Online Book:

Navigation and Marine Electronics

There are endless posts and comments on the internet about the latest cool electronic gadgets to help us navigate. But will acquiring all this expensive stuff make you a navigator who is competent and safe to go voyaging?

No, not unless you also grasp the fundamentals of understanding where you are. In this Online Book, Colin, Phyllis and John share the fruits of a combined century of navigation, much of it before electronic gadgets, and then relate that experience to modern electronic navigation.

Table of Contents:

Knowing Where It’s At

We start this book by looking at the most important aspect of good and safe navigation. More important than fancy electronics. More important than paper charts. More important than radar. Situation awareness—knowing where you are at all times.

You Still Need an Accurate Compass

What if your plotter dies, or the datum is way out on the chart against the GPS, or you are navigating an intricate passage? These are just a few situations when an accurate compass is vital.

Backup Systems, Do We Need Paper?

For many navigators the idea of going to sea without any paper charts aboard at all is pure heresy. But is that really true? Are we just hanging on to paper charts because we are stuck in our ways? Is there a viable all electronic backup?

Marine Electronics System Recommendations

Up to this point in this Online Book we have been writing about good navigation practices. Now let’s turn our eyes to the cool electronic toys we all love.

And since I’m an electronics technician by trade and have spent most of my working life in high tech fields this is going to be leading edge stuff and way cool!

Navigation System—Plotter Or Computer?

John looks at the question of whether to install a dedicated plotter or a computer for electronic navigation, and continues with a description of what he did install and how it has worked out.

The Secret Life Of Your GPS

Pretty much all of us rely on GPS, but have you every wondered how the thing actually works? Matt has the answers, and they are fascinating.

Navigating in Fog, Part 1, The Tools

Some of the best cruising grounds in the world are plagued with fog, so it pays to have the necessary gear as well as navigation and collision-avoidance skills—will make you safer at night too.

Colin starts off a three part series with an in-depth analysis of the tools to have when the visibility shuts down.

Navigation in Fog, Part 2—Preparation

Never was the old axiom “proper preparation prevents poor performance” more relevant than when cruising foggy places. Colin gives us an in-depth check list to run through before we leave port.

Navigation in Fog, Part 3—Underway

Colin has covered gear and preparation for navigating in fog. Now we get to the meat of it: what to do when underway and the visibility shuts down. Includes a vital section on the rules of the road in fog.

8 Radar Use Tips

Colin and John have teamed up to share the fruits of some 70 years of combined radar use experience much of it in the foggiest (Atlantic Canada) and highest traffic (English Channel) areas of the world.

HF SSB Radio or Iridium Satellite Phone?

What hardware should you buy for receiving weather information and other communications? In this chapter I take a look at the two main options, HF SSB and satellite phone, and make some recommendations.