How Do You Navigate a Boat?

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If you happen to be a boat owner, it is necessary for you to learn how to navigate a boat. One might think that it is about getting from one place to another, but it is not that simple, the entire process has so much more challenges than just placing the bow in the right direction. Navigation in water is a lot different from how you navigate on roads. The waterbody can never be predicted and fog, darkness, and haze will block your vision.

Traditional Navigation:

The standard traditional navigation tool includes a compass, which would tell you the direction, charts (maps), parallel rules, compass dividers (used for measuring distances in the charts) and a stopwatch.

Locating your position:

The first step in navigation in water is to identify where you are currently. You can do this by looking at the surroundings or by glancing at the charts. Locating your position might be easy when you are familiar with the surroundings, but when you are not familiar with the surroundings, you need to triangulate the position of the boat. To do this you need to identify three landmarks that are visible, and it must also be marked in your chart. These landmarks need to be located far apart from each other.

Creating the route to your destination:

Once you have spotted out your location, you must next focus on creating the route for your navigation. The creation of a route is quite simple, and all you have to do is take out your parallel ruler and place it on your location and draw a straight line on the path you want to go in the water. You need to make use of the compass to get the bearing which corresponds to the line that you have drawn. You need to continue to draw parallel lines till it intersects with the destination point.

Reciprocal course:

The reciprocal course is quite simple to do, but it is an important task. You must know the reciprocal course so that you can go back to the place you started. The reverse of your course will be 180 degrees. If your initial course is less than 180 degrees, you need to add 180 to get the reverse of your navigation. If it is more than 180 degrees, you will have to subtract and get the reciprocal.

Ded Reckoning:

Ded reckoning is when you are navigation from a known position to your destination. You will have to track your position and also make necessary changes in the speed to reach your destination.

Boat navigation can be risky, and thus you need to make sure that you have all the necessary things with you that will help you in taking you from point A to point B. Make sure that you have a compass and all the necessary charts ready. Also, check the weather forecast and plan your navigation accordingly.