Monday, April 29, 2013

Planning a Northwest Passage - Great source references and documents - urls below

Are you thinking about a Northwest Passage voyage?

Here are many good url links to important notices, directions and pilotage guides - don't leave home without them - I'd suggest printing out specific info and keeping them in an indexed/tabbed notebook binder for easy referencing underway - never trust your computer to stay up and running.

I.) National Geospatial Intelligence Agency

Nautical Publications Page (see NGIA sidebar - note pull-down menu at top to select specific items)

1a. Atlas of Pilot Charts - Pub. 106
Atlas of Pilot Charts North Atlantic Ocean (including Gulf of Mexico), 2002

1b. Atlas of Pilot Charts - Pub. 108
Atlas of Pilot Charts North Pacific Ocean

2. International Code of Signals
3. NGA List of Lights
The List of Lights, Radio Aids and Fog Signals is published in seven volumes, as Publication numbers 110 through 116.

Pub. 110 - Atlantic - Greenland (and more - see map above)

Pub. 111 - Pacific - Alaska (and more - see map above)
4. Pub 117 - Radio Navigational Aids
Pub. 117 publication contains a detailed list of selected worldwide radio stations that provide services to the navigator.
5. Sailing Direction Enroute
Sailing Directions (Enroute) include detailed coastal and port approach information, supplementing the largest scale chart of the area. Each publication is subdivided into geographic regions, called sectors, which contain information about the coastal weather, currents, ice, dangers, features and ports, as well as a graphic key to the charts available for the area.

All Sailing Directions publications are updated via the Publication Data Update (PDU) process. For a Summary of Publication Data Updates, click here.

Visit the Publications Data Updates page for more details on applying PDU files. Watch the PDU Demo video tutorial on how to apply a PDU patch, or download a 5.49MB zipped version here.
Viewing/Downloading files

These are general instructions for downloading and viewing .pdf files:
Locate the publication section you wish to download.
Right click on the link.
Select "Save Link As" (Navigator) OR "Save Target As" (Explorer).
Specify where to save the publication on disk.
Click on "Save".
Open Adobe Acrobat Reader.
Click on "File -- Open" to view the file.
Click on "File -- Print" to print the file

Pub. 181 - Greenland and Iceland (Enroute), 11th Ed 2010
5MB -
5MB PDF update -

Pub. 146 - Newfoundland, Labrador, and Hudson Bay (Enroute), 14th Ed 2012
12MB -
13MB PDF update -

6. Sailing Directions Planning Guide
Pub. 180 - Arctic Ocean (Planning Guide), 9th Ed 2011
5MB -
5MB PDF Update -

7. USCG Light List
Each volume corresponds to a different regional area and contains more complete information on each aid to navigation than can be conveniently shown on charts. This publication and the data contained within it is maintained and published by the USCG.

USCG Light List - Volume VI
Pacific Coast and Pacific Islands
6MB -

8. World Port Index
Pub 150 contains the location and physical characteristics of, and the facilities and services offered by major ports and terminals world-wide (approximately 3700 entries), in a tabular format. Entries are organized geographically, in accordance with the diagrams located in the front of the publication.
4MB PDF updated -

II.) US Notice to Mariners
The US Notice to Mariners provides timely marine safety information for the correction of all US Government navigation charts and publications from a wide variety of sources, both foreign and domestic. To ensure the safety of life at sea, the information published in the Notice to Mariners is designed to provide for the correction of unclassified nautical charts, the unclassified NGA/DLIS Catalog of Hydrographic Products, United States Coast Pilots, NGA List of Lights, USCG Light Lists, and other related nautical publications produced by NGA, NOS and the USCG.

The US Notice to Mariners corrects NGA and NOS charts using information collected from many sources, among them the Local Notice to Mariners published by the nine US Coast Guard Districts. The US Notice to Mariners will contain only those chart corrections of interest to ocean-going vessels.



District 17 - ALASKA -
District 13 - Oregon, Washington -

III.) RCC Pilotage Foundation

The Pilotage Foundation has offered limited pilotage advice for yachts sailing in Arctic Waters for some years. Faroes Iceland and Greenland now in its 3rd edition, was introduced in 1995, while Norway, which followed in 2007, includes chapters on Svalbard and Jan Mayen as well as the Norwegian coastline north of the Arctic Circle. More yachts are tending to explore further north from the Atlantic and Pacific regions than hitherto. This publication seeks to consider the implications for yachts heading north into the Arctic oceans from the Pacific and the Atlantic. It has only been possible due to the considerable in depth advice offered by highly respected yachtsmen with considerable first hand experience of independent passage making in remote areas where ice is generally an ever present threat. The Pilotage Foundation is indebted to Jane Russell (a circumnavigator and also author of our book Atlantic Crossing Guide) who has consulted widely and in depth to present this publication. Those who have contributed so willingly are recorded below and I warmly thank them all for their contributions and in being prepared to share their experiences with a wider public. This is not a pilot book and it is not our intention to entice skippers north who are not fully mentally and physically prepared for the task – though we hope that some armchair sailors will gain some insight into the conditions faced by those who are drawn to northern waters. Planning and timing are essential facets of arctic sailing and we hope this document will help with preparations. All should note the Caution for yachts sailing in the Arctic, as shown below. 
 - Martin Walker Hon Director RCC Pilotage Foundation March 2011

Questions? - I can help!

Standing by while cruising in a tropical 'paradise'...


BTW - Pay particular attention to voyaging through the Bering Sea, Aleutian Islands and Gulf of Alaska - very severe storm weather unlike anything you may have ever experienced will be crossing this region... I'll provide in the near future a Blog page with weather links to help you know of advancing weather.  

Best advise - make good early progress through the Arctic so you cross this geographical region as soon as possible - early September - passing in the late Fall - late September or October - will likely prove harder on you, your crew and vessel than anything to date - you have been warned! Prudent mariners will take this advise to heart!


The information provided in this guide should be used together with all other relevant information, as required by law, standards and good seamanship practices.

User selected map display: Hamlets, weather zones and ice zones


The Arctic Voyage Planning Guide (AVPG) is intended as a strategic planning tool for national and international vessels traveling in the Canadian Arctic. It draws together regulatory information pursuant to the Canada Shipping Act, 2001 and the Charts and Nautical Publications Regulations, 1995 as well as complementary data and information from Canadian federal departments with mandates to support safe navigation. The intent of the AVPG is to provide a comprehensive digital planning tool for mariners considering an Arctic voyage.

The mariners remain responsible for navigational decisions and safety of their ships. The information provided in this guide should be used together with all other relevant information, as required by law, standards and good seamanship practices.

The AVPG is not intended to replace official carriage information or products provided from Canadian sources. This AVPG digital version will be maintained with Notices to Mariners as needed but in case of disparity, the information contained in official publications will prevail.

Layers and Data

This map is composed from the following services. Availability of layers and data is constrained to the supported interfaces available. Please refer to our Web Map Services page to learn more on how to use the supported interfaces.

Maps -
Applications -
Resources -

Carriage Requirements (Links at :

Nautical Charts
Sailing Directions
Tide and Current Tables
List of Lights, Buoys and Fog Signals
Radio Aids to Marine Navigation (RAMN)
Ice Navigation in Canadian Waters
Annual Notice to Mariners (NOTMAR)
Notice to Shipping (NOTSHIP)

Legislation and Regulations (Links at :

Acts and Regulations
Northern Canada Vessel Traffic Service Zone (NORDREG)
Arctic Shipping Pollution Prevention Regulations
IMO Guidelines for Ships Operating in Polar Waters

Service Name - Arctic_Voyage_Planning_Guide_ENG

For help regarding this webpage, please contact

Thank you!

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