Originally Posted by capngeo
In ALL of them?
- 2 pucks
- 1 handheld
- 1 old 126 at the nav station
- 2 GPS chipped cell phones
- The chartplotter
- An iPad
That's 8! Eight individual units that would all have to fail at one time! A lot better chance of it being cloudy and knocking the sextant offline! CRAP! I forgot the 2 SPOT locators! That's 10 individual, isolated GPS receivers
in ONE boat!
I agree. There are two potential issues: (a) failure of your GPS receiving equipment
; (b) failure (or intentional shutdown) of the GPS system.
Issue (a) is easily eliminated by sufficient redundancy. My boat is like CapGeo's -- in fact I would be hard pressed to actually add up all the GPS receiving devices I have on board. At any given time there will be at least a dozen mobile phones (including obsolete ones kept for backup) and tablets which are capable of receiving GPS, plus retired handheld GPS's, several GPS receivers
on my nav network, etc., etc., etc. I really don't think this is an issue in the day and age when every cheap
has a GPS receiver built in. The chance of a normal cruising boat being without a single
functioning GPS receiver seems vanishingly small.
Issue (b) can actually be eliminated by the same means -- redundancy. GPS is not the only game
in town -- the Russian GLONASS system has been fully operational for a few years by now, and the European Galileo system should be up pretty soon. I bought a Simrad
GS25 receiver for my nav network which gets all three systems (GPS, GLONASS, Galileo) and costs a paltry $199. My main mobile telephone (for Pete's sake!) receives GLONASS besides GPS, and since the Russians banned the sale
of mobile phones without GLONASS, I think nearly all mobile phones have GLONASS now (since Russia
is one of the world's biggest mobile phone
So I think the risk of not having a satellite
position fix is much lower than the risk of, say, losing propulsion
, losing hull
integrity (God forbid), losing the rig, etc. Therefore, it is not on my list of things to worry about.
And anyway -- even on the odd chance that you lost
all ability to determine your position at sea, in the middle of the ocean -- so what? Why is that a disaster? Columbus didn't have any (even remotely) accurate way to determine his position. You will know what general direction to head
in order to reach the nearest land mass; everyone knows how to roughly find E, W, N, S from sun and stars. Just keep going till you hit land, then make your way along the coast until you find a port, then guide yourself in using the buoys. Or radio
the Coast Guard when you get within radio
range, and let them determine your position by RDF.
Nothing against sextants -- I'd love to have one and I'd love to learn how to use it. But I don't personally consider it to be really important in this day and age.