Whether your are a sailor or a fisherman, if you sail in the ocean (or great lakes) you need a nautical chart to navigate. Nautical charts are also good to examine coast area changes over time. The map collection has two major nautical chart series, domestic coastlines and foreign waters.
To locate chart #s you need to use chart catalogs:
Historic nautical & coastal charts (US area, mostly) are available online:
Historical Map & Chart Collection
The Office of Coast Survey's Historical Map & Chart Collection contains over 20,000 maps and charts from the late 1700s to present day.