The magnetic compass is the workhorse of navigation instruments because it provides three things:
- Real time compass headings whether your boat is dead in the water, on a plane or moving slowly against an outgoing tide, the compass gives the boat heading.
- Straight line steering helps the helmsman avoid steering a serpentine path when steering by the compass heading.
- Reliability in all situations is a given and it works without power.
That is why every boat needs a compass.