By Capt Lisa Batchelor Frailey

Attention all US boaters!  If you’re looking for nautical charts, there’s a whole new game in town – “nv-charts”.   I’ve been using nv-charts’ Caribbean charts for years, and have always been impressed by their practicality, accuracy of data and clarity of presentation.  Whether a chart kit or a waterproof folding chart, nv-charts (formerly marketed as CYC) was an easy choice when cruising Caribbean waters. I met with nv-charts owners Hasko and Connie Scheidt last Fall, and was thrilled to learn that nv-charts has expanded their coverage to US East Coast waters. They released the Chesapeake Bay regions –  just in time for the 2012 boating season.  I showed my first set to our dock neighbors and sailing students who really loved the product; now I can barely keep them in stock!  Read on to see why nv-charts are the hottest items of the season.

The Chesapeake Bay series is divided into two regions, North and South, for easy handling.  The North region (5.1) includes Delaware Bay and the C&D Canal, and covers from Cape May, NJ to the Potomac River. The South region (5.2) overlaps at the Patuxent, and continues in detail from the Potomac down to Norfolk, including Tangier Sound and the Delmarva coast.  Together, the region provides all the coverage you need for cruising the Chesapeake or Delaware Bays and a Delmarva circumnavigation.

What’s included:   The spiral-bound chart books are 23.5” x 16.5”, designed to fit conveniently on most chart tables, and protected with a clear vinyl waterproof cover.  Each chart set comes with a Harbor & Anchorage Pilot Book with comprehensive navigation and cruising information and regional descriptions, weather and tide information, cruising destinations, harbors, moorings, and anchorages from entries referenced on the charts. Each chart set also includes a CD containing the entire chart set in digital format, for use on PCs with navigation software and GPS input. Free navigation software is available to download from the nv-charts website.

Key Features. At first glance, you’ll notice some differences between nv-charts presentation and that used by NOAA and commercial competitors. With a little examination, you’ll find the nv-charts presentation to be more intuitive than other charts; regardless, a complete and easily understood legend is included in the pilot book.  Key features of the nv-charts US charts and pilot books:

  • Charts are based on NOAA data with a new layout, clear cartography and international chart standards using WGS-84 datum;
  • Seaworthy chart layout – easy flow from one chart to the next;
  • Standardized chart scales:  passage charts 1:340,000;  coastal charts 1:100,000 and 1:45,000;  detail charts 1:25,000 or less;
  • Pre-plotted GPS lat/lon waypoints; tracks and distances between waypoints for easy planning
  • Depths and heights are charted in feet; referenced to MLLW and MHW, respectively
  • Unique color differences:  dark blue less than 18’ deep, light blue 18-30’ deep, green for exposed tidal areas;
  • Contour lines for 6’ (red), 12’ and 30’ depths;
  • Channel markers (day shapes and lighted markers) are depicted in red and green; buoys have realistic symbology
  • Arrow-symbols show buoyage direction;
  • Enhanced Lighthouse symbology  for better identification and light characteristics;
  • Illustrations of lighthouses (sea level view) are depicted on the chart margin
  • Tide and current information depicted on each chart, where data is available.
  • Grocery,  Marine Services and West Marine stores  indicated for convenience


Who is nv-charts?  This global supplier of precision charting products began producing navigation charts over 30 years ago in Germany, and their charts are used by cruisers, racers, the US Coast Guard  (for Bahamas and Caribbean) and the Baltic-Kiel-Pilots.  nv-charts’ parent company is Nautical Publications, with offices in Newport and Germany. They produce about 600 charts and over 1000 details & harbor plans, derived from government data and  confirmed and/or revised through nv-charts’ own survey vessels and aerial images. nv-charts now offers charting products for the U.S. East Coast from New England to Key West, Europe, the Bahamas, Puerto Rico and the entire Caribbean, including Cuba.

Where can you get nv-charts?  At Sail Solomons, of course!  Call Lisa at 410-326-4917 or email info@sailsibackup to order.  For best value and more diverse cruising options, buy the Chesapeake Bay Box set including both North and South regions.  Happy Cruising!