As is the case with those shifting sandbars, not every hazard to navigation shows up on a chart. Before coming to a new inlet or harbor, plan ahead by acquiring a little local knowledge. In the 21st century, you can do this through a bit of Internet browsing, checking local boating forums, or even picking up the phone and calling a nearby harbor master. If you make the decision to explore new waters while already on the boat, hail the Coast Guard on VHF Channel 16, or check to see if your smartphone has a signal. You can acquire some local knowledge within minutes. Many inlets along the coast also now have webcams for live-action viewing of real-time conditions.