Maps are the main navigation tool on yachts of any size. What should you keep in mind when using electronic and paper maps? Interparus will give some practical advice.
Regardless of which maps you prefer, you should remember that many places on even relatively old maps may simply lose their relevance. Electronic or paper – it doesn’t matter at all. The most important thing is to have fresh cards.
For example, let's say you go the same route year after year on a charter boat. It seems that nothing is changing, the marinas are in their places, the anchorages too. Why a card? At a minimum, in order to monitor the condition of the bottom and those same anchorages.
If you like to explore rivers, especially the Danube, Rhine or Main (i.e. busy navigable rivers), then having up-to-date maps is a must. On rivers, changes in navigational objects (buoys, etc.) occur every year, so knowledge of their actual position is extremely important.
Electronic and paper cards
Here we will not understand which is better. Rather, we will give a friendly reminder regarding any types of cards. Navigation aids are becoming better every year, and their reliability is increasing. However, a sudden failure of electronic equipment may leave you without electronic cards.
Gadgets and convenienceSome boaters are very attached to their electronic navigation aids. We can understand this - gadgets are convenient and versatile. However, you need to remember that, for example, phones do not use simple GPS, but so-called. A-GPS, which is not suitable for marine navigation. Keep this in mind and always have an alternative to gadgets in the form of equipment that is certified for sea travel.
In order to avoid such an incident, it is necessary to have paper maps on board. But what do you need to know when choosing paper maps? The first is your sailing area. Second, you need to have several maps of the same area, but at different scales. So, have a couple of large scale maps of 1:10,000 and one large scale of 1:100,000. This will make you feel more confident and give you an understanding of where you are going.
In addition, there are different types of maps that are needed in different travel conditions. Some charts are used for navigation near harbors, others in shallow waters, and others near the coast or in the open sea. The type of maps you need depends on your route. And don’t forget about the relevance of these cards!
Navigation Aids and Map Legend
In addition to the map itself, you should also have some other navigation aids with you. A compass, a chart ruler, a pencil, an eraser, a notepad, a direction finder and a pen are the foundation that is necessary in any case. However, modern security requirements are not so simple.
AIS and GPS must also be installed on board the yacht to identify the vessel and display its location accordingly. These are extremely important devices that can save your life - don't neglect them. Radar can also be classified as a navigation aid. You need to be able to interpret and apply its data.
As for the map legend, it would be a good idea to study it before going to sea. Despite the fact that many maps are created according to generally accepted standards, the icons (designations) on them may differ. Study how harbors, shoals, shipping channels, buoys, etc. are depicted on the map.
Backups are everything to us
Having one copy of a map is good, but having multiple copies is even better. It is extremely important to have backup copies of maps of the areas you travel. A software glitch can damage electronic versions, and a hatch that you forgot to batten down can easily turn your cards into blotters.
Keep copies of analog and electronic maps in safe places that will not get wet. This way you will protect both yourself and your team from navigating by eye. You can store electronic maps on flash drives, and for advanced yachtsmen with powerful Internet on board, cloud technologies will come to the rescue.
If you understand that your experience so far leaves much to be desired, then use more detailed and understandable maps. You shouldn’t immediately try to become a cool yachtsman; spend time studying maps and sailing areas. This will make you feel calmer and more confident. And in principle, haste is your main enemy.
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