Paper charts

Paper charts

Paper charts of the BSH

The BSH produces printed nautical charts for the territory covered by the German Traffic Regulations for Navigable Maritime Waterways. This includes rivers, the territorial sea and the German Exclusive Economic Zone, including in some cases bordering areas of neighbouring countries.

Paper charts depict, among other things, the sea routes, coastlines, navigational aids, depth information, obstructions and prohibited areas in a certain sea area to enable safe navigation and planning for shipping.

The German nautical chart series is currently in a conversion phase. The original 66 large-format paper nautical charts of the German sea area with the respective plan charts and the remaining portfolio of small craft charts for the German and Polish Baltic Sea coast will be gradually withdrawn. They will be replaced by international nautical charts (INT charts) in DIN A0 format and by national charts in DIN A1 format. Here you will find further information on the conversion of the nautical chart series (only available in German).

Paper nautical charts can be obtained with the current revision status from booksellers (sources of supply).

Scale ranges

The international nautical chart series ensures the provision of a minimum quantity of charts for the navigational requirements of international shipping. For this purpose, INT nautical charts in DIN A0 format are designed in standardised scale ranges. The first new charts were published in 2018. In marine waters below 5 m, the INT nautical charts no longer contain depth figures. INT charts are produced bilingually.

The new national chart series covers the entire coastal area of the German North Sea and Baltic Sea. The complete series will eventually consist of approximately 100 charts.

The charts are available in defined scale ranges: 1: 12 500 (exception 1: 3 000 and 1: 6 000) for harbour charts, 1: 30 000 or 1: 50 000 for approach charts, 1: 150 000 for coastal charts and 1: 375 000 for the coastal overview.


Our international nautical chart series is part of the worldwide IHO nautical chart portfolio. Each chart is numbered twice with a chart number and an INT number. The chart number (see nautical product catalogue) is assigned by the BSH. The INT number is assigned by the IHO and is derived from the region and scale range. Both chart numbers are printed on the nautical charts.

The national nautical chart series is numbered with four-digit numbers according to the sea areas. Chart numbers starting with "1" are used for the North Sea, e.g. "1711". Numbers starting with "2" are used for the Baltic Sea: e.g. "2181".

International standards

All paper nautical charts of the BSH are created according to the international character key (map 1/INT 1). It is an integral part of the S-4 standard (Regulations of the IHO for international (INT) charts and chart specifications of the IHO). S-4 contains very detailed regulations and guidelines for all aspects of a nautical chart from development to production and distribution. Official nautical charts must meet the standards to ensure safe navigation in shipping and to comply with legal requirements.

Additional Information


Udo Cimutta
Arvid Elsner
+49 381 4563-954 +49 381 4563-957

Correction service

We offer a free correction service for BSH charts and books that are not mandatory shipping equipment.

Navigational Information

Product catalogue

Further information on nautical products such as ENCs, paper charts with current corrections or sea manuals can be found in the product catalogue.

Nautical Product Catalogue

History of nautical charts

Detail of nautical chart 49 "Mouths of the Jade, Weser and Elbe" from 1878

What are nautical charts? Since when do nautical charts exist? | What do the symbols and abbreviations mean?

The history of nautical charts