Navigating Ocean City’s waters is boatloads of fun, but having a map handy and a keen sense of direction is always a good idea. There are many shifting sands surrounding Ocean City, and the depth of water will change from season-to-season and year-to-year. All boaters need to be aware of the depths of the waters their plying, and kayaks and paddleboards are no exception. Even though our hulls go much less deep in the water than a typical boat, we all need to be mindful of how deep the waters ahead of us are.

Nautical charts provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) are among the best sources for water depths in the area. Note that the numbers reflected here “Mean Higher Water”. This means that the depths reflected on the map are those that you would find at your average high tide. For example, if a depth on your nautical chart indicates one or two feet and you go paddling around low tide, there is a pretty good chance you’ll encounter land.

The links below will take you to nautical charts maintained by NOAA. DAKS Kayaks is currently developing its own maps to help you navigate Ocean City’s back bays. If you’re looking for a tour route, always feel free to reach out to DAKS staff for pointers and tips.

NOAA Online Chart Viewer

NOAA’s Official Nautical Chart: Large file (9MB)