Noelex points out that position finding is not navigation. I could not agree more. That's my point.
Ever since 'inertial navigators' and 'satellite navigators' began providing reliable positions with no human involvement, a subset of the human race
have taken those names at face value, and come to believe that those technology items provided a complete and self-sufficient navigation service
. ("Proposition 1"). They are mistaking position-finding for navigation.
This subset of the human race
were not all lay people and neophytes, for instance they included the pilots and navigators in charge of setting and enforcing policy at Air New Zealand
them out only because their policies proved catastrophically wrong. Even so, neither they nor the myriad other airlines with similar policies appear to have learned the hard lessons of Erebus.
Aircraft navigation is admittedly different because (provided you stay above the highest mountains) it is realistically possible to navigate relatively mindlessly from point to point, provided collision
avoidance measures are effective.
It is MUCH more concerning when that mindset percolates down to sea level, as the container ship Rena demonstrated not long ago, sailing a straight line between waypoints which were both perfectly safe, onto a well-charted rock ledge.
It's not a safe bet to write such instances off as being the exclusive preserve of idiots. Highly regarded solo sailor Mike Golding found this out the hard way, on the other side of the same island. The assumptions he made when he chose his waypoints were overtaken by events
Sailing boats do not travel in straight lines, and he ended up approaching a safe waypoint from an unexpected direction which took him over a shoal, on which he grounded.
He knew not to do that, but being tired, preoccupied and overworked, he did it anyway.
If he had not had a tool continuously telling him, he'd have needed to draw lines on the chart to know what course to steer to make the waypoint, and those lines would have shown him the unexpected danger
It's easy from an armchair to scoff at him for not doing that, but it's also possible to argue that once you purchase
a dog it does not seem necessary to bark.
If you look through the posts on this "Navigation" forum, you could be excused for thinking that the vast majority of forum participants believe in Proposition 1.
The posts are overwhelmingly about acquiring, upgrading, and otherwise tending to the needs of the tools, rather than the practice of navigation as Noelex might define it.
It's as if, in the pre-electronic era, discussion of navigation had been largely about sharpening pencils, buying
, lubricating and adjusting sextants and correcting compass