Visit my harbour is a website which has up to date free harbour charts and you can join for a small fee which gives lifetime access to coastal charts as well. I have found it to be excellent. It seems to slowly be extending and now has coverage down and into the Med. The charts can be printed out on A4 before making a passage which can save the boat owner a small fortune.
Using the members area charts of the coast can be viewed and printed (with print screen) very useful when planning a passage using older charts that may not show recent wind farm developments etc.
Harbour guides has charts similar to ‘visit my harbour’. I have not used it very much so can not really comment on it’s usefulness.
Open CPN is an open source chart plotting program. It is still being developed but works marvellously. It will work with all sorts of electronic charts. It is completely free and legal to use. I am using my laptop as a chart plotter with the GPS plugged into it. The charts we have are a very old set of electronic charts which were given to us, so along with ‘visit my harbour’ we have good coverage of the UK and West Europe coast.
There are a number of ‘add ons’ which it is also worth downloading and installing.
Gadwin Print Screen. Their freeware version makes the ‘PRTSC SYSRQ’ (print screen system required) button your keyboard work. This means that when you have opened a chart etc, you can simply press this button and the thing that you are looking at will be saved to a folder on your computer. This file can then be clicked and it will open in windows viewer and can be printed.
Open Office is a free program which works in a very similar manner to Microsoft Office. Like Open CPN it is continually being developed by people willing to give their time for free. It is totally legal to download and use. It will save your files in a number of formats which can even be as a Word document and are therefore compatible with most other programs.
This is not a down loadable program but it can be useful. It is the UK hydro graphic office tide program.
J Tides. A free tide program for the whole world.