Today starts a series of articles about Navigation. We will give you a list of skill sets required to become a “real” navigator and also give you the opportunity to advance your Navigation Know How by participating in the Nautical Know How Coastal Navigation Course. This course will give you step-by-step instructions on how to navigate safely from one point to another. It teaches you to take into consideration all effects including set, drift, tides, currents, etc. that might hinder you along the way.
These basics are covered in the online Nautical Know How Basic Boating Safety Course at http://boatsafe.com/navigation . It is highly recommended that, prior to beginning this advanced Coastal Navigation Course, each student successfully complete the Basic Boating Safety Course.
Navigation can be divided into four primary classifications:
- dead reckoning
- electronic navigation
- celestial navigation
The problems that you, as a navigator, must solve are as follows:
- How to determine your position.
- How to determine the direction in which to proceed to get from one position to another.
- How to determine distance and related factors of time and speed as you proceed.
Of these three problems facing every navigator, the most basic is that of locating your position. Unless you know your position, you cannot direct the movements of your vessel with any accuracy, safety or efficiency.
You will need to have, and learn to use, several navigation tools. Although there are many tools at your disposal at any marine store, the following are the minimum necessary:
- parallel rulers
- right angle triangle (optional, but handy)
- hand bearing compass
- steering compass
- watch or chronometer
- log and time-keeping note paper
- calculator, abacus or fingers & toes