One thought on “Dead Reckoning Or Pilotage?

  1. I’m not an airplane pilot, but a sailboat skipper that has regularly cruised the east coast of the US and Canada-from the Florida Keys to Red Bay, Labrador, Lake Michigan and Southern France. I was 19 when I began chartering and have owned four boats during the past 60 years. When I started sailing to distant coves and harbors, I used both piloting and dead reckoning–the difference in Piloting on the water and Piloting in the air is slight: we find recognizable landmarks on shore and triangulate our position from those. Then came LORAN, and I used that in addition to Piloting and DR–always good to have a check on all navigation systems. Even with GPS (I only have a hand-held unit) I still keep all relevant charts aboard and continue to use all systems each to check the others. I can’t tell you how often I have made a mistake on one (when tired or assuming) and got back on track by looking for the discrepancy on all systems. I have heard sad stories from sailors who have eschewed the basic navigation tools and charts whose batteries died–no more electronic nav aids. I still do not have a plotter and will probably never get one–why put all my basic knowledge on the shelf when I enjoy and trust the navigation skills I’ve used for over a half century? (Wow, am I that old?)
    PS– Joshua Slocum, the first man to sail around the world alone, used only an alarm clock and compass for his famous circumnavigation. It will be a sad day 50 +/- years from now when no pilot or skipper uses or knows how to use the basic nav tools.

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