We at RBAW (Recreation Boating Association of Washington) appreciate all who may have responded to our call earlier this week for submittal of comments on NOAA’s “National Charting Plan” (see: https://www.nauticalcharts.noaa.gov/mcd/docs/NationalChartingPlan.pdf) , as some in the recreational boating community and our supporting chart-industry did read a section starting page 26 as implying that NOAA support for Raster (BSB) chart data might soon disappear…
Apparently there WAS a flurry of comments received from many sources, before June 1 deadline, as NOAA published very quickly, on 5/31/2017, this “clarification” that the move away from support of the “paper-chart” format style is long-range and will take decades — during which phase-out time, the BSB Raster-chart data WILL be fully supported… AND that NOAA is committed to make the newer ENC “Vector”-format charting products more “user-friendly”. (see: https://noaacoastsurvey.wordpress.com/2017/05/31/noaa-clarifies-national-charting-plan-vision-for-production-of-noaa-paper-charts-and-rncs/) – and note their comment: “the ENC vector chart is still relatively new and needs some improvement. We recognize that in many cases, the ENC is not as easy to use as its paper equivalent”
Further re-assurance comes from Ben Ellison in his 5/31 electronics blog Panbo, based on his direct communication with John Nyberg, Chief of the Marine Chart Division at NOAA : http://www.panbo.com/archives/2017/05/is_it_true_news_that_noaa_wants_to_stop_ making_noaa_charts.html
AND this post at BoatUS Foundation also quells anxieties: http://www.boatus.com/pressroom/release.asp?ID=1301#.WTGqeGgrKUm
Note that due to this intense interest shown at very end of their comments-gathering period, NOAA has extended comments on the “National Charting Plan” an extra month, until July 1 2017. This would be an excellent opportunity for all of us to forward our comments on how the newer Vector-chart products could be improved… (within the constraints of all the International rules this system must follow).