They are accurate on the day the data is recorded and change due to man-made intervention and nature's effects. We should remember to look for those changes when using them.
To the left is a section of a topographic map. The markings and information given are for land use and not navigation on water. You can buy topographic maps from a number of retailers or on-line. Many residents in Maine use the DeLORME The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer as their quick choice. It is a series of topographic maps but detailed for driving, not navigating in the wild because there is no declination listed for each map. So while you can figure out a bearing on where you might like to hike from the different pages, you will have to work in True North. Then you will need to research to discover what the declination is for that map section to convert the bearing from True North to a Magnetic bearing. The state of Maine has declinations that range from 15 degrees 30 minutes West to 19 degrees 30 minutes West.
The Brunswick area page is to the right.
To the left is the Androscoggin River in Brunswick heading out into Merrymeeting Bay. This is tidal water. The tides at the launch on Water St. by the railroad bridge are greatly affected by the constant influx of water from above the falls, therefore they are not six hour fill and six hour ebb, but 4 hours fill and 8 hours ebb. By the time the river is in Merrymeeting Bay, the tides are more normal in duration.
Before heading out on any tidal water, a tide chart should be consulted. The nearest "standard city" is Portland, ME. If you don't know the tides, the pale green areas at low tide are mudflats and trying to launch through them or return through them can be frustrating. Sometimes, what would be a 1.5 mile paddle at high tide becomes a 7 mile paddle at low tide because "You can't get there from here" and have to reroute around an island.
This is a chartlet of part of the Brunswick - Bath - Harpswell paddling area showing both fresh and tidal salt water.
There are many launch points in the area. Please jump to the Alice's Awesome Adventures Launches within 30 miles of Brunswick webpage for descriptions of them.
These chartlets are for reference only. Use a complete up-to-date chart for navigation. If you don't know how to read these and plan a safe trip, take a workshop with Alice's Awesome Adventures, LLC.
"Without Alice's instruction I would have never understood how to use a chart and find my way. To think that I thought I could get home safely before. I would have been so lost in the fog." D.H.
The local NOAA chart for Casco Bay is 13290
The local NOAA chart for Bath to Boothbay Harbor is 13293