The Alliance for Safe Navigation said a recent survey of 7,570 recreational boaters revealed that 64 percent of respondents are not concerned enough about the accuracy of their navigational aids to seek out or make updates.
Intended to measure the use and awareness of available updates to navigational tools, the survey revealed a "general lack of concern among recreational boaters regarding the accuracy of their navigational data," according to the alliance.
Although most boaters use aids such as GPS, electronic charts and paper charts, 79 percent fail to track Coast Guard updates, which are necessary to maintain the accuracy of their navigational aids. These updates, called Local Notice to Mariners, contain information about changes such as shifting shoals, moving buoys and newly submerged obstructions, and boaters can easily access them.
"Unfortunately, these survey results indicate that boaters simply are not aware of how often conditions change and how those changes can affect their safety," said president Ron Walz of OceanGrafix, a founding member of the alliance. "The truth is that waters do change - and inaccurate chart information can turn a safe and enjoyable cruise into a dangerous situation."
Unlike commercial mariners, who are required by law to carry up-to-date charts, recreational boaters are not held to the same regulation. Recreational boaters aren't required to have any charts on board.