Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Advantages of Manual Marine Navigation Tools

Modern electronic marine navigation tools are easy to use and accurate but it is easy to become dependent on them however is important to learn how to use the manual tools as the electronic marine navigation tools may not be 100 % reliable.

All modern marine navigation tools depend on electricity, and are susceptible to shorting of current by seawater or lightning strikes. Even with the elaborate backup systems and rigorous insulation, there is a risk of water shorting out the electrical system. To prevent all the issues that, you can address while on board we recommended to learn how to use manual tools like chart, magnetic compass, pencil, rulers among other as there is little that affects their functionality.

Recognizing those tools will help you to be become a skilled human navigator able to sail professionally even though the marine navigation equipment on board fail. 

Manual Tools to Navigate 

Chart Table

A secure place to work on navigation is to have a permanent [ chart table] with a horizontal surface large enough for a chart to be laid out at one fold. A chart table should either have a lifting top with chart storage space underneath, or a drawer allowing the charts to be stored flat.

Some navigators prefer to stand at a chart table arranged fore and aft, but commonly chart tables are place athwartships with a seat. Shelf space for reference books and bulkhead for marine navigation instruments and communication equipment. a small compass mounted so that the navigator can keep an eye on course.

A flexible stalk-light is ideal for lighting the chart and allows the navigator to work on charts without disturbing sleeping crew or affecting the helmsman's night vision fitting it with a low-power red bulb which minimizes loss of night vision should be considered.

Parallel Rulers

The parallel ruler is used by the navigator to transfer a bearing from the chart's compass rose to the section of the chart which is being worked on. Depending on the design, the ruler is rolled or "walked" across the chart to the selected area where the replicated bearing is drawn indicating the course or the bearing of an object. choosing a parallel ruler, try out a range of both roller and walking designs at sea.

Log - LogBook

The elements of dead-reckoning are course and distance; the compass tells you the course steered, and a 'log' measures distance sailed. The common type of log is an electronic instrument that shows speed and distance run, much like the speedometer and milometer in a car.

For recording position, course, distance run, and other crucial information, a logbook is used. There is a requirement to keep one by maritime law, because it in the event of an incident at sea, it may have to be produced. Record key data at half-hourly or hourly when close to shore and less often when offshore. 


A plotter achieves the same result as a parallel ruler and easier to use on a small boat. Plotters are used in conjunction with the latitude and longitude grid lines marked on the chart, rather than using the compass rose.

Dividers are usually made of brass with steel tips and used to measure distances on the chart. Purchase a pair of dividers at least 15cm (6in) long as this gives a useful span. The [single-handed typ] with the bowed top is more manageable than the straight type, which requires two hands to open and close it.

Nautical Publications

Nautical Almanac - The principal reference book is a current copy of the nautical almanac covering the sailing area which provides tidal information, harbor plans and details.

Pencils - The use of soft pencils, such as 2B, on charts prevents permanently marking them. Hexagonal pencils resist rolling off the table when the boat heels. Along with the pencils, is a requirement for a pencil sharpener and a soft eraser.
Boat Compasses

A compass is the primary navigation tool on board a yacht and is the means of identifying direction, enabling a course to be steered and to plot a chart position by the means of bearings of navigational marks and shore objects. Choose from a variety: conventional compass, fluxgate Boat compass, steering boat compass, hand bearing compass.

Get Ready for your Boat Trip

Pilot Books -Tidal Atlas - Instruction Manuals - Lights and Radio Signals – Marine Binoculars among others, Shearwater Marine Supplying you 4519 SE Commerce Ave. Stuart, FL 34997, Contact us (772) 781-5553 or reach out us at: adolf@whiticar.com