On a trial basis, NOAA is providing about a thousand high-resolution printable nautical charts — almost the entire NOAA suite of charts — as PDF files. The PDF nautical charts are exact images of the traditional charts currently printed by lithography. Coast Survey will continue to make the charts available while we evaluate usage and user feedback.
The chart PDFs are listed by chart number. To find the chart you need, first use the Online Chart Viewer. (Improvements in chart PDF identification and organization are coming soon!)
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Just as with Print-on-Demand (POD) and NOAA raster navigational charts (NOAA RNC®), these digitally-formatted chart files are updated weekly and include all of the latest critical chart corrections. These files can be printed or viewed depending on the customer’s choice. For mariners using paper charts to meet chart carriage requirements under federal regulations, only printed charts provided by NOAA certified POD providers will meet U.S. requirements when the traditional lithographic nautical charts are no longer available. POD charts meet stringent print standards and can be recognized by an official certification of authenticity printed on the chart.
Key features of the PDF nautical chart
- Updated Weekly. PDF charts are up-to-date with critical corrections from Notice to Mariners.
- Available Immediately. New PDF chart editions are available two to eight weeks sooner than traditional NOAA paper charts have been.
- Enhanced Readability. These are printed in brighter colors, so the charts are easier to read. Additionally, the files are high resolution, at 400 dpi.
- Printable. Most charts can be printed from any plotter capable of plotting 36” width to achieve 1:1 scale (see graphic below).
- Easy to view. PDF files can be viewed with free PDF readers such as Adobe Reader. If you do not already have this viewer installed on your computer, you may obtain it at no cost from the Adobe Reader webpage. Other free PDF readers can be found by searching the Internet.
Download PDF Charts
Chart scale example