First N2000 nautical charts now available – all Finnish nautical charts to be renewed over the next few years
Finnish nautical charts will be renewed one area at a time over the next few years as the N2000 fairway and nautical chart reform starting from the Bay of Bothnia introduces new and more detailed nautical charts. The Finnish Transport and Communications Agency Traficom has now published the first N2000 nautical charts for the area between Tornio and Raahe. The reform includes the adoption of a new depth reference level for nautical charts. The up-to-date depth information will serve as the basis for future navigation methods and ensure the efficient utilisation of fairways.
"The N2000 fairway and nautical chart reform has taken many years of persistent work, the results of which are now becoming visible to users with the publication of the first N2000 nautical charts. Safe seafaring, the efficient utilisation of Finnish fairways and future navigation methods require that the users of nautical chart products and fairways have access to up-to-date and harmonised depth information,” says Deputy Director-General Jarkko Saarimäki.
The reform will renew Finnish nautical charts in stages over the course of approximately 5–6 years, starting from the Bay of Bothnia and proceeding south. Affecting commercial seafarers in particular, the reform will also concern recreational boaters.
The new N2000 nautical charts will be made available as both electronic navigational charts (ENCs) and printed nautical charts and can be identified by the marking BSCD (N2000). The next nautical charts to be published in early spring 2022 will cover the sea areas from Raahe to Kokkola. The first small craft chart folio (Chart Folio G, Bay of Bothnia) will also be published in the spring. You can follow the detailed progress of the reform via Traficom’s website.
A single harmonised reference level for depth information
The reform introduces a single harmonised vertical reference level for nautical charts and fairways, which is tied to the N2000 vertical coordinate reference system. In other words, the currently used reference level in sea areas, which is based on the theoretical mean sea level, will be replaced by a new reference level tied to the N2000 vertical coordinate reference system.
In the future, all Baltic Sea nautical charts will use the same reference level for depth information.
“The adoption of the new reference level will affect the depth and fairway information presented on nautical charts. Since the zero level of the N2000 system is below the current mean sea level (MSL), the change will reduce the depth values presented on nautical charts by an average of 10–20 cm. Correspondingly, the sea level values reported by the Finnish Meteorological Institute will increase by the same amount,” says Chief Adviser Jarmo Mäkinen.
Use the right sea level data with the right chart
In September 2021, the Finnish Meteorological Institute started presenting sea level observations and forecasts according to both the N2000 and the theoretical mean water height systems. Because of this, those navigating in sea areas are urged to make sure that they are using the right sea level data with the right chart.
“Since nautical charts using both the old and the new system will be used simultaneously during the transition period, it is important to always check the reference level of the chart being used and use the corresponding sea level values,” Mäkinen points out.
New channel depth instructions published – Sailing Directions for Finnish Waters complement nautical charts
As part of the reform, Traficom has published new channel depth instructions. The new instructions explain how channel depths are indicated in the new N2000 nautical charts. In the future, detailed fairway information will be presented in Traficom’s official nautical publications.
In December, Traficom published Sailing Directions for Finnish Waters, an entirely new nautical publication. The publication contains general information about maritime transport and navigation in Finland, aimed particularly at international operators, and channel descriptions for specific areas. The channel descriptions include depth and design data with general notes on the usage of the main approach channels.
Jarmo Mäkinen, Chief Adviser, firstname.lastname@example.org, tel. +358 29 534 6746
Stefan Engström, Senior Inspector, email@example.com, tel. +358 29 534 6724, Twitter: @stefuEng