Tuesday, May 31, 2005

San Francisco Chart Preparation

Originally posted 2206 03 Apr:

Lubber's Line has an interesting post up on his thoughts of the chart preparation issue relating to the San Francisco grounding. While I'm sure I don't have much more information than he does, if I had to guess where the charges of "inadequate chart preparation" came from, I'd say that the Navy might be saying that the San Fran didn't use the "most useful" chart available. When planning a voyage, there are actually several charts one can choose from, depending on the area of the world you're transiting; obviously, there will be more available for places like the Mediterranean than other areas.

Choosing which chart to use as your primary planning chart is really more of an art than a science; the Navy doesn't come out and tell you which chart to use. Some charts have lines connecting areas of like depth (isobath lines) while others may have more detailed information on unexploded ordnance, shipwrecks, and the now infamous "discolored water". I know from experience that it's sometimes hard to tell which chart to use; it usually doesn't matter, but in this case it may have. Of course, in retrospect I suppose investigators could decide which chart was better for one given situation, but come on... does choosing the "wrong" chart, which was revealed as wrong only with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight, really rise to the level of a punishable offense?

Update 0958 12 Apr: Lubber's Line has a follow-up post.


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