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Seamanship: Page 1
The simple definition of seamanship is; the art of operating a ship or boat see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seamanship However, seamanship is far from simple. It involves using many skills to safely operate a boat under all conditions, as well as maintain the boat in a safe condition.
Some of those skills are:
Emergencies. Such as Man overboard, fire, flooding, engine failure, and others.
First Aid including CPR and other emergency medical procedures.
I am not going to try to teach you all of these in this web site. Entire books have been devoted to each of these subjects, but I will try to give you links and references to learn more about each skill.
Navigation: I covered some of this under Navigation Rules; http://newboatbuilders.com/boating/navrules.html and http://newboatbuilders.com/boating/navrules_2.html
Navigation Aids (Aids to Navigation) Buoys, Day Marks,
Navigation involves being able to safely move your boat from one place to another, knowing where you are at all times, without running aground or running into things. This is also called Piloting. The most basic of navigation techniques is coastal navigation. Coastal navigation implies that you always have landmarks in view that you can use to establish your location. These landmarks can include aids to navigation such as lights, buoys, towers, and day marks (signs). Also, land features such as points, headlands, hills, mountains and other natural features, and man made landmarks such as tall or distinctive buildings, water towers, aircraft beacons, and bridges can be used fix your location. This is called taking a fix, that is, establishing your location on a mapnautical chart.
It also requires use of nautical charts. Automotive road maps should never be used for on the water navigation, they simply do not have enough accurate information. Nautical charts are available in paper format, in booklets, or electronic charts that can be displayed on a computer, smart phone or tablet, or a dedicated electronic chart reader and navigation system. They can be downloaded from the internet by you, or downloaded and printed by a nautical chart retailer. They contain a wealth of information on aids to navigation, water depths, locations of hazards such as rocks, reefs and wrecks.
It also requires the use of simple instruments, a compass, a pair of
binoculars, a pencil, a pair of dividers and a nautical protractor (also
called a chart protractor, see below.)
Another navigation technique is called dead reckoning. This
involves navigation when out of sight of land, or when in limited
visibility. It requires starting from a known position and being
able to judge or measure your speed and distance traveled. You must know the
direction you are traveling and any other conditions such as current and
wind speed and direction. Then you calculate how far you have
traveled over a specific time period.
Probably the most common method used today is GPS (Global Position System), using satellites to determine a position. This is a very good and accurate means of navigation. Unfortunately far too many people rely solely on GPS which can get them into real trouble. GPS fixes only tell you where you are. Without a chart that shows the surrounding area, and things such as reefs, rocks, shallows, and so on the GPS can lead you into hot water fast. To effectively use GPS you need to know the basics of coastal navigation first! Also, if for some reason GPS fails (there are countless possibilities, the simplest of which is the power fails) you need to know how to go back to basics.
Navigating with GPS (USCGAUX) http://www.5nr.org/downloads/training/gps.pdf
Several good books on Seamanship and Navigation:
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