Journal of Ocean and Coastal Economics

Document Type

Research Article


Nautical charts are a fundamental tool of marine navigation. Critical information provides for safe and efficient use of our waterways and for protection of our marine environment. NOAA nautical charts developed by the Office of Coast Survey (OCS) are mandatory on commercial ships that carry America’s foreign commerce. NOAA’s charts are also used on every Navy and Coast Guard ship, fishing and passenger vessels, and are widely carried by recreational boaters. They directly support NOAA’s goal to “promote safe navigation” and the Department of Commerce’s goal of promoting U.S. competitiveness in the global marketplace. Data from the Physical Oceanographic Real-Time System (PORTS®) also provides real-time essential navigational information to promote safety and efficiency at the largest ports in the U.S. This study was based on evaluation of Allision, Collision and Grounding (ACG) occurrences per vessel transit in the presence of PORTS® installations and updates of five types of ENCs (overview, general, coastal, approach and harbor). At locations where PORTS® had been installed a significant portion of ACG variation was explained where at least one of each type of Electronic Nautical Chart (ENC) had also been released. As the number of ENC releases increased, ACG accident rates all declined. At locations were PORTS® had not been installed, instances where all ENC types had been updated (as well as harbor only ENCs) were found to be significant in explanations of reductions in groundings. Total annual benefits were estimated to exceed $29 million – equal to about $262 million over a ten-year period. Results of this study can assist in prioritizing locations and periodicity of future ENC updates as well as suggesting locations for additional PORTS® installations.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.