Commander Ken Treadwell of Kent Narrows Sail and Power Squadron recently attended a Cooperative Charting Program workshop at NOAA’s Atlantic Marine Center in Norfolk, VA. The annual workshop consists of a series of informational seminars and on-the-water training for USPS members in District 5.
Under the program, members of United States Power Squadrons provide information to the Marine Chart Division of NOS/NOAA that lead to corrections to nautical charts and Coast Pilot Publications. Members also conduct depth surveys of their local waterways where charts have not been updated in decades because of funding limitations. USPS’ Cooperative Charting Program is recognized as the most effective user-participation program by the Federal government.
Nautical chart corrections are the backbone of the program and are based on direct observations by USPS members who report differences between charted information and what is observed, either from the water or from shoreline surveys. Chart items checked may include Aids to Navigation, bridges, duck blinds, name changes, piers and docks, fish stakes etc. KNSPS has submitted several observations over the years that have resulted in changes to our local charts 12270 and 12272. Members also conduct depth surveys that may result in changes to local charts. The cartographers are particularly interested in areas that are shallower than charted because these areas can be hazardous for boaters.
The National Ocean Service Coast Pilot is a series of books that cover a wide variety of information to navigators and recreational boaters, providing information that cannot be shown on nautical charts such as channel descriptions, currents, tides, water levels, wharf descriptions and small craft facilities. The books are illustrated with photographs of harbors, entrances and shorelines to provide additional help. The book that applies to our area is NOS Coast Pilot #3 which covers the Atlantic Coast from Sandy Hook, NJ to Cape Henry, VA and includes the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. USPS observers examine sections of the Coast Pilot for their local area, determine where changes should be made to reflect current observations and report any changes needed to the text and illustrations. Again, over the years KNSPS observers have contributed changes that have been incorporated into Coast Pilot #3.
All of these activities provide KNSPS members the opportunity for community involvement and public service, increase our local knowledge of local waters as well as fun and companionship. If you would like to learn more about USPS visit the District 5 website at www.uspsd5.org, contact Commander Ken Treadwell 410-643-0952 or the Membership Chairman Jack Yeigh at 410-632-2106.