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How to Read a Nautical Chart - Part 1


5 of 6

Locate the Distance Scales
How to Read a Nautical Chart - Part 1

For instructional purposes only.

Photo © NOAA

The last section of the chart to note is the distance scale. This is a tool used to measure distance of a specific course drawn on the chart in nautical miles, yards, or meters. The scale is usually printed at the top and bottom of the chart. The latitude and longitude scale can also be used to measure distance.

So far, we’ve the learned the basic components of nautical charts. Think of these 5 parts of the chart as tools – each one will be useful in plotting a course on a nautical chart. In Part 2, I show how buoys, lights, obstructions, and other charted aids to navigation guide you as you navigate the waterways.

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