June 2020
What Boaters Need to Know About Updating Charts
As we head into boating season, it’s a good time to make sure all your nautical charts are up to date.

While only commercial mariners are required to have up-to-date navigational charts on board, experts agree that updated charts are critical to recreational boating safety, too.

Where can you access updates to your charts? The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) issues the  Notice to Mariners (NTMs) for ocean-going vessels on a weekly basis. NTMs provide timely marine safety information for the correction of nautical charts.

Similarly, the nine district Coast Guard offices issue the  Local Notice to Mariners (LNMs) each week, applicable to all vessels. The LNM provides timely marine safety information, including the correction of nautical charts, the United States Coast Pilot, and the United States Coast Guard lighthouse list.

Safety at Sea
To help stop the spread of Covid-19, consider making disinfecting your vessel part of your boat maintenance routine. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggest:

  • Use disposable gloves, or reusable gloves, strictly used for disinfecting. Wash hands immediately after removing gloves.

  • Clean dirty surfaces with soap and water prior to disinfecting.

  • Prepare a bleach solution by mixing five tablespoons (1/3 cup) of household bleach per gallon of water; or four teaspoons bleach per quart of water.

  • Spray bleach solution on hard (non-porous) surfaces and allow to sit for at least one minute with proper ventilation. Do not mix bleach with ammonia or other cleansers.

Boat Safety Programs During Covid-19
Online Classes
The United States Power Squadrons (USPS) and America’s Boating Club are offering several interactive online seminars that can be accessed from home. The seminars cover a variety of topics ranging from cruise planning to preparing for inclement weather.

Virtual Vessel Safety Check
Due to Covid-19 and associated social distancing guidelines, the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary (in partnership with United States Power Squadrons) is suggesting that boaters complete virtual safety vessel checks (SVC). To do so, boaters can simply download the safety check form, and use it as a guide while performing a self-inspection.