Coastal Explorer 2009 Review
During the 2008 sailing season we performed a field test of Coastal Explorer 2009. I was aboard s/v Sequoia, a highly equipped Outbound 44. My leg of the journey lasted from Astoria, OR to Anacortes, WA. Sequoia then continued on to Alaska.
The core features of Coastal Explorer remain in-tact so I will not attempt to re-review them here. If you are new to Coastal Explorer, you may find some value in taking a look at the Coastal Explorer 1.1 review if you would like some additional background.
Among what I believe are the most compelling new features in CE 2009 include:
- Automatic chart updates
- Integration with Worldwide Chart Distributors
- Integrated blogging and information sharing features
- Graphical and textual weather overlays and notices
- Support for radars
- The new cruise mode interface
Automatic Chart Updates
If you’ve ever tried to update free US charts from the NOAA site, you will appreciate this feature that allows you to select a region and update all charts for the region direct from Rose Point Navigation Systems. A couple of clicks vs. the old method of hours of effort and frustration.
After the initial chart region selection, it just takes a single click to update the charts on your computer (while connected to the internet).
Integration with Worldwide Chart Distributors
One of the questions we get all of the time is ‘Where do I get charts for international waters that work with Coastal Explorer?’. With the release of CE 2009 the answer is much easier:
The quote from Rose Point best describes the benefits of the new integration with Chart World -
“Coastal Explorer 2009 now has support for world-wide vector charts in the S-63 format. This includes official charts from hydrographic agencies around the world as well as the Navionics S-57/S-63 charts available from http://www.ChartWorld.com.”
The installation process is more involved the the free updates for US waters. A guide that gives a full explanation of the process for purchasing and installing international charts is available here –
Integrated Blogging and Information Sharing Features
Most of us have used paper guide books for local knowledge of things like where the sandbar is at low tide, or where the best micro-brew is within walking distance of the marina.
What if you could have this local knowledge available to everyone in near real-time. For example: I discover something about an approach to a harbor that may be valuable to others, write about it and have it almost instantly available to all other users in the community.
This sums up what Rose Point has done with the Coastal Explorer Network and information sharing features. Think of it like a traditional local guide book, only updated continually, automatically and by other boaters just like you.
Another part of the Coastal Explorer Network allows you to publish a blog and update it with ‘Ship’s Log’ information directly from Coastal Explorer. If you are interested in a blog to chronicle your voyages, this feature could allow you to save a lot of time in publishing updates for family and friends so that they may keep track of your latest adventures.
Graphical and Textual Weather Overlays and Notices
The textual weather display is a big improvement over version 1.1 with the addition of one simple feature. The area for which the weather is downloaded is highlighted on the chart. This makes it very simple to pull a weather statement for any region on the chart and quickly understand which region the forecast applies. The graphical weather appears unchanged from version 1.1
Coastal Explorer now provides support for thier own line of radars (manufactured by Koden). You may also using an existing Nobeltec radar with CE 2009 as they are also manufactured by Koden.
I will not go into the benefits of radar in particular as I believe this is an area that is well understood by most everyone. What I will say is that having radar available in CE 2009 along with the ability to track AIS targets gives robust visibility and situational awareness that just wasn’t an available option a few short years ago.
During the leg of our voyage from Port Angeles, WA to Anacortes, WA we encountered the conditions where this combination of Radar and AIS is most beneficial – Constricted, heavily trafficked with low visibility
New Cruise Mode Interface
I saved the best for last. While all the new features above extend the capabilities of Coastal Explorer, What was the most compelling about Coastal Explorer in version 1 is even more true and compelling in Coastal Explorer 2009 -
Coastal Explorer already had the easiest to use interface. With the Coastal Explorer 2009 release, enhanced cruise mode and new features, Rose Point has distanced themselves from others by orders of magnitude, creating a whole new level (for others to aspire to).
This sounds like an appropriate place to conclude the review. As always, I appreciate your feedback and would like to hear your own experiences with Coastal Explorer. Please email or call if you would like to discuss Coastal Explorer or other related marine navigation topics.