The need for having the right navigation equipment on your boat can’t be overemphasized in fact I believe this is something I have mentioned in couple of previous articles that I have shared. What I would like to add is that thanks to modern technology, this equipment is readily available and much easier to figure out because they are predominantly computer driven.
As long as you have the right basic training, then figuring out how to make use of this equipment will be pretty straightforward.
Let’s therefore take a look at 5 navigation equipment your boat should always have.
1 You need a radar system
When out at sea, it’s always very important to be able to tell the position of your boat in relation to the position of other ships at sea, other floating objects as well as distance from land. A good radar system will enable you have all this information. Most modern boats will come with an in built radar system but it’s also possible to have one installed if you boat doesn’t come with it.
2 You need a gyro compass
Gone are the days when navigators had to rely on magnetic compasses to figure out directions while out at sea. These have been replaced by gyro compasses which are much more reliable when it comes to finding the true North. For starters, they are not affected by external magnetic fields like their magnetic counterparts and therefore their ability to accurately plot direction is not affected. It’s however a good idea to also have your magnetic compass with you just as a backup.
3 You need a reliable autopilot system
Similar to the purpose they serve in airplanes, autopilot systems are also very necessary for boats. The reality is that depending on the distance you are sailing, it may not be practical for you to keep steering and making all the navigational adjustments because exhaustion may cause you to make mistakes. With a good autopilot system, your boat can be able to do this work with the aid of onboard computers.
4 You need an LRIT (Long Range Tracking and Identification) System
The International Maritime Organization (IMO) recommends that all vessels out at sea use the LRIT system which is essentially a technology that enables the identification as well as tracking of vessels in any part of the world. This is especially important when it comes to assisting vessels in distress. As part of your pre-sailing routine, always make sure that this system is fully functional.
5 You need an echo sounder
There are instances when you may have to sail on waters where you are not sure what the depth may be because you are not familiar with the terrain. This is where an echo sounder comes in handy because this piece of technology uses sound waves to determine what the depth of water under the boat is. This is a very handy piece of technology that will reduce your risk of hitting objects below the sea line.
The beauty about many of these systems is that they are all integrated into the boats onboard computer therefore feedback is transmitted back to a dashboard that is relatively easy to read of course with a little bit of training.
All in all, these technologies may be good for navigation but it doesn’t hurt if you also take time to learn the old tactics. It’s always a good thing to have a backup.
I trust that this has indeed been an informative and life changing article.