Timekeeping in Navigation and Weather

(published September 2012) There are a dozen or so timekeeping systems used in navigation and weather, and we cannot avoid using several of them from the nav station. In the end, the main time we care about is GMT, more properly called UTC, or Universal Coordinated Time. All weather data

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Coastal Currents

(published July 2012) [caption id="attachment_4622" align="alignleft" width="323"] Schematic rotating current diagram. As opposed to pure reversing currents found inland, which alternate their direction, coastal currents tend to rotate their direction with little or no change in speed. At the time of high water, this coastal region has a north current

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Essential Offshore Gear

The SSB Radio demystified: Part Two  (published June 2012) Heard the SSB is too complicated to install or learn to use? Think again. Modern SSB radios are no harder to learn than your TV set, and new gear allows them to be installed far easier than before, at lower cost

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Where On Earth Are You?

Tracking devices abound, and they are only improving  (published June 2012) The skipper on Thursday’s Child took a few moments out from dealing with the heavy weather on deck. It was cold. And the Southern Ocean waves were huge—40 feet or higher. More than 2,000 miles from land and singlehanding

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Correcting for Current

(published May 2012) In many inland waters, tidal current flow is a dominating factor in navigation. In special cases like the Gulf Stream, it can also be crucial in the ocean. With a working GPS, it is less of a challenge once underway because we can see directly from our

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Know Your Limits!

The invisible lines on the water that affect your rights underway  (published March 2012) Mariners who sail both U.S. inland and coastal waters are required to know one set of boundary limits—the ones that mark the jurisdiction of the U.S. Inland Navigation Rules. These boundaries are called Demarcation Lines; they

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Ocean Dead Reckoning

If we were guaranteed our GPS would always work, we would not have to do much more for ocean navigation. Unfortunately, we would never know if the GPS was right until the last day of the voyage—and we would be rightfully anxious about that throughout the voyage, because we know

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