Are you swamped with paperwork? Are your chart corrections backed up for weeks or even months? Have you given up on trying to properly maintain the required publications? Are you dreading your next safety management system compliance audit?
If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, there is a user-friendly solution.
Ocean Charting Services of Easton, Md., ( www.oceanchartingservices.co m ) has one of the best systems I’ve ever seen. Instead of time consuming and often inaccurate hand corrections (let’s face it, none of us are cartographers), OCS sends you a weekly package which includes pages of self-adhesive correction “patches” that you carefully cut out, align, and stick onto the charts. The individual corrections on each patch are outlined in red to stand out and grab your attention. Large, complex corrections can now be done properly.
The administrative procedure is well thought out, too. OCS keeps a record of every chart and publication your vessel carries and sends you only what you need. Instead of an index card file and stacks of old Coast Guard notices to mariners, you have a single binder with a tabbed section for each chart. In the front of each section is a chart update log sheet to keep track of who did what corrections and when. Behind them are the chart correction information sheets (which come with the correction pages) that list every correction in order, from newest to oldest, for the current chart edition. Simply remove the old sheets, replace them with the new sheets, and you’re done.
The U.S. Coast Pilots and Light Lists are easier still. Just change out the old pages with the new, put in the new record of changes sheet, and log it on the log sheet update in the front. To avoid mistakes and removing pages you shouldn’t, simply follow the advice on the record of changes sheet: “The number of discarded pages should always equal the number of pages received.” Each packing list tells you exactly how many pages you received.
This system is a real winner. Companies that are interested in having their crews keep the publications up to date should give it an honest look.