Standing Order Services (SOS)

new editions on time, every time

Good seamanship calls for up-to-date charts. Pilothouse S-O-S helps you bring the ordering of new editions under strict management control, with no editions missed and no unneeded charts ordered. Tell us which charts and books you want kept up-to-date, and every month we will send the new editions that become available -- without fail. 

Why are current editions important? 

Just as you replace dirty filters, leaky fire extinguishers, and worn-out towlines, it is good seamanship to replace obsolete charts. 

"The mariner bears the responsibility for ensuring that charts are the current edition. The very fact that a new edition has been prepared indicates that there have been changes that cannot adequately be shown by hand corrections." (Bowditch, article 349).

"An old edition of a chart, or an uncorrected chart, is not safe to use." (Dutton, article 519).

Good impressions.

A good well-documented chart management program makes a good impression on people who are important to you. Your customers, the Coast Guard, your insurance company, your vetting organization, your classification society and trade association will be favorably impressed by your Master Lists and other documentation that show you are serious about chart maintenance.

Keeping up with regulations.

Charts have always shown not only visible, physical things like shoals, buoys and landmarks, but more and more they also show regulatory information -- traffic lanes, anchorages, security zones, restricted or prohibited areas, etc. Just look at the amount of magenta ink on a recent chart. 

With an obsolete chart you could violate an important rule without knowing it.

Up-to-date charts -- it's the law!

As a result of the Sunset Limited and other accidents the Coast Guard mandates current-edition and/or currently corrected charts and navigational books for most commercial vessels, including Uninspected Towing Vessels (CFR33 part 164).

The old way to obtain current chart editions is wait for the Notices to Mariners, compare each Notice to on-board inventory, write up a requisition, and then wait out the lengthy approval process, and finally the writing and transmission of a purchase order. 

Pilothouse S-O-S -- the easy way

With S-O-S you need to give us a chart number only when you first enroll in the service, when you add a vessel, or when you change a route. From that point on, we will watch the Notices and other sources for you. When a new edition is printed, we'll include it in your next monthly mailing.

S-O-S -- it isn't just for charts.

Reference books that are re-issued periodically can be put on your Master Lists. Light Lists, Coast Pilots, Sailing Directions, Tide and Current Tables, CFRs, Almanacs, IMO publications, Summaries of Corrections -- we'll watch all of these for you. 

Special instructions carefully followed.

Do you want us to phone, fax, or e-mail before every mailing? Tell us! Do you want us to use a blanket purchase order number? Tell us! Do you want us to mail to a different address each month? Tell us! 

We enter special notes and instructions into each vessel's individual record. Our software prints out these instructions on each month's Packing List, and yes, we do read the Packing Lists!

Every package tracked.

Whether it goes by UPS, Priority, FedEx, DHL, or any other method you specify, each package we send has a unique bar code printed on the mailing label, which the carrier scans at delivery. We track each package to make sure it is delivered.

Consolidated Billing reduces your paperwork.

Whether you run one vessel or a hundred, you receive onesingle S-O-S monthly fleet invoice, with a single line item for every vessel. Each line is backed up by a detailed packing list, with full descriptions of every chart and book sent.

Quantity discounts.

Every Consolidated Invoice over a hundred dollars is discounted fifteen percent, regardless of the size of individual vessel packing lists. S-O-S not only saves you work and time, it saves you money. 

Management Reports.

A useful byproduct of keeping your chart inventories in our database is the ability to produce reports that help you analyze and review your charts and publications choices. The Master List is the basic document that spells out wshich charts and pubs are to be maintained We recommend having a copy in youe shore office and on board your vessel. To see an example, click here. 

The Fleet Master List  gives you the total fleetwide number of each item that you have on standing order. The Vessel Cross-Check Report presents all of the individual Vessel Master Lists side-by-side, for easy comparison. In addition, it lists all of the charts in your area of operation, those you have and those you do not have, to highlight any charts missing from your lists.

When you consider turning over management of your chart inventories to an outside service, you want to make sure that the service is reliable, that the fees are reasonable, and that the contract is one you can live with. Please read on.

The Standing Order Service contract. 

We have no contract for you to sign. We have never found one to be necessary. You come into the service whenever you are ready, and you stay in it only as long as it meets your needs. There is no minimum term, and there is no commitment.

Standing Order Service fees.

We do not charge a service fee. We simply charge standard or discounted prices for our charts and books. The economies of predictable demand and efficient batch ordering pay for the additional paperwork of running a subscription service.

Pilothouse experience and reputation.

We have been in the chart business since 1987, and have offered our S-O-S service during most of those years. Our customers are the best source of information about our service, and we are always pleased to provide you with references. Don't ask us, ask them!