Good source for paper sea kayaking charts?

I have the large format NOAA charts for trip planning but I’m looking for something smaller to use on the water. Anyone used the 8.5 x 11 BookletCharts? or been successful in using the NOAA Custom Chart Maker and printing over multiple pages? Any other sources for good charts online, preferably at a 1:25000 scale or similar.


Not a true chart, but I have a bunch of the ones for my area from Fish-n-Map. Made for fishermen, but show mist everything we need from the NOAA chart for a relatively large area and printed on waterproof paper for about $10 each. Pretty much only available for west coast areas.


I like the NOAA Custom Chart Maker. Pick the print size. Pick the scale. Pick the spot. I’ve been using Office Depot laminated prints. I can usually find a coupon. They have held up well for me. Just make sure the printer doesn’t stretch the image one way or the other to fit the paper. You can scale up or scale down altogether, but you can’t make it print wider but not taller, or taller but not wider, or the distances will be no good.
Office of Coast Survey (
General Use Charts > NOAA Custom Charts > Click the top left icon and you can then select a “Quick Start Guide” or “User Guide” to help you along.


I’m on the east coast but thank you! I will have to look for something similar over here, that’s a good idea.

I was exporting extents as ANSI C or D and then splitting into ANSI A using a tiling program but by the time I went through the PDF to PNG to split PDF the scaling was off slightly. I should just find a large format online printer like you mentioned, much simpler!

For onetime use, I find that free charts from NOAA or a mapping program put in a clear zip-lock freezer bag is sufficient. If you can get by with an 8.5x11" chart, laminators are cheap and available at office supply stores as well.

The clear zip-lock bag is a great idea! I do have a waterproof clear deck bag for maps and a compass but I really don’t like having anything on my deck if possible. The paper map is a backup in case of electronics failure so the smaller I can make the package to fit it my day hatch the better.

I use the Booklet Charts “if” they cover the area I want to paddle. If the paddle area overlaps a couple pages, I usually print off my own at Ofc Depot - they scanned in a chart so I have a file. Unfortunately it is now about 5 years old, soooooo I need to learn to use the Custom Chart tool to supplement the Booklet Charts. I get the 5 mil lamination done at Ofc Depot so I have multiple use of the charts.

@kayakhank @CapeFear When you guys are getting your maps printed externally have you had any issues with margins affecting scaling? I haven’t really used an external print service so maybe it’s a non-issue.

I’m concerned that if I export an ANSI-C sized extent and get it printed on ANSI-C paper that there will be margins and that will mean the image is either cropped or shrunk to fit.

Always a concern that we must watch out for when the crew at Ofc Depot prints them off. Occasionally I have to mark my own distance scale for rough, on deck estimates.

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I use fishing charts that are generally available at tackle shops in the area you want to paddle. Waterproof “Top Spot” fishing and recreational maps for the coastal areas of SC. they cost about $20, and they have the gulf from Texas around FL up to Virginia. Durable as i Have used some for 10 years now they ride under the bungees on the deck for navigating the marsh creeks and shallow bays.


I’ve recently got some NOAA customized charts printed (from the downloaded PDFS) in waterproof format. These were printed by Paradise Cay. They had great e-mail/text/phone support.

My only wish was that the NOAA app would always add a compass rose to every custom chart. On the [4] large-scale custom charts that I created from North of Thunder Bay to South of it (at Alpena, MI, Lake Huron, USA) only two had a partial rose and the other two had no roses.

I believe that the NOAA app is in a trial phase and NOAA seems very interested in creating an app that users like - as they solicit feedback whenever you use the app. They also sent me an invitation to a zoom-type open discussion meeting with the goal of improving the app. Sadly the meeting was at a time when I couldn’t attend :unamused:


Thank you for the printer reference!

I had a similar problem with the compass roses not showing up or being cropped out in some of the maps I made. In their changelog there was a note about improving compass rose placement so hopefully it is something they are continuing to tweak.