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navigation - page 1

6.1 Introduction

The methods of navigation used by the modern boat owner have changed quite rapidly from the traditional methods still currently taught. This doesn’t make the old methods wrong; it just means that the emphasis has changed. With GPS used in many cars, the level of computer skills of the general public being high, and the so-called paperless offi ce, the modern boat owner desires a different approach to navigation.


The boat owner cannot rely entirely on electronic navigation for pilotage. Pilotage will introduce the well-established and practical aspects of entering and leaving a harbour or anchorage.

Types of Marine Navigation

  • Radio Navigation Determining your position based on radio signals (e.g. RDF, LORAN).

  • Radar Navigation Using radar to determine direction and distance to nearby objects.

  • Inertial Navigation Use of accelerometers and gyroscopes to keep an electronic dead reckoning. Not used much on sailboats.

  • Satellite Navigation Use of satellite based electronic systems; primarily GPS.

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