U.S. Coast Guard Allows the Use of Digital Publications

In 2015 OCS began to provide digital updates to many government publications. Weekly DVDs or USB flash drives may be sent in lieu of the printed updates formatted as replacement pages.

See the Digital Data page of our website for more detailed information about the use of digital data.

The U.S. Coast Guard states:

“Policy. Pending promulgation of other regulatory guidance, U.S. vessels may maintain the navigation publications listed above in an electronic format that is readily accessible on the vessel by the vessel’s crew.”

NVIC, CG-543 Policy Letter 10-05

Data Sources

 Chart corrections and Publication come from five different government sources:

Agency Products
USCG Weekly Local Notices to Mariners
NGA Weekly Notices to Mariners
NOAA Weekly updated BSB and S-57 charts from The Office of Coast Survey website
BA Weekly Chart and Publication Updates
CHS Weekly Chart and Publication Updates

Each of these agencies issues chart corrections and publications with different criteria and purposes.  Rarely will all of them release the same correction in the same week.

Ocean Charting Services (OCS) uses NOAA data for its primary source information. This NOAA data is used to create “chartlets” which are supplied weekly to the vessels. This NOAA data is also used to update the digital charts used by many electronic navigation systems.

Product/Service Cost

The cost of our chart and publication update services is based on the number of charts a vessel carries. Estimated monthly charges range from $70 per month for a harbor assist tug with a few charts onboard to an estimated $400 per month for a vessel with several hundred charts (e.g. Brownsville, Texas to Bucksport, Maine) and many publications.

Weekly Delivery

The USCG, NOAA and NGA typically release updates on Thursday and Friday of each week. Beginning each Friday, OCS uses this new data to produce individual vessel update packages. Great Lakes correction packages are shipped the following Tuesday, West Coast on Wednesday and East Coast on Thursday. Depending on customer preference, OCS sends weekly updates directly to the vessel, to vessel agents or to company offices for redistribution.