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Nautical Charts

The nautical chart of your navigation area is an essential element to use on board to navigate safely. Whether you are sailing inshore or offshore, it will first help you choose the most suitable route for the forecasted conditions (weather, tides, current). Once at sea, the chart helps to monitor and manage the navigation: determine the position, note any deviations and correct the route. In "sensitive" coastal areas (rocks, sandbanks) or at the entrance to harbours, a more detailed chart gives the necessary indications to follow a safe route using buoyage or alignments: this is called coastal pilotage Mandatory on board as soon as you get to the coastal area, a chart can be in paper or electronic form, but we strongly recommend that you have both. Picksea offers two types of charts: the SHOM and the NV-Charts :


The SHOM is the French Naval Hydrographic and Oceanographic Service. For 300 years, it is the service that establishes hydrographic surveys and publishes nautical charts for France and many areas in the World. The SHOM offers two formats of paper charts, folded charts and flat charts. The L-chart collection (folded version) is a selection of nautical charts perfectly adapted for pleasure boating. They provide boaters with exactly the same information as conventional charts and are updated at regular intervals. Picksea has a selection of the top 20 best selling and most popular L SHOM navigation charts used by boaters as well as the charts dedicated to the SHOM dedicated to exams pleasure Craft (Offshore licence) or merchant marine. The SHOM also offers a number of "flat" charts that can be delivered rolled.


NV-Charts is a German publisher who has designed and developed a concept of chart packs combining the traditional paper form with modern electronics. The concept is to propose for a navigation area (for example "from Lorient to Noirmoutier" or "from Toulon to Menton") in the same pack the paper charts at different scales (from the map of the covered area to the detailed maps of the ports) and the same charts in electronic format that it is possible to use with the NVapp application, i.e. the navigation software of NV-Charts whose standard version (sufficient for yachting) is free and usable on any support (Windows, Android, MacOS or Iphone).


Picksea offers you a choice of nautical charts for the whole world thanks to its quality of Authorized Agent of SHOM. Find all the charts at different scales for the areas of English Channel, the North Brittany and South Brittanyand atlantic coast, the Mediterranean or the overseas areas.

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Learn more about the navigation chart

A navigational chart is a graphical representation of a sea area or the coastal regions that border it. Depending on the scale of the chart, it shows the depths of water called "soundings" and the elevations of notable points on land. It also shows the nature of the seabed, details of the coastline, hazards to navigation (rocks, wrecks, sandbanks), the location of natural and artificial aids to navigation (maritime buoyage), information on tides and currents, local details of the earth's magnetic field and structures such as ports, buildings and bridges.

Learn more by reading our "How to read and use a nautical chart" tip page

Why is a nautical chart necessary on board?

A nautical chart is an essential tool for both professional and recreational navigation. Many countries require ships to be equipped with them. It is necessary because once out of the harbour, there is no defined and safe route to navigate: each skipper must determine his or her route, avoiding all dangers while taking into account the weather and tide information.

What type of charts can be used?

Nautical charts can be printed on paper or computerized electronic navigational charts. Under French boating regulations, it is mandatory to have at least one chart covering the area of navigation either on paper or electronically. In the latter case, the reading device allowing the use of the chart must be operational. It is also necessary to ensure that the charts are recent or that they have been properly and regularly updated