By using this website and the NOAA Raster Navigational Charts (NOAA RNC®) distributed here, you acknowledge that you have read, understood, and accepted the terms and conditions stated in this User Agreement. NOAA reserves the right to change this Agreement at any time and without notice. Your use of this website and/or the Raster Navigational Charts available here shall constitute your agreement to be bound by this Agreement and any changes.
Description of NOAA Raster Navigational Charts (NOAA RNC®)
The NOAA RNC® files distributed here are geo-referenced, full-color images of NOAA's paper nautical charts, published by NOAA in the .BSB format. NOAA updates the RNCs for Notices to Mariners on a weekly basis. They are an official product of NOAA, and meet the S-61 Standard, Raster Navigational Charts, of the International Hydrographic Organization.
NOAA RNC® files are intended to be used in their electronic form only. You may download, use, and redistribute them without restriction, and without payment to NOAA, except as noted herein.
The NOAA RNC® files are intended for navigational use. They may be used to meet federal chart carriage regulations published in the Code of Federal Regulations. On November 15, 2005, the regulations were as stated below. These regulations may change, and mariners are advised to check the Code of Federal Regulations for their current status.
- In December 1998, the International Maritime Organization's Maritime Safety Committee approved amendments to Resolution A.817(19) stating that some ECDIS equipment may operate in Raster Chart Display System (RCDS) mode when the relevant chart information is not available in vector mode (e.g., NOAA ENC®). The amendments state that when used in RCDS mode, ECDIS equipment should be used together with an appropriate folio of up-to-date paper charts to meet chart carriage requirements.
- On May 2, 2001, the United States Coast Guard amended the United States chart carriage regulations to permit government vessels to use electronic charting and navigation systems in lieu of paper charts.
- On August 15, 2002, the United States Coast Guard issued a statement of policy to bring its regulations into agreement with SOLAS Chapter V (as amended by the changes taking effect July 1, 2002). The policy statement said that, if a ship has an approved ECDIS installed according to SOLAS, Chapter V, the ECDIS will be considered as meeting the ship's nautical chart carriage regulations. The ships that are affected are:
- U.S.-flagged ships of 150 or more gross tons that engage on international voyages.
- U.S.-flagged ships certificated solely for service on the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River.
- Foreign-flag ships to which SOLAS, Chapter V, applies that are operating on the navigable waters of the United States.
This policy is not applicable to U.S.-flag ships engaged only on domestic voyages. These ships must continue to comply with existing navigation equipment requirements until the chart carriage regulations are formally amended.
Limitations on Use
NOAA RNC® data may be redistributed, but redistributed NOAA RNC® files are NOT considered official NOAA RNC® products, and do not meet federal chart carriage regulations for regulated vessels. This official status attends only to the original downloaded files. NOAA has established a program under which distributors be certified to redistribute NOAA RNC® files such that the RNCs will retain their official status and meet applicable chart carriage regulations. The RNC agent agreement can be viewed at http://www.nauticalcharts.noaa.gov/mcd/Raster/dist_require.html.
NOAA RNC® and their geoTIF versions (future) may not be used to print commercial products. Individuals may print the NOAA RNC® or their geoTIF versions for personal use, but the result is not a NOAA chart, and may not be used to meet federal chart carriage regulations.
Copying of the NOAA RNC® files to any other server or location for further distribution is discouraged unless the following guidelines are followed: 1) this User Agreement is displayed and accepted by anyone accessing the NOAA RNC® data, and 2) a reference to this Web site is included so that anyone accessing the NOAA RNC® data is advised of their origin.
If these NOAA RNC® files are incorporated into any other product in a form other than as provided by NOAA, the producer of that product assumes full liability.
Weekly updates to the RNCs are done on a best efforts basis. The timing of their availability is not guaranteed. You are responsible for ensuring that your RNCs are the most current edition and that the most recent updates have been applied.
NOAA RNC® files were made by scanning the NOAA paper chart printing materials. Any inaccuracies due to old methods of collecting, processing and displaying data on the paper chart were transferred to the RNCs. As a result, the accuracy of modern positioning systems such as GPS may exceed the positional accuracy of the RNC. The impact of positioning accuracies can be minimized by not zooming an RNC beyond the scale of the original NOAA chart.
While NOAA has accuracy standards for each step in the data collection and chart production process, much of the depth information found on NOAA charts is based on surveys conducted before 1940, the shoreline is more than 20 years old, and paper charts used to be compiled manually. For more information regarding the accuracy of electronic charts, click here.
Trademarks and Copyright
"NOAA®" and the NOAA ® emblem are registered trademarks of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
NOAA RNC® is a trademark of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Clicking the link below signifies acknowledgement of having read the above statement and the wish to proceed to the NOAA RNC® Downloads section.