Start planning your next cruise now! It’s a great way to ‘escape’ the daily routine while getting organized for your next cruise. Following is a list of web sites that offer information or assistance for planning your next cruise.
- Where to go?
Cruiser’s Net and Active Captain provide interactive maps with information about anchorages, marinas, bridges, etc. Just zoom in and pan around to the area you are considering and see what lies between your dock and your next cruise.
- How to get there?
You can download electronic navigation charts and chart plotting software from the NOAA website. The raster charts (.BSB format) are identical to the paper charts that you probably have in your chart table. The NOAA website also offers links to software that you can download to view the navigation charts. Most of these software will allow you to see tidal data for when you plan to go, and create waypoints and routes for route planning.
Most of the software programs offer a limited time free trial period, but OpenCPN is free open-source software that has nearly all the tools the casual cruiser needs. You can create waypoints and connect them into a planned route and view tidal information.
Once your route is all mapped out, you can display and print out your entire route plan listing all waypoints, bearings, and esimated time of arrival based on whatever speeds you specify. Then take it to the boat, and be on your way. The following route plan shows 35.27 Nm from the Clearwater spider to the Long Boat Pass entrance, and should take 8 hours 49 minutes averaging 4 knots.
NOW GET PLANNING and GET OUT ON THE WATER!