These are some references that we keep aboard for navigation:
- NOAA Nautical Charts — We like our electronic navigation gadgets as well as the next cruiser, but we also keep a full set of paper charts for the areas we are cruising because when the electronics fail and the batteries are gone, paper and pencil still works. When underway, we mark our position and the time on the paper charts at regular intervals, so that we have a starting point if we need to start dead reckoning. NOAA charts are expensive, so if you’re just starting your chart collection it’s worthwhile to check out other options such as chartbooks and print-on-demand charts.
- USCG Navigation Rules—Essential reference for every boater
- Farwell’s Rules of the Nautical Road—This is the analysis of the navigation rules and how they apply in various situations. This is an excellent companion to the nautical rules, and “must” reading for every professional mariner.
- Coast Pilot 9 — Issued in nine volumes, the Coast Pilots contain supplemental information that is difficult to portray on a nautical chart. Topics in the Coast Pilot include channel descriptions, anchorages, bridge and cable clearances, currents, tide and water levels, prominent features, pilotage, towage, weather, ice conditions, wharf descriptions, dangers, routes, traffic separation schemes, small-craft facilities, and Federal regulations applicable to navigation. Coast Pilot 8 covers the panhandle section of Alaska between the south boundary and Cape Spencer. Coast Pilot 9 deals with the Pacific and Arctic coasts of Alaska from Cape Spencer to the Beaufort Sea.
- 2012 U.S.C.G. Light List VI: Pacific Coast and Pacific Islands — This publication is a list of lights, sound signals, buoys, day beacons and other aids to navigation. It is published yearly, and it useful when updating charts and other references to show changes to navaids.
- Tide Tables 2012: West Coast of North and South America — This book has all of the necessary information about tides and currents for Alaska, British Columbia and the U.S. west coast, but requires some practice to do the research and math without error. For instance failing to adjust for daylight savings time can put you in a narrow passage a whole hour early or late–a major factor in some passages where tidal current runs at 10 or 12 knots. There are other resources that are easier to use (i.e. local tide tables and computer programs,) and most of them are derived from the data in this book.
- INTERNET: USGC Navigation Center — There is a huge amount of information on this website and many of the resources can be downloaded to your PC for free, including Notices to Mariners, Radio and Communications information, etc. Browsing this website is time well spent.