Where on Earth are we?

More importantly, what does that mean?

Navigation is basically the art of determining where you are and what direction and distance you must go.

Therefore, we must learn to find out where we are and what that means for us. We do this by understanding the nautical chart, plotting our position, and laying off direction in degrees and distance in nautical miles.

bi rola measuring direction on a nautical chart
Bi-rola: measuring direction on a nautical chart

The ‘what does this mean?’ part is about how you get to where you want to go safely.

Where is your safe water? At all times, you should know this in preparation for an emergency. For example, to avoid flotsam. With a radical course change to port will you remain in enough depth? Or would starboard be a safer option?

We can’t prepare for every eventuality at sea, but the prudent mariner plans as best they can with what’s at hand.

Therefore, we must know about latitude and longitude to plot our position and know we are safe. To reach port before dark we must know how to measure distance and calculate the time it will take. To ensure we are avoiding those reefs we must learn how to plot a course and find direction.

Learn to plot your position

During the Coastal Navigation course we introduce each one of these elements prior to learning our first formulae to calculate speed, distance, and time – which are extremely useful tools.

Then we take an in-depth look at the chart, how every word, letter, notation and number is relevant, important, and useful. We’ll interpret the key areas that are paramount for our safety.

That learning foundation underpins the next element, the practical side of plotting, fixing positions, measuring distance taking bearings, converting True to Compass and Compass to True and all that comes with the joy of navigating.

For more information or to register your interest click here.

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