The Chart Table

The chart table on a sailboat serves as a central hub for navigation and voyage planning

Here's a description of the chart table space and its functionalities:

Chart Plotting

The primary function is to spread out and examine nautical charts.

This allows sailors to plot their course, mark waypoints, and account for navigational hazards.

Navigation Instruments

The chart table houses various navigation instruments, such as a compass, dividers, parallel rulers, and a navigation log.

These tools aid in determining the boat's position, heading, and course.


Many modern sailboats are equipped with electronic navigation tools like GPS, chartplotters, and radar displays.

The chart table often provides a space to mount and operate these devices.


There are usually drawers and compartments for storing:

  • navigation tools
  • stationer
  • binoculars
  • other essential items

Keeping everything organized is crucial for efficient navigation.


Adequate lighting is essential for reading charts and instruments, especially during nighttime navigation.

The chart table typically features a lamp or adjustable lighting to ensure visibility.


Some sailboats have a communication station integrated into the chart table area, including a VHF radio and space for a laptop or other communication devices.

Safety Equipment

Emergency equipment such as flares, first aid kits, and manuals may also find a place in the chart table area for quick access in case of need.

Useful Tips

  • Familiarize yourself with basic chart plotting techniques.
  • Keep the chart table organized to quickly locate necessary tools and resources.
  • Ensure that electronic navigation equipment is in good working condition and updated regularly.
  • Use the space for voyage planning, considering weather forecasts, tide charts, and potential anchorages.

By understanding and utilizing the chart table space effectively, novice sailors can enhance their navigational skills and contribute to a safer and more enjoyable sailing experience.