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Proper use of a compass on the water.

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  • #16
    Originally posted by Paddichuck View Post
    I recommend the Power Squadron Piloting and Advanced Piloting Courses.
    i will take a look! Thank you!

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    • #17
      Those courses are considered "advanced" courses (Piloting is now called Boating 4 or Seamanship)...it is recommended to have taken at least Boating 2 & 3 before taking these advanced courses.

      Each course builds upon the previous course in concepts, practice, etc.

      I am a CPS Squadron Commander as well as an Instructor.

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      • #18
        Over the course of many years of offshore fishing, ive had all the latest gadgets for navigation, and at one point or another, they have all let me down at some point, the one thing that has never failed me was a properly calibrated compass. the one thing I always kept in mind when clearing the inlet was dead reckoning. Alot of the times I headed 150 deg to get to the waypoint I was headed too (loran c back then), I always knew 300 deg would get me to land..and I ended up using just that.....a few times because of set and drift, I ended up miles off course, But I still hit the beach, and I had the convenience of the Atlantic City towers to give me a clue from there. At a minimum you should always have a helm mounted compass, and a hand held unit...and KNOW where you came from....the rest is convenience.
        "We all come from the sea. But we are not all of the sea. Those of us who are, we children of the tides, must return to it again and again."

        Current Boats
        10' tin gamefisher/Johnson 7.5hp ob
        1991 Sea Ray 170br/AlphaMerc
        1996 Century 1800 CC/Yamaha c85
        1988 Imperial 280SF (under the knife)
        1972 Checkmate mx-15

        http://forums.iboats.com/boat-restor...cs-598307.html

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        • #19
          Originally posted by zool View Post
          Over the course of many years of offshore fishing, ive had all the latest gadgets for navigation, and at one point or another, they have all let me down at some point, the one thing that has never failed me was a properly calibrated compass. the one thing I always kept in mind when clearing the inlet was dead reckoning. Alot of the times I headed 150 deg to get to the waypoint I was headed too (loran c back then), I always knew 300 deg would get me to land..and I ended up using just that.....a few times because of set and drift, I ended up miles off course, But I still hit the beach, and I had the convenience of the Atlantic City towers to give me a clue from there. At a minimum you should always have a helm mounted compass, and a hand held unit...and KNOW where you came from....the rest is convenience.
          Thanks for the reply. I have signed up for a January course at the local Power and Sail Squadron to take a introduction to navigation as well as the VHF radio licence course.
          Experience is a lifetime of mistakes, wisdom is not making them again.

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          • #20
            In modern days lots of people think that you need only gps for navigation but It is always nice to learn how to navigate. Compass at very basic. Sounds like no brainer but many people dont get it anyway. One good tip is to use your compass while your boat is still floating. Giving some, it dont have to be for long though.

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            • #21
              Originally posted by gill22 View Post
              In modern days lots of people think that you need only gps for navigation but It is always nice to learn how to navigate. Compass at very basic. Sounds like no brainer but many people dont get it anyway. One good tip is to use your compass while your boat is still floating.
              That's why I asked the question. Limped back to shore in soup, no stew like fog with my GPS. Had I not had it or had a power failure to the GPS unit bad things could have happened, like slamming into the sheer rock face on each side of the harbour with no where to beach the boat. Anchoring in a Great Lake shipping lane wasn't an option to wait out the fog.
              Experience is a lifetime of mistakes, wisdom is not making them again.

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              • #22
                Originally posted by Old Ironmaker View Post

                That's why I asked the question. Limped back to shore in soup, no stew like fog with my GPS. Had I not had it or had a power failure to the GPS unit bad things could have happened, like slamming into the sheer rock face on each side of the harbour with no where to beach the boat. Anchoring in a Great Lake shipping lane wasn't an option to wait out the fog.
                Radar.....lol

                A compass is useless unless you know where you are (approx) and where you need to be.

                My first real navigational challenge found me 25 miles from the barn, low on fuel with less than an hour of daylight left.

                I was working a school of Stripers moving south with a group of charter boats in November. Preoccupied with catching fish, I lost sight of the Charters and visibility was down to less than a 1/2 mile. Worst yet, I didn't have a clue where I was. I was somewhere on the eastern edge of the shipping channel (10 to 15 miles from either shore) and that was about it. I literally didn't know what State (Maryland or Virginia) I was in.

                Just short of panic, I broke out the binoculars and spotted a buoy a couple of miles away. Ran over to get the number off of it. I was in Virginia... real panic now. Not enough time and gas to head East and follow the coast back to the inlet. I only had one shot at getting back before it got dark and I ran out of fuel. Broke out the chart book and a ruler to come up with a course heading. My $8 stick-on compass didn't give me high hopes to say the least...

                Long story short, I missed the inlet by less than a 1/4 mile from 25 miles out. Cold, dark and almost out of fuel but I made it back to the dock. The next day I went out and bought a Magellan GPS 2000 hand held. Crazy expensive at the time but the experience opened my eyes to how easy it is to get lost in your own back yard.

                Today, I have a Ritchie Navigator compass, two chart plotters (one with radar) and a hand held (my old Magellan) to compliment my chart book. With all this, I still steer compass headings. Use the chart plotter(s) for course headings and location feedback only.
                Last edited by dingbat; November 14th, 2017, 03:49 PM.
                ....

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                • #23
                  Dingbat:

                  Your story is the perfect reason for anyone with a boat to take courses from USPS or CPS.

                  In Canada, it is mandatory to have a Pleasure Craft Operators Card (PCOC). Most people think this is a "boating license" and all they need...believe me it's just the beginning of the learning.

                  "The PCOC will get you out on the water...CPS will get you back".

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                  • #24
                    When your out on a clear day take a note pad and wright down compass courses you commonly take. Going out and back. And what your speed or rpm is. Time each rout. Laminate it and keep it on your boat.

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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by Alaskan native View Post
                      When your out on a clear day take a note pad and wright down compass courses you commonly take. Going out and back. And what your speed or rpm is. Time each rout. Laminate it and keep it on your boat.
                      Thanks, a great suggestion. Since posting this question I have started to learn the basics of navigation. I have local charts laminated with a ruler and paint stick on board.I will be taking a local Sail and Power Squadron course in January and that will get me my VHF permit as well. A retired commercial fisherman checked my compass and he said it was accurate. I will be less sheepish the next time we head out 10 to 15 miles in the shipping lanes.
                      Experience is a lifetime of mistakes, wisdom is not making them again.

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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by Old Ironmaker View Post

                        Thanks, a great suggestion. Since posting this question I have started to learn the basics of navigation. I have local charts laminated with a ruler and paint stick on board.I will be taking a local Sail and Power Squadron course in January and that will get me my VHF permit as well. A retired commercial fisherman checked my compass and he said it was accurate. I will be less sheepish the next time we head out 10 to 15 miles in the shipping lanes.
                        Practice keeping a corse on your compass without looking up, it's easy to tern the wrong way or o er correct. Bring a friend to keep an eye out for logs and boats.

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                        • #27
                          Originally posted by Alaskan native View Post

                          Practice keeping a corse on your compass without looking up, it's easy to tern the wrong way or o er correct. Bring a friend to keep an eye out for logs and boats.
                          One would think you would practice steering a course without staring at the compass.
                          Last edited by dingbat; December 6th, 2017, 07:03 AM.
                          ....

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                          • #28
                            Sign up today
                            Originally posted by dingbat View Post
                            One would think you would practice steering a course without staring at the compass.
                            Yes you are right, if you can't see any thing out the window the compass the is your only option. Im a fishing guide in SE Alaska from 1989. before gps all I had was a compass flasher and a vhf. I seen my share of fog. But yes you are right about keeping course without looking at your compass. I used the glow of the sun threw the fog to stay on course just keep the sun at the same angle relieve to your course but keep checking your compass. I also use the wind and chop or swell angle to keep on course. Just my 2 cents

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