Toms Tips About Nav Aids in Narrow Winding Channels

By Tom Neale, 4/29/2010

1. In narrow winding channels with a lot of shallow water around its often difficult to keep track of exactly which Nav Aid you need to honor next.

2. Even if you have a chart plotter, keep an updated paper chart at the helm and keep a heavy pointer on the chart, pointing to the aid where youre presently located or the very next aid. If theres an electronic or power glitch youll have instant access to your location.

3. A light weight pointer will move as the wind blows the chart or you roll.

4. If your eyes aren't as good as they used to be, have a magnifying glass at the chart station to help you pick out the aids quickly.

5. Your chart plotter should be extremely helpful when youre busy picking out the aids ahead and figuring out what twists and turns and shoals are next, because it shows you where you are in relation to aids and other features. This also helps in accurate placement of the pointer on the paper chart. However, remember that cartography in chart plotters, as is true of paper charts and all other resources, may have been made inaccurate by a recent change to the bottom.

6. Get accustomed to regularly using the zoom out on the chart plotter to help you get an overall view, and the zoom in to help you to more easily find aids and features close to you. The paper chart should also be helpful in giving a broad scope view.

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