’ cruisers where a specific sailing region chart is continuously in use.

Why address this?
Charts are expensive and increasing their serviceable life is desirable, particularly so if one does not have to take on an additional chore to protect them.

How to address this?
Protect the charts by placing the active chart under a cover. There are two broad approaches available.

Waterproof chart case
Photo: Courtesy of SealLine
The first is to cut a large sheet of transparent non-glare acrylic to fit the chart table top and fasten it down by installing two thumb screws. Lay the chart beneath the transparent acrylic glass and secure both with the thumb screws. Plotting may be carried out on the acrylic surface with dry wipe markers.

The second more portable approach is to place the chart in a waterproof vinyl chart case. These can be found in most chandlers and come in varying sizes, and most leisure series charts come in such a container. For chart work, the 18" x 24" handles nautical charts folded twice or a 24" x 36" handles charts folded into half. Although the latter is larger it enables an entire chart to be viewed by flipping the case.

The heavy gauge transparent vinyl chart cases have sealed edges that make them largely waterproof. This has the added benefit of allowing the charts to be taken out into the cockpit.

With thanks to:
Michael Harpur, Yacht Obsession.
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