Since the first mariner watched the shoreline disappear over the horizon there came the need to navigate the featureless open water and reach dry land again. Over the centuries, mariners have relied on the sun and stars, compasses, and now electronic global positioning systems and other marine navigation instruments to find their way.
In order to plot a course and stick with a heading you are going to need to see where you're going. A globe allows you to find your location and navigate to it using a system of grids, known as latitude and longitude. Latitude is a series of parallel lines which run east and west on a globe. Longitudinal lines run north and south. The points at which these imaginary lines intersect can give you precise locations, which you can use on your map/navigation system to plot your course. Distance and speed are important factors in navigation as well, since they help you determine the length of your voyage, as well as help you prepare for other requirements such as how much food and water you will need for the trip, and what sorts of weather conditions and tides you may encounter.
Nautical navigation is made simple with an easy-to-use route planner.You can use plotters and charting kits to find your way with tried and true methods or let electronic charts, which use GPS technology, lead the way.Whether it is centuries-old methods such as sextants and compasses, or electronics, there are many marine navigation instruments to help you find your way:
Useful when traveling near land and established landmarks. These will allow you to get a heading from a distance as well as see any potential hazards on the water and to avoid them before you get too close.
The magnetic field of the Earth is a consistent force that is useful in finding your direction. Used by sailors for centuries, compasses work without power in any weather. However, they must be calibrated and protected against interference.
Paper charts allow a tactile process of nautical navigation that doesn't require batteries or good radio reception.
Lesser experienced navigators can trust the accuracy of electronic charts without the training required for paper charts.
Keep your vessel on course and compensate for the variation of current and wind while maintaining a heading.
A real-time representation of what is going on around you, from other boaters to bad weather.
It is just as important to be seen as well as to see others. Navigation lights allow other boaters to see you on the water and are required by the U.S. Coast Guard.
Defender has a wide selection of marine navigation instruments to meet your needs. We carry chart plotting instruments, navigation aids, sextants, autopilots, fish finders, radars, and many other instruments. With over 80 years of experience in marine supplies, Defender is owned and staffed by boating enthusiasts and welcomes any questions you might have! Contact us today!