Royal Navy Survey Ship HMS Scott Passing the Statue of Liberty




HMS Scott entered service in June 1997.

The British first began hydrographic or marine cartography surveys in 1683. In the modern era, this work includes key information required by mariners including soundings, that is depth of water, shorelines, tides, currents, sea floor and submerged obstructions. (photo and information from

For several centuries, with the worldwide dominance of the British Royal Navy, many areas of oceans and shorelines and underwater obstacles were charted for the first time. In some very out of the way places, the only charts available to civilians are old Royal Navy charts.

In the US, maritime cartography and related hydrographic research for civilian use are carried out by the various agencies of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.






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Charles McCain

Charles McCain is a Washington DC based freelance journalist and novelist. He is the author of "An Honorable German," a World War Two naval epic. You can read more of his work on his website: