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Old 04-04-2011, 08:46   #1
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Too Dependent on Modern Electronics?

I come from an era where there wasn't any GPS. Used Coastal piloting & Celestial for Navigation.
But many of your so called modern Captains seem to depend 100% on the GPS and have forgotten how to navigate with at least Coastal piloting. So if their GPS gives up the ghost, they are totally lost big time. Where the minimum is logging in the nav log, each course, speed and time on that course. This should be done so they may DR in either direction without the GPS. But no, it is too much work for them. There but for the Grace of God and attention to details, go I. Have recovered positions for other crew members when they ignored what they could & should have been doing. But it seems that the bad habits developed by today's modern skipper are very hard to break.
So please plot your position on a chart at least once & hour.
And teaching your kids about navigation is a good way to learn the art.

Note: Have had GPS go belly up on me a time or two and always have by habit knew where I was at, because of years sailing before Modern Toys.
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Old 04-04-2011, 09:05   #2
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Re: Are we getting too dependent on modern toys?

I agree on knowing how to navigate without electronics and teaching the grandchildren. And not dependent on Modern Toys.

That being said, talking to my grandfather, long time commercial fisherman. Him talking about the good ole days, like cutting wood for the stove, or pumping water out of the cistern, walking to town to get supplies or to talk to neighbors or deck hands.

He sure did like the Modern Toy's as they arrived like, gas stoves, running water, cars, telephones, etc.

Like I said, I agree sailors should always know where they are at without electronic means. Plus celestial navigation is challenging doing your math the long way without the tables..
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Old 04-04-2011, 10:13   #3
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Re: Are we getting too dependent on modern toys?

Giving an aspiring carpenter a laser level is not going to save his/her fingers from the hammer.

Going to a GPS waypoint without keeping your eyes open (and understanding from experience what it is you are looking at) will similarly not keep the boat off the submerged crib or rock clearly marked on your paper chart. Not every hazard is known, or if known, is acknowledged. Even the best charts and plotter data is merely a snapshot in time. Whales, awash containers, half-sunken picnic tables and adrift fishing nets don't know about charts or your desire to sail free from them interacting with your boat. Only you, on watch, can preserve your own interest. The plotter doesn't care, and neither does the AP.
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Old 04-04-2011, 10:20   #4
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Re: Are we getting too dependent on modern toys?

The short answer, in my opinion is yes.
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Old 04-04-2011, 10:23   #5
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Re: Are we getting too dependent on modern toys?

Quote:
I come from an era where there wasn't any GPS. Used Coastal piloting & Celestial for Navigation.
But many of your so called modern Captains seem to depend 100% on the GPS and have forgotten how to navigate with at least Coastal piloting. So if their GPS gives up the ghost, they are totally lost big time. Where the minimum is logging in the nav log, each course, speed and time on that course. This should be done so they may DR in either direction without the GPS. But no, it is too much work for them. There but for the Grace of God and attention to details
Wheres the facts to back up this general statement. I teach navigation, ( chart work, course to steer, runnning fixes etc). More people are properly trained then ever before. In fact its the "old timers" that often knew very little. Loads of Yachtmaster today maintain posiiton logs, plot charts etc, even if the location was GPS derived.

The fact is the sport is getting safer not less safe, fatalities are rare and where they happen its usually a result of poor judgement not poor navigation ( like the two brits killed in portugal recently).

My father used to always say "agh the old music was better", my kids complain that 80s rock music is junk. , so its fashionable amongst us pre-GPSers to do the "harump, whats use is the telephone anyway or we'll only need 5 computers in the world " stuff, History has shown , we're usually wrong not the "kids".

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Going to a GPS waypoint without keeping your eyes open (and understanding from experience what it is you are looking at) will similarly not keep the boat off the submerged crib or rock clearly marked on your paper chart. Not every hazard is known, or if known, is acknowledged.
I have never seen that relying on GPS causes people to stop looking out the window.

Dave
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Old 04-04-2011, 10:57   #6
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Re: Are we getting too dependent on modern toys?

Quote:
Originally Posted by goboatingnow View Post

The fact is the sport is getting safer not less safe, fatalities are rare and where they happen its usually a result of poor judgement not poor navigation ( like the two brits killed in portugal recently).

My father used to always say "agh the old music was better", my kids complain that 80s rock music is junk. , so its fashionable amongst us pre-GPSers to do the "harump, whats use is the telephone anyway or we'll only need 5 computers in the world " stuff, History has shown , we're usually wrong not the "kids".

I have never seen that relying on GPS causes people to stop looking out the window.

Dave
Excelent point.

I have noted that as I age I am beginning to act similarly to those old people I used to complain about.

It seems (to me) that part of aging is slowing down of brain function and part of that is the ability to grasp new concepts and use them. Instead there is a sort of "fear" that results in denial.

Not too old yet though - man I love the chart plotter!!!!
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Old 04-04-2011, 10:58   #7
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Re: Are we getting too dependent on modern toys?

I can (well I could in the past... not sure anymore) navigate celestially. I don't carry a sextant anymore. I still carry charts, have a swung compass, and 2 depth finders, and about 6 different and independent GPS receivers aboard.

Yeah the sats might fall from the sky, but so may the mast, or engine failure, or hull crack..... The point being it is STATISTICALLY impossible for all of the modern stuff to lay down at once. If a man-made event caused them to fail, perhaps you would be better off lost at sea than ashore in the aftermath!
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Old 04-04-2011, 11:04   #8
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Re: Are we getting too dependent on modern toys?

I'm sure the pre chart and celestial navigation mariners said the same thing. Humans have been sailing the world with just their eyes ears and nose for a very long time before any documentation was available.
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Old 04-04-2011, 11:06   #9
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Re: Are we getting too dependent on modern toys?

agh the lodestone, theres the thing

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Old 04-04-2011, 11:15   #10
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Re: Are we getting too dependent on modern toys?

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Originally Posted by capngeo View Post
I can (well I could in the past... not sure anymore) navigate celestially. I don't carry a sextant anymore. I still carry charts, have a swung compass, and 2 depth finders, and about 6 different and independent GPS receivers aboard.

Yeah the sats might fall from the sky, but so may the mast, or engine failure, or hull crack..... The point being it is STATISTICALLY impossible for all of the modern stuff to lay down at once. If a man-made event caused them to fail, perhaps you would be better off lost at sea than ashore in the aftermath!
The Military who controls the GPS satellites can at any time reach up and throw the switch for all of them to OFF. That can happen in times of threats, war and war drills. And they have done this to specific areas recently.
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Old 04-04-2011, 11:22   #11
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Re: Are we getting too dependent on modern toys?

You know what is really sad? I deal with so many boaters every summer who don't even know how to use their GPS. They can't answer a question like: "Are you north or south of the lighthouse." They have no idea.

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Old 04-04-2011, 11:22   #12
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Re: Are we getting too dependent on modern toys?

As one of those old people, I embrace any new technology that makes navigation easier. I was involved with computers before they became fashionable. I had one of the first bag cell phones (remember those) on my commercial fishing boat. Everytime something new came out that made my job easier I got it, if it was affordable. I think I could still get by without all of it in an emergency, but I would prefer to have all the toys that allows me to spend more time looking around my surroundings for appreciation and safety.
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Old 04-04-2011, 11:24   #13
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Re: Are we getting too dependent on modern toys?

There are a few differences. I use GPS 99% of the time, but I have been trained in traditional navigation techniques. If I was out and the GPS turned off? No worries, I know which direction the nearest shore is, I can use the sun if my compass is out, (except high noon during equinox). And once I get within sight of shore I can readily identify a number of manmade landmarks to find jetties and home. If I was cruising in a less developed area I would probably take things more seriously, but I boated in this area for years in a small boat with no electronics at all.
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Old 04-04-2011, 11:25   #14
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Re: Are we getting too dependent on modern toys?

I don't think any of us would board a cruise ship if the entire bridge crew was unable to operate without their electronic navigation. Why so many pleasure boaters don't extend the same level of professionalism to their unknowing passengers and guests is not surprising.

It takes a lot of work to learn advanced navigation skills and people generally avoid hard work and take the path of least resistance.
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Old 04-04-2011, 11:33   #15
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Re: Are we getting too dependent on modern toys?

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I don't think any of us would board a cruise ship if the entire bridge crew was unable to operate without their electronic navigation. Why so many pleasure boaters don't extend the same level of professionalism to their unknowing passengers and guests is not surprising.

It takes a lot of work to learn advanced navigation skills and people generally avoid hard work and take the path of least resistance.
There is a difference!
You would let a friend mix you a drink, but would you trust anyone other than a pharmacist to "mix" your prescriptions; I know how to suture a laceration, would that make it OK for me to do your open-heart surgery?

To follow the same course of reason: If there were two doctors; one was old-school and only did surgery in the old ways, the other practiced with the latest robotics and arthroscopic techniques.... who's scar do you want?
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