NOAA Ocean Service Education banner

Did You Know?

Nautical charts help prevent ship wrecking at sea!

What is a Shipwreck?

A shipwreck is when a ship or boat sinks to the sea floor. Some shipwrecks occur on dangerous rocks.

Safety Seagull Says...

Use a nautical chart to sail safely.

Ships can sink from:

  • strong storms
  • big waves
  • hitting rocks at sea
  • crashing into sunken ships

safety seagull


Why Do Boats and Ships Wreck?

A ship captain uses a chart to know the ship's location at sea. Without a chart, a ship can get lost or hit dangerous objects.

Sometimes a storm comes up when the ship is anchored for the night and blows the ship off the anchorage and into dangerous rocks.  Good captains look for safe anchorage sites on their nautical charts!

It is illegal for a ship to travel without a nautical chart, but what if the ship loses power and they cannot see the chart?  It could drift off course and crash into rocks!


A view of the bow and railing of the RMS Titanic. Photo credit: Emory Kristof/National Geographic.

footer art