Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Tools of the Trade: Navigation Essentials

If there is doubt as to advisability of including some item of equipment, the safer decision is to include it. It is better to have unused equipment than to risk danger of becoming lost because of lack of needed equipment. ~ from the American Practical Navigator by Nathaniel Bowditch

What to bring, then? A ship can be a small thing with little room for human bodies much less spare equipment. Of course, as the advice above notes, it is better to have a thing sitting around than to not have that same thing when your life depends on it. According to Peter H. Spectre, Bowditch recommended this bare minimum in the early 19th century:

A watch with a second hand for timing courses
Gimbaled lamp to light your charts
Barometer for forecasting weather
Parallel rulers for making courses
Dividers for stepping off distances
Pencils, paper, etc.

All of these things would most often have been found at the so called "navigation station" aboard ship. Generally, but not always, this would have been located in the captain's cabin. Today, much of the busy work has been eliminated by GPS and computers. All the same, better have the above just in case. Technology is a wonderful thing... until it ceases to function, that is.

Header: View of Ships Near Venice by Oliver D. Grover via American Gallery

5 comments:

blueloulogan said...

This reminds me of my shoulder bag, which is with me all the time and pretty well prepped for the zombie apocalypse. If I had to trim it down, it would now be cel, iPad, Leatherman, and duct tape.

FYI: new post over at blueloulogan.wordpress.com. Drop by, follow, spread the word...

Pauline said...

They say if you're ready for the zombie apocalypse, you're ready for any disaster so good on ya, mate.

Done and done as far as the new site; I've changed the link under "Sailing in Company" and on my blog list. Looking forward to much more!

Timmy! said...

Yep, best to always be prepared, Pauline.

Pauline said...

I guess it goes without saying that you just never know.

Munin said...

I have often wondered how much salt (excuse the easy pun)was given to any 'advice' put forward to the captain during transition times regarding new technology. I would imagine rather a lot. But look at us now: We have GPS in our cars dictating to us so much, we often fail to even notice our deeper primal instincts. NO, GO LEFT!