The links in this post have been repaired. I saw fit to re-post this so it can be of use.
I’m going to describe a couple of publication correction methods that I employ. I believe these methods will save you and your Mates time when it comes to keeping things up to date and offer it up to those of you who wish to comment. First I should emphasize that this alternative method may or may not meet the needs of your situation. Check with your Port Captain or Compliance Office to be certain that these methods meet the intent of any company policy or vendor preference. Here is a link for the Policy letter issued by the USCG allowing the use of electronic copies and archives of commonly carried nav-pubs. You’ll need to have reliable internet access for this method to work well.
The NtM corrections to the US Coast Pilots and the Light Lists are the most tedious and time consuming chores the mate must accomplish in the course of his day-to-day duties. I’ve always seen it as a huge effort for a frequently redundant and limited application/resource, resources that aren’t utilized enough in my day-to-day operations to require so much attention.
The traditional method for correcting the Coast Pilot has always been recognized as a poor solution for those of us not equipped with self-updating software and E.C.D.I.S. systems,
“Cut and Paste” is the name of the game and each Coast Pilot becomes a confetti farm after only a few cycles of the Notice to Mariners weekly editions.
It always begins with a pile of freshly issued hard copies of the Notice to Mariners, a pair of scissors, two rolls of cellophane tape, a pot of coffee, and most of the afternoon watch to bring your catalog of Coast Pilots up to date. As time goes by with each edition nearing the end of its service life, one windy day is all it takes to blow half of your corrections all over the pilothouse the moment you open the damn thing and all your work is literally “in the wind”.
Then as if that wasn’t enough, this was followed by a marathon session of correcting the many volumes of the Light List at hand using a perfectly medieval method involving perhaps a magnifying glass and the ability to print in miniature like a Gregorian monk rewriting Ted Kaczynski’s Unabomber manifesto. It could quite possibly drive a man insane, especially after completing about 10,000 corrections just in time to receive the next newest NtM with 10,000 more.
When you think about it, the corrections to the Light List are really a list of completed work orders for the gang working Aids to Navigation in the USCG. Every time they move an aid, paint a buoy, or reset a range light it generates a correction. I mean I do get it, but ladies and gentlemen, these folks are really busy.
First, how do we deal with this cut and paste thing?
The Coast Pilot corrections using this new method are easy. The NtM has been available online for many years and anyone with a laptop and internet access can download and save a couple of years worth of NtM’s without taking up more than a gigabyte on their hard-drive. This ability to archive the NtM is a huge improvement over the old method of keeping the butchered hard copies somewhere aboard to show they’ve been utilized. With this method you’ll never need to print out Coast Pilot corrections.
Now that an archive has been created, the Coast Pilot can be updated using a ballpoint pen and about 25 minutes of your time. Turning to the pages in the NtM that list the corrections to the CP, note the volume, edition and change number.
1. Open the Coast Pilot, enter the change number as always; Change#, NtM#, your initials, and the date the change is being entered.
2. Next find the page and paragraph of the correction listed in the NtM.
3. In the left margin of the cited paragraph, write the NtM # in ink and repeat this practice for every correction available for the CP. For example, you’re using NtM 25/09, the note in the margin should read “25/09“, that’s it. Also, remember that a NtM may contain numerous “change numbers”, be sure to enter these properly as you correct each CP.
4. Now close the book.
Since you’ve changed how you correct this book, you must change the method in which this book is used. Now the archive you’ve created must be maintained for as long as the edition is valid.
If you find yourself referring to the CP for information and come across a notation you’ve made in the left margin you know to refer to the NtM archive and must seek out and read that particular NtM (25/09) for the applicable update for that specific paragraph. As you’re doing that you’ll note a definite lack of confetti present, no matter the age of the book.
The Light List ( the list that never ends) is even easier.
The Light List does not lend itself to correction easily using the old Gregorian method.
It’s wickedly tedious , but the method to update this publication needn’t be so overwhelming.
The NtM is not the publication of choice for me for correcting the Light List. What ‘s that you say? Well, the USCG publishes a cumulative summary of corrections for each volume of the LL. Basically, every correction for Volume 1 of the Light List is compiled into a regularly updated archive available for download and saving just like the NtM, but each archive is dedicated to its respective volume. From the date the volume is published to the most recent NtM, each volume’s corrections are compiled as they appeared in each NtM.
So, I can go to the NavCen website and download all of Light List Volume 1 corrections and save it each month as I can for every volume of the Light List offered by the National Ocean Service and USCG. The archive found on the update page always carries the same name for each volume number unlike the Ntm which necessarily increases (01/09 to 52-/09) as the weeks go by. Volume 1′s summary will always be named V1D01.pdf. When you download the newest archive it will prompt your browser to ask if you wish to overwrite the old file and of course you will select yes. You now have the latest correction summary for Light List 1 since it was published.
1. At this point, you only need to make one mark in the Light List and that is to note the NtM# that your archive is current with in the record of change in the front of the book and after you’ve done that, you can close the book.
Now we dip our toes into the 21st century;
2. If you find yourself referring to the LL, the same method as always is used to identify any aid, by its LL#. Once you locate the aid you want, (or the place where it should be listed), the original “date of publish” info is all you have. How do you know the information is current if there aren’t any physical corrections in the book?
The summary of correction archive contains a copy of every Vol1 correction page printed in the NtM since the Vol. 1 publish date from low to high. In the case of LL1, from 51/08 at the bottom of the list to 25/09 at the top. It should be noted that there may be multiple corrections for your query, check the entire summary for the aid in question.
3. Once the aid in question has been found in the LL, the archive is scanned from the bottom to the top of the list for the same LL#.
3a. If you don’t find the LL# for the aid your looking at, the book is the latest information available for that aid.
3b. If you do find the LL#in the archive, you’ll need to scan the entire summary for any other incidence of that number. If you have found the LL# of your aid in the summary, that information will be the most current and correct. You need to remember as well that new sub-sets may have added, so a scan above and below the specific aid’s LL# you’re referencing is in order.
So, instead of spending hours of your life writing corrections into this publication, you’ve spent five minutes scanning an archive to find what you need.
Take a look at this method, if you would like to discuss it further, drop me a line.
Light List Summary Links;