March 2023 Florida Marine Track Chip Update

a pelican sitting on a piling with the sun setting behind it

March 2023 Florida Marine Track Chip Update

Updates Completed in March


Chassahowitzka / Homosassa / Crystal River

We ran for about 75 miles from the springs at Crystal River through the Narrows, the Homosassa River, and also up the Chaz River. There were dozens of edits to PVC stakes and buoys which were either removed, added, or moved.

Unfortunately, we found a lot of missing colored stakes in the Narrows where they are really needed. We found a minor track change in the Chaz river and also a big telephone pole obstacle near the entrance in deep water at the surface.

Naples and Chokoloskee IAN Obstacles

A few IAN obstacles were added near the entrance to the Barron River and in a few other random places in the Choko and Naples areas. 1’ contours were added along the coast at Palm Beach and Broward counties extending the 1’ contours from the Miami-Dade coast.

Indian River Mills Ramp

The day markers at this ingress/egress point have been updated. Ian appears to have dumped a lot of sand inside the channel making much of it quite shallow. Some Bars between the Mills Ramp and Haulover Canal grew and were updated.

Ian also created a navigable pass through at the eastern portion of the canal from the canal into the lagoon. A black track was added there, and a couple of old posts were marked as dangerous and are now broken off at the surface, as shown in the photo.


Updates in Progress

We will be in the Keys and South Florida again for about 10 weeks from the middle of April through June mapping changes and chasing tarpon and permit from Marquesas to Biscayne Bay and 10,000 Islands.

If you will be in the Keys during this time and want to update your charts in person, contact us to coordinate.

A broken piling just sticking up past the surface of the water

Lost and Stolen Charts

Chips have been lost being removed from units for updates and moved to different units in a seemingly endless number of reported circumstances. It is not feasible for us to reimburse these losses given the number of customers we now support.

Some customers have expressed discontent with this policy and are unhappy we did not agree to make an exception for the particular circumstance that caused their loss. With the number of customers we are now supporting, we must treat all of our customers equally to avoid financial losses.

However, if you do lose your ISLA chip or it is stolen and you buy a replacement and then subsequently find or recover the lost or stolen chip and return it to us, we will credit you the difference between the cost you paid for the replacement and the amount paid for updates.

More than half of customers who report a lost chip eventually find it somewhere.


Chart Update Process and Policy

Explicit update instructions including the correct mailing address and mailing phone number and whatever else you might want to know about getting an update are provided at the ISLA website where you order the update.

The website has been updated so that it is not possible to order an update and check out without opening and seeing the instructions first. As noted, to update your charts, the ISLA map chip or chips must be returned to us.

We replace them with new chip(s), and we do not ship the updates out until we receive your existing chip(s). Charts are shipped back to you Monday through Friday, usually on the day we receive them. We recognize this update paradigm is not the most efficient. It is not our preference, but it is the only way it can occur with Navico’s existing technology.

If you order the update and do not ship your charts back nothing happens; we will keep your order on hold pending receipt of your current chip or chips. If you try to order an update and it is not accepting the order, it is because you did not check the box acknowledging having read the instructions or the order information is not fully filled out.

The new chart plotter units that Navico will be creating this year will be powered by a new operating system that will support remote updates totally avoiding all of this mailing back and forth. However, that will not be in place for at least a year. and it will not work on any of their current models or older units other than the already released Simrad NSX.

The NSX currently does not support remote updates, and it also does not support any third party charts. It will likely be close to a year before it does. We do not recommend anyone get an NSX unit at this time for these reasons and more.

All currently supported Lowrance or Simrad units will never be able to use remote chip updating because they are not using the new operating system and will not be able to be converted to it. This is NOT something we control. The unit manufacturer created this model years ago and is just now getting around to addressing it with a new operating system and remote updates for their “new” to-be-released units. We don’t like having to mail chips for updates any more than you do.

The chips are just tiny microchips. It is not necessary to mail it in a box with padding. Simply use the plastic case and adapter originally provided if you still have them and mail it in a small, padded envelope. You may also tape the chip to a piece of paper and fold it up and put it in an envelope.

Make sure the chip you are sending is an ISLA chip and that whatever you send is clearly identified with your contact info. If you send us CMAP chips or Navionics chips or others by accident, we do not keep track of them or return them given the volume we process.

If you send back the wrong chips believing they are ISLA charts, it will cause a delay. All ISLA charts are 32 GB chips, so if the chip you are sending back does not say 32 GB on it, it is NOT an ISLA chart.

If you are unsure which chip is which, you can take all of the chips out of the GPS and then put them back in one at a time. After each one loads, read the name of the chart loaded in the menu under “Chart Source.” For Florida Charts, if you don’t see FMT or ISLA Mapping as part of the name of your chart, that chip in there is NOT an ISLA chart.

It is recommended you load the chip you are returning into the unit to check Chart Source to 100% confirm you are sending back an ISLA chip. Over the years, we have received all kinds of chips for updates including those containing backed up waypoints and a host of other charts from different manufacturers.

We do look at the chips being sent back. If you send a chip that is not an ISLA chip looking for an update we will recognize if it is not ours. Some people lose their charts and send back a different chip as a substitute hoping it will not get noticed. Please do not let this be you. We do pay attention and look at the chips and the files on the chips as well to confirm they are ISLA chips.

With respect to the few customers that do not want to be without their ISLA chart even for a few days (during the update process) and want us to send the update before they return their existing chip, we charge for a new chip and deliver it and subsequently credit the difference between the new purchase and the update charge (if applicable) once the “old” chip has been received by us.

The credit back is made the day we receive the return. Given the current number of customers we now support, it is not financially feasible for us to process the credit return before receiving the original chip. We recognize most of our customers are honest and will return the chips as promised. However, hundreds, if not more, unfortunately will not, and we can no longer absorb these losses.

For those that have returned them in the past as promised, we understand this is disappointing. If you are in this group we hope you can appreciate that making exceptions for some and not for others creates an entirely different problem for us to manage.

With respect to the risk of loss during the mailing process, we assume the risk for the charts we mail to you, and we require you to assume the risk for your return. You may choose to insure your return if you wish for any amount you feel is appropriate.

Given the number of customers we are now supporting, we are not claiming any responsibility for lost or damaged packages being returned to us for updates. If your return chip is lost and never found, we do not insure the loss for you. However, if your chip is lost and subsequently found and returned to us, we will fully credit the return if a replacement was purchased.

ISLA Mapping