We've had a sailing start here on Sea Chest! It's been several weeks since the launch of our new online nautical bookstore, and we've already sent out dozens of high quality navigational charts to seafaring fans across the country, along with many great products from our range of finely crafted sailing tools and informative books. On our blog, we've covered the content and differences between Admiralty and Imray charts, and given a guide to ocean instruments. This time, we want to provide a step by step on how to use Sea Chest's chart finder to locate your ideal Nautical Chart's content.

Using the Chart Finder

You can access our Nautical Chart finder virtually anywhere on the site simply by clicking the 'Find Charts' option in the far right corner of our menu bar. This will take you to the default page of the finder, which has multiple options to help you find the right chart. You will probably recognize that the chart finder is integrated into Google maps, which will give you plenty of ways to adjust the map to best suit you. The two options in the top right hand corner will let you alter the appearance of the map as shown below:


Going right from the top left, these image show the chart finder with:

  • Plain Map view (default)
  • Terrain Map view
  • Satellite view
  • Satellite view, with Labels

To the right of the Map/Satellite buttons are a series of other icons to adjust the way the map appears. You can use them to find your current location, toggle the fullscreen option and to toggle the way you move around and view the map. These may or may not be that useful to you, but they can make your navigation of the chart finder that little bit easier.

What To Look For

So, let's imagine we're trying to find an Admiralty chart that covers the Caribbean Sea Harbours on the South Coast of Jamaica - a place we all wouldn't mind being at right now! There's several ways you can find what you're looking for, but the most plain and simple is to type 'Jamaica' in the search bar in the top left corner of the map, and either hit Enter or click the Sea Chest icon next to it.


This will turn up two options: Jamaica the country, and Jamaica the neighbourhood in Queens, New York city. Both sound like great places to be, but we obviously want to go with the former option. Clicking it will take you to a close up view of the island of Jamaica, with a faint purple circle enclosing the territory.


Now, where the place names were a second ago, you now have a long list of chart numbers. Hovering your mouse over each one highlights a blue rectangle over the area that the chart covers. By clicking on an individual chart, you'll zoom in on that area, plus the chart will now be selected in the list to the left of the map.


The sea area off Jamaica that we want a chart for is very tiny, so we need to look carefully when scrolling through the options. Moving your mouse too quickly through the list can be a little disorientating, so it's easier to hover slowly. The third option down, 257, seems to highlight three tiny squares in the south part of the island. This looks quite promising.


If we click on 257, it zooms us in, and selects the chart on the left. By clicking the 'Info' button, a pop-up appears on the map that tells us that this is indeed a nautical chart called '257 Harbours on the South Coast of Jamaica'. We can click the 'View' button to take ourselves to the chart's product page, or we can immediately add it to our basket via the 'Add To Basket' button in the bottom left of the chart finder.

Searching by GPS Coordinates

It is also possible to search for a chart by GPS co-ordinates. If we were after a nautical chart that covers the West Coast of Scotland, but for some reason we only had the co-ordinates 55.5723665,-4.8970023,11, then we can enter that into the finder same as with the location name. Putting in those coordinates brings up West Kilbridge in Scotland, and an inland area of the United Kingdom.


Again, the former is more applicable, and clicking on it zooms us in to a part of Scotland's West coast. Scrolling through the different charts highlights various large and small areas, but near the bottom there's one numbered 2635 that highlights the entire West coast of the country. If we click on it and view the info, lo and behold, it's a chart called: '2635 Scotland, West Coast'.

Image of 2635 Scotland, West Coast

Most of the charts listed will inevitably be Admiralty charts, but any applicable Imray charts will also appear in the list. At this point, we unfortunately still have many charts on our site without the respective images for the product. If there is a nautical map that you're particularly interested in without an image, email us at info@seachest.co.uk and we'll provide one as soon as possible.

If you have any further questions or comments regarding our Paper Nautical Chart finder, or suggestions on how to improve its functionality and ease of use, then you can let us know in the comments below, or over at our Facebook Page, via Twitter or over at Google+.

Post By Graham