Marine navigation in its simplest form is the ability of finding your way on the water.
Navigation for boaters is basically how to read a nautical chart, knowing the various Aids to Navigation: plotting a course on a nautical chart, following a plotted course and learning to obtain a fix on a nautical chart.
Reading a Nautical Chart. A nautical chart is a boaters “road map” for oceans and waterways. It has a lot of information that will help a boater to steer a course to and from destinations safely. Nautical chart shows land, water, water depth, danger areas, landmarks, buoys, lights and other aids to navigation, along with a compass rose to direct your boat, a distance scale, and a latitude and longitude scale so you can you find your location. With a nautical chart and other tools, you can take your boat anywhere in the world waterways.
Aids to Navigation. These are nautical “road signs” that every boater should know. Buoys, lights and other “aids to navigation” assist one in determining one’s position and course as well as danger areas: even in known areas, there can be hidden dangers that can cause damage and injuries because boaters are unaware of these warnings
Plotting a Course. Being familiar with nautical charts of an area you intend to boat will keep you in safe water an avoid dangerous obstructions. Plotting a course is the basic navigation tool that anyone can use to stay on course by using the boat’s compass to set the heading you calculated from the chart. Perhaps the week local boater won’t need or want all that “math”; but many will eventually want to “broaden their horizons” and skills
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