NOAA: Illegal copies of US Coast Pilot being offered for sale


The following is the text of a news release from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA):

(WASHINGTON) — NOAA has recently become aware that incomplete and otherwise inaccurate reproductions of the U.S. Coast Pilot are being offered for sale to consumers. Consumers need to be aware that such reproductions may not meet U.S. Coast Guard carriage requirements.

How do you know if your copy of the U.S. Coast Pilot is incomplete and therefore out of compliance with Coast Guard safety regulations?
Unofficial U.S. Coast Pilots are generally easy to identify, and have exhibited errors including:

• The entire content of the book (aside from the interior and exterior covers) is printed as a black and white document (the official copy has color images and text);
• Front and back cover images that do not correspond to the examples presented as thumbnails on the U.S. Coast Pilot website;
• Chapters missing from the table of contents (e.g., missing chapters 1 and 2, and starting at chapter 3);
• No index;
• Claims that the book is an exact reproduction of the current Coast Guard document (the U.S. Coast Pilot is a NOAA product and not a U.S. Coast Guard document); and
• Directions to download a free phone app to access information not included in the book.

Where do you get official copies of the United States Coast Pilot?

• Purchase official publications from a printer certified by NOAA. These agents meet stringent print quality standards that meet federal requirements for vessels required to carry navigational publications “published by the National Ocean Service.” (Official publications carry the NOAA certification of authenticity printed on the back cover of the book.)
• Digital versions of the updated U.S. Coast Pilot are also available as PDFs for free download from the Coast Pilot website (


In April 2016, a U.S. Coast Guard vessel inspector informed NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey that, during a fishing vessel safety inspection, he discovered a printed version of the U.S. Coast Pilot Volume 5 that was missing over 300 pages of text. The volume was missing four chapters: Chapter 1, General Information; Chapter 2, Navigation Regulations; Chapter 13, Puerto Rico; and Chapter 14, Virgin Islands. The inspector would not accept the book as compliant with safety regulations.

NOAA is currently working to address any issues of improper trademark reproduction that may be associated with these unofficial reproductions of the U.S. Coast Pilot.

By Professional Mariner Staff