Working with GPS

Working with GPS

Despite the advent of electronic navigation, the compass remains the cornerstone of any navigation system.  Only by coordinating the use of electronic and magnetic navigation can boaters achieve optimal navigation safety, efficiency and effectiveness.

GPS Data vs. Compass Data

Using data from multiple satellites, GPS provides a helmsman his position.  The computer in a GPS system stores position data and uses it to calculate information – speed a boat is traveling, direction, and in what direction it has been going.  This information has no bearing on the real-time heading of your boat.  Factors such as wind, current, boat speed and boat characteristics can create a large disparity between a boat’s real-time heading and the direction a GPS indicates.

The Benefits of Real-Time Navigation Data

The GPS is a remarkable asset to navigation and is a necessary tool for any vessel.  The GPS provides position and speed.  The compass provides real-time heading and provides for straight line steering.  By using the compass and electronic navigation together boaters may continually optimize performance, fuel efficiency and their own safety as well as that of their crew and the boaters with whom they share the water.