We use what is called COASTAL NAVIGATION AND PILOTING......with paper charts, dividers, and parallel rules.....and of course the ships compass
, and a hand bearing compass and knot
meter. That results in taking bearings, and using fixes, running fixes, estimated positions ( E.P's ), and ded reconing ( Deduced from time, speed, distance and direction ). Add in a good cruising guide and coast pilot.
However, we also use our own personal hand held GPS, and a binacle mounted GPS if mounted on the bare boat charter vessel.
Also, for Newport
Bay, we could use, the depth sounder
when needed in fog
or limited visibilty to track to off shore sea sea buoys or channel entrance buoys .
Actually, the good responsible skipper
uses all aspects of navigation.
I actually heard this MAYDAY, out on the ocean , ( San Pedro Channel ) from a motor
vessel....He called a Mayday.....yep...he was out of fuel
and wanted the coasties to come out and save is sorry okole......
The coasties asked his position, and his actual answer, was I DO NOT KNOW, MY GPS IS NOT WORKING. So the coasties asked him where he departed from, and what heading had he been holding, and what time did he depart Avalon
, Catalina Island
The super captain
had no clue as to a D.R. track line. The coasties told him, what is position roughly was, and that he could call SEA TOW..... NO, he did not want to do that because it would cost him money
That is just one of many....
But, our own situation one time, on a sailing club vessel, departing Catalina
, sunny day and about mid channel.....the problem was that the ships mag compass was not working, neither was the depth sounder
. But, I had my hand bearing compass and a chart.
Beautiful day, and we had just passed the off shore oil
platforms, mid channel, when I heard a fog whistle that was on the oil platform. I turned my head
around, and here came a huge, low vis fog bank rolling on toward shore, and our destination Newport
Wham, we are popeye, IFR, near zero visibilty.... we we did our best with what we had, and actually listened to the temps at Newport Bay, it was pretty high temps and
we figured that the fog would possibly disipate close to shore.
Sure enough, the fog lifted when we were about 1/4 mile off the channel entrance buoy at Newport Bay. Also, I had my headings up the channel already plotted out navaid to navaid on the Newport Harbor Chart. to take us to our docks......
Without the ships navigation equipment
, compass, knot
meter, and depth sounder, we would have entered the harbor and if still low vis, could have anchored out of the main stream of marine
traffic, and advised the sailing club of the situation.
However, what we did was to use COASTAL PILOTING and our Hand Bearing Compass and estimated our speed . Plus , no depth sounder to track the 100 ft sounding to the sea buoy.
Due to the warmer temps in the harbor, the fog disipated and all turned out well.
The next day, I went down to West Marine and bought both Erica and I hand held GPS,s and that way we could add in the electronic whizding, crutches, so we would be prepared and use both Coastal Piloting as well as the GPS for our navigating.
Also, I, to this day, match up the ship compass and the auto pilot heading with my hand bearing compass when I first board a sailing club or bare boat vessel from a charter company.
Again, that is us....
It might be a good plan to take all aspects into consideration as part of skippers responsibility .
that I ever took was delivering a new ERiCSON
36 from Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
up to Los Angeles Harbor...The owner had raced down to Cabo.
Turns out that .the new super duper SATNAV did not operate, the Auto Pilot did not operate. and the three bewiskerd dudes that wanted to get the experience turned out to be stone alcoholics..... The only ones that I could trust were Erica and Myself.....I used the three guys as an auto pilot when we were off watch. They could hold a heading, sort of.
I took the mid watches, and Erica and I did the Navigating and chart plotting except when we were trying to get a short few hours of sleep....not much sleep in about a two week trip .
Never sailed with those three again.
Point being, we strongly suggest using all aspects of navigation and seamanship ,
Both GPS and Coastal Piloting and Navigation can be combined. Not just one or the other.