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Remember How to Navigate with a Chart?

By February 7, 2013

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In these days when practically all sailors and boaters are using chartplotters or GPS navigational apps, it's increasingly rare for people to plot their position on paper charts with traditional methods using the compass rose, dividers, parallel rules, and triangulated bearings to visible landmarks. Yet these are still valuable skills if for no reason other than the frequent failure of electronics and batteries in smart devices. One of the simplest methods of traditional coastal navigation is to monitor your position on a paper chart using your boat's depthfinder, sometimes along with a simple bearing taken to one landmark. In seconds, without a need for tools, you can usually figure out approximately where you are on the chart and know how to steer to avoid nearby shoal areas or obstructions. If you've never done this, it's worthwhile to learn how so that you're ready for a possible electronics failure at any time.

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