As ocean technology continues to innovate, it allows those making a living on the sea or using it to fulfill their passion to do so with greater ease. Yet as far forward as the industry has sailed, the old guard of nautical charts and navigational equipment still find themselves in high use on the high seas. One of the most familiar names in this area is Imray; a publisher of nautical charts and books that has been able to remain on the edge of new oceaneering methods, whilst holding on to the tried and tested forms of maritime navigation that originally made them a household name. In this entry of the Seachest blog, we shine our brand spotlight on this essential maker of nautical charts and their ever growing, comprehensive catalogue.
Under the original name of Imray Laurie Norie & Wilson Ltd, the company was formed in 1904 when a trio of private chart forms decided to join together. The name ‘Imray’ itself came from James Imray and Sons, who had already published a staggering amount of charts and pilot guides. The company continued to publish charts produced with copper plate engravings out of London until 1939, but now in their modern incantation, Imray publish digitally produced charts in both standard paper and electronic format, as well as a library’s worth of high quality pilot books by leading authors.
Covering the Northwest Europe, the Mediterranean and the Atlantic & Eastern Caribbean, Imray’s paper nautical charts (plus those for yachting) are among the most comprehensive on the market. Everything about them is designed for easy reading and plotting, from the distinct colour scheme to the overprinted latitude and longitude grids, and aside from their Imray iolaire charts (for the Caribbean Sea), all are metric. They are digitally printed on Pretex - a partly synthetic form of paper - which can fold firmly and is remarkably durable even in damp conditions. Most vitally, Imray charts are regularly corrected. Whilst you can see how accurate your chart is by seeing the date printed on it, you can also download correction notices from their website to ensure your charts are safe for navigation.
One of the most fascinating aspects of Imray’s catalogue is their pioneering foray into the app market, which is increasingly becoming of greater value to sailors around the world. Charts, books and a range of other navigational tools have been made available for devices such as the Apple iPad, iPhone and iPod, including the ‘Imray Chart Navigator’; an award winning app that works as a fully-functioning navigation package using high quality raster images of Imray and selected official hydrographic office charts. It even comes with demonstration versions of charts of the English Channel that allow users to assess the software before purchasing chart areas.