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Old 12-08-2018, 18:06   #1
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Skill has devolved thanks to GPS

Have you who have cruised since the 80s and noticed?

The skill level has declined radically?

The takeaway? Adjust?

How?
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Old 12-08-2018, 18:52   #2
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Re: Skill has devolved thanks to GPS

When I started 20 years ago GPS was just becoming affordable and compact enough for a newbie. But I never switched 100% and periodically still use paper charts to keep in shape. Precisely for the reasons you outlined.
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Old 12-08-2018, 18:53   #3
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Re: Skill has devolved thanks to GPS

Things have changed for the better.
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Old 12-08-2018, 19:08   #4
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Re: Skill has devolved thanks to GPS

Ah, the good old days when we stumbled around in the dark in sheer terror interspersed with moments of unbounded relief when we discovered we were not where we thought we might be and weren't about to run on a reef.
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Old 12-08-2018, 19:16   #5
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Re: Skill has devolved thanks to GPS

Have you driven for a long time and noticed that skill levels have decreased. Very few people these days can wield a buggy whip properly. Not to mention control a four in hand.
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Old 12-08-2018, 19:29   #6
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Skill has devolved thanks to GPS

Itís a funny thing.
Back to Army flying, we had to know precisely were we were at night 50í off the ground moving at 120 kts, and hit a point 0 sec early and no more than 30 sec late. I want to tell you, thatís tough. When we were delivering our boat I hired a Pro Capt cause we were new to sailing, he was dead set on teaching me navigation, by day two he had figured out that I was better at it than him, nav is my Forte.
Navigation was THE skill that made you a success or a complete failure when I was flying.
Then came GPS that gave exact arrivals to the second and navigation was suddenly no longer an issue, at all, it completely changed Attack aviation, a revolution if you will. It even suddenly made it so that everyone, everywhere had the exact same time, and that was even revolutionary, no more ďtime hacksĒ

It is a different world, and itís funny to see how lost people are when the database on their GPS is wrong. Iím guilty of it, the only time I ever ran our little boat aground I was enamored with our then brand new Garmin 740s that I had installed.
Wife said, we are going to run aground. I pointed at the plotter and said we have plenty of depth, right as we ran aground. She was looking at the water, I was looking at the plotter
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Old 12-08-2018, 19:31   #7
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Re: Skill has devolved thanks to GPS

I take the Coast Guard Aux. navigation class every decade or two, I should do it this winter if they still offer it.
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Old 12-08-2018, 20:06   #8
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Re: Skill has devolved thanks to GPS

I learnt to sail with the occasional help of Loran, Decca, and semi-functional hand-held RDF. More often than not our Decca would tell us that we were ten miles inland. It could certainly never be used to rely upon, although the RDF was a handy thing to confirm lighthouses in the English Channel.

When I bought my first new boat (last century :-)), I splurged on the latest and greatest Raymarine chartplotter, with glorious green-on-black CRT mounted at the chart table. It was really more of a wonder, and we would occasionally look at it and express surprise that it knew roughly where we were (old school GPS so +/- 100m or so). But all "real" navigation was done on the chart still. It was always drilled into us that GPS must never be used as primary navigation -- only as a backup.

Almost twenty years of zero sailing, and suddenly I have an "almost obsolete" chartplotter at the helm, and superb displays of everything on ipads and iphones. Navigation is a completely different thing.

I don't agree, though, that the skill level has necessarily declined. Now, we can spend less time calculating DR positions and taking sights, and spend more time sailing the boat, planning the course, considering the dangers. All the while being significantly safer and at a lower risk of grounding or hitting someone else. For a start, the skipper can now be in the cockpit pretty much all the time looking out, rather than down below half the time consulting charts.
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Old 12-08-2018, 21:41   #9
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Re: Skill has devolved thanks to GPS

Quote:
Originally Posted by RaymondR View Post
Ah, the good old days when we stumbled around in the dark in sheer terror interspersed with moments of unbounded relief when we discovered we were not where we thought we might be and weren't about to run on a reef.
Yeah, this. I came into San Francisco Bay the other night around 3AM. Had 2 other sets of eyes and yet we could only just see the channel lights from about a half mile to 3/4 of a mile away. If you get just a mile off in the wrong direction on that rocky coast, you are in serious bad trouble. We were also directly under the bridge (you know, the Golden one) when we could kinda see the South Tower right next to us, the bridge above was just a slight blur from all the lights. I guess we could have sailed by compass and kept eyes peeled, hoping we'd be on the right track, but I chose to sail by computer. Either one (me or the computer) can certainly make mistakes, but the computer is probably a bit less so. Why is this such a problem for some people? It's a tool. We're not all Moitessiers.....
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Old 12-08-2018, 21:58   #10
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Re: Skill has devolved thanks to GPS

I was playing off another question regarding anchoring skills :-)

That being said Georgetown is now an RV Park ;-)
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Old 12-08-2018, 23:43   #11
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Re: Skill has devolved thanks to GPS

In grumpy old mans voice, "back in my day we walked up hill both ways in a blizzard every day to school...and we liked it!!!! Dang kids and their flat sidewalks, makes em' weak, I tells ya."

An incompetent sailor today is probably better off than an average sailor of 40yrs ago in terms of navigating tricky areas. Yes, people can push it too far but the vast majority know where they are and where they are going far better than in the past.
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Old 12-08-2018, 23:47   #12
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Re: Skill has devolved thanks to GPS

Cheap and even free money means just about any mouth breather with a pulse can get a boat.
Have a $40 phone with navionics and they can apparently cruise the globe.
No skills required.
Frightening isn't it.

Not just happening in the marine world, but everywhere.
A documentary was made about this phenomenon a while back

https://www.esquire.com/entertainmen...diocracy-2016/
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Old 13-08-2018, 00:46   #13
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Re: Skill has devolved thanks to GPS

I've sailing offshore since the mid '70's - pre GPS and in the days of RDF, Decca/Loran and a brain. I think GPS is great BUT there is a blind faith in it, especially when connected to a chart plotter.

I've been on boats where the chartplotter said "you are here!" when anyone with a brain and an eye-ball could take one look around and see that the GPS/Plotter what just wrong. It's this blind faith in the tech and not cross checking that is the problem. It's correct 99% of the time but it's the 1% that bites you.

I also think that because GPS makes navigation much easier, many people don't spend the time learning the art of navigation/seamanship. They have a map that shows where they are so hey, this sailing stuff isn't that difficult.
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Old 13-08-2018, 05:17   #14
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Re: Skill has devolved thanks to GPS

Quote:
Originally Posted by StuM View Post
Have you driven for a long time and noticed that skill levels have decreased. Very few people these days can wield a buggy whip properly. Not to mention control a four in hand.
Funny. This is exactly what I was thinking. I grew up in Nebraska and actually do know how to harness up a team and drive a wagon. I also know how to saddle a horse and ride. My uncle is a professional hunting guide in Colorado and where he takes his clients, even a good 4WD can't go, so he uses a team of mules, and I've helped him with them in the past.



All nice skills to have, but are they important? I suppose it is possible that some day all hell will break loose and horses and wagons will come back into vogue. Then my skills will be in great demand, and I'll be really glad that I learned these things. But what are the odds? I mean, realistically -- probably as close to zero as you can get.


Time marches on. Things change, and skills that were once important become far less so. There are times when it is a good thing to have some of these skills, but rarely are they really necessary.


A few years ago I probably would have been in the camp of those who think it is horrible that so many of the folks out on the water these days can't even do basic navigation without a GPS. Nowadays I have come to accept the fact that this is, in fact, progress and we're not going back.


In reality, I would be glad to see everyone out there know absolutely nothing at all about navigation, except for how to operate their GPS, if only they would learn the basic rules of the road!!!
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Old 13-08-2018, 05:24   #15
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Re: Skill has devolved thanks to GPS

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Originally Posted by akprb View Post
Have you who have cruised since the 80s and noticed?

The skill level has declined radically?
How do you know this?
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