Nautical documents on electronic media [Update]

(Article original 27 June 2018)

Since the publication of the division D240 replaced, applicable from 6 May 2019 (see my previous article), It is now official that the mandatory nautical documents can be embedded in digital form.

[Update on 24/08/2020]

2.03.7 A way to know the tide times and coefficients of the day and of the area considered. This document is not required in the Mediterranean.

2.04.7 The International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (COLREGS), or a summary text and graphics, possibly in the form of adhesive liflets, or on electronic media and its reading device.

2.04.8 A document describing the marking system of the attended area , possibly in the form of adhesive liflets, or on electronic media and its reading device.

2.05.5 The lights book updated or available on electronic media and its reading device.

Most of them available now in free download, this allows substantial saving space and weight in the library of board, and also savings ! So here is a quick inventory of the french official and private documents, available in PDF format, can be saved in the library Apple Books for iPhone and iPad (and also on Android).

Documentation and books

The app Apple Books allows you to create personalized workbooks to store the documents you want to import.

SHOM's works, Meteo France, and other essentials in my "Navigation" collection

• Books available on the website of the SHOM

SHOM opened partially to’Open Data'. The catalogue of digital products allows to download a number of books in PDF format, which can then be opened in Apple Books. Some are free, others to pay. You just need to create an account.

• Public documentation

On website Legifrance can download the full PDF of the Division D240 published in the Official Journal (JORF).

• Books available from Météo-France

Météo-France opens public access to its documentary portal. You can download for free many high quality documents about Meteorology in PDF format. To you to browse through the many entries Site, rare gems are there flushes.

The Guide Marine Annual Météo-France. All means to get weather forecasts at sea, devices, frequencies, essential, As much as the VHF has become compulsory in navigation from 6 MN of a shelter (1st January 2017).


• Tides Table

The inevitable maré for continuously forecasts SHOM for France with a particularly neat interface offers many options (threshold settings, draft, notifications, aso.). Free daily data, annual progressive subscriptions.

Ayetides (iPhone) / Ayetides XL (iPad ) for those who need predictions from tides anywhere in the world, more than 12.500 stations, whose 160 French stations, valid until 2030. Updating the station database is frequent and completely free.



14 Replies to “Nautical documents in electronic format [Update]”

  1. Only problem for digital data to be viewed online : have an internet connection or 3-4g . What is not acquired in many parts of the world . In the Caribbean, hunting for wifi spots that are accessible and not exhausted by too many connections is an almost daily obligation

  2. Thank you Francis for this relevant information and very useful addresses which must have escaped many browsers., me the first.

    Centurion 40 Arawak

  3. Hello Francis
    I am new to your mailing list and am very happy and satisfied with what, for nautical instructions, is there an update to do?, and if so which ours are from 2005 but it is true that we sail in Greece and this has never been asked of us.
    Thank you for your reply

    1. The latest versions of the Nautical Instructions date from 2010 (INC2A,C2B, D3). But if you have the Marine Block in your area, it is perfectly tolerated.

  4. C’est bon je viens de réussir à installer « signalisation maritime 3C », can you give me links where I can download the other PDF, STP ?
    Thank you in advance

    1. The main link is in the article ! Il suffit de cliquer sur les rubriques « Ouvrages généraux » puis le lien “Tout voir“. Faudrait faire un effort 😉

    2. Sorry I am not back edit my comment but in fact I had found. Thanks again for what you do.
      However it's really good that they accept the nautical documents in digital version it takes up less space.
      Good Sunday

  5. Very interesting and useful (comme d’habitude en fait 😉 ) , thank you.

    Didier Parez raises a good interesting question that interests me also.

    Regarding this article from 31/12/14, I will bring a small nuance …
    Francis tell us that there are 3 types of documents : the mandatory, must haves, the useful.
    For my part I will say that there is 4 (and not 3) :
    – the useful
    – must haves
    les « obligatoires au format numériques mais pas nécessaire sur papier »
    les « obligatoires mais qu’il vaut mieux avoir sur papier car tôt ou tard l’électronique ça tombe en panne »

    Each will be its own ranking because I do not think that there is a universal truth.

    Take the example of GPS. Everyone uses it, It is widespread, inexpensive, and hyper-accurate. But the possible faults are :
    – instrument failure (decreasing probability according to the number of appliance giving coordinates GPS but which will not be zero)
    – failure of the batteries (OK, I confess it is excessive)
    – failure of what produces electricity (alternator, Solar Panel, …)
    – failure which transmits electricity to the batteries (Charger)
    – failure somewhere in the electrical circuit (cables, fuses)
    – disruption (volunteer) those who control the GPS satellites
    – provisional arrest (a few minutes to several weeks/months) on the side of the GPS satellites (We remember the war in Iraq)

    I certainly forget.

    For these reasons, the ephemeris + tables + Sextant should be mandatory on board for navigation than XXX MN. (I can assure you I did not and I do not even use it).

    What I point the finger it is not GPS but the principle of wearing his safety on electronics which may not be reliable 100%.

    P.S. : I am of the generation 80, I've always been bathed in what is internet-computers-electronics (everywhere, All the time) … but I wonder more and more.

  6. Hello Francis
    That is the duty of a logbook (Maritime Affairs, insurance) ? If it is still required, an electronic edition is authorized ? Can the trace of our road on a card reader be considered a logbook ? What are the mandatory minimum data to be (location, heading, speed, wind…). I confess to not stick on board, but I got back straps by boat from the Polynesia customs (2 days before it snaps to the full on the Tuamotu, the boat of customs not mine !).
    Know you a simple logbook for iPad to use ?
    Even on the other side of the planet in New Zealand your tips are valuable.
    Didier (See you later Alligator)

    1. Hi Didier, beautiful summer in NZ ?
      A logbook is always mandatory, It is the unique document demonstrating if fortune sea. It will be always required by the maritime authorities. I have unfortunately not yet found satisfactory electronic logbook. Most are US-oriented boating logbooks. The ideal would be a navigation application that generates the data in a logbook in which there would be more than to enter comments. This has been implemented in NavPlay, but this app has many flaws that make unusable (bugs, Carto exclusive C - Map, chaotic development). But this idea is in gestation in my knowledge some developer. Wait and see…

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