Marine Navigation

Introduction to Marine Navigation

We are used to traveling by road and when we need to reach from point A to point B via roads, we simply drive the car (or whatever vehicle we use) to go along predefined paths (i.e. roads built for the purpose). No such roads are available in the oceans where there is only a vast expanse of sea water. This applies equally to the skies as well but we will mainly focus on marine arena here rather than talk about aviation.

So how do we figure out where to go in the open sea with nothing available as our landmark and no passages similar to roads on the earth’s surface. Well it is here that the concept, science and art of marine navigation comes into the picture. Marine navigation can be defined as the art and science of guiding a ship or any other water craft from point A to point B with the help of charts and other instruments. Plus you will get to know several things you never thought about earlier. For example have you ever wondered what makes a cruise ship float?

Navigating Officers


This work is carried out by specially trained personnel on board ships, known as navigating officers. These navigating officers are an important part of ship crew and generally consist of the master, chief mate, second mate and third mate. Basically a navigating officer is to a ship or any water craft, as a pilot is to an airplane, chopper or any aerial machine.

There are various important tasks which may not be used currently but not necessary due to modern technology. One such interesting task was how to translate morse code

Navigation Aids/Equipment


In the earlier days, when modern instrumentation was not available the sailors used natural features such as the position of stars in the heavens to guide themselves across the oceans. Celestial navigation is an art and a science as well in the true sense of the word; whilst the modern navigation is mostly carried out with the aid of sophisticated equipment such as radars, GPS, satellite communication and so forth. We will study about these marine navigation equipments and techniques during the course of our study including ancient tools such as stick charts for navigation and information would be updated continuously.

Navigation aids also include means of ship speed measurement.

It might seem to the uninitiated that navigation is quite similar to driving, and it might be true on the surface. Yet navigation is much more complicated and sophisticated with the knowledge required about various equipments, manual and automated, plus so many factors to be taken into account such as sea conditions, currents and so forth. A typical navigating officer joins a ship at the rank of a cadet and requires nearly a decade of experience and education to rise to the rank of a Captain. The Captain is also known popularly as Master on board ships mainly because he is at the pinnacle of command and everything is under his or her control including the engineering department which is of course headed by the Chief Engineer.

Maritime safety is ensured by the navigation officers in order to avoid incidents such as ship collisions, still certain incidents do happen over a period of time such as the sinking of Titanic or the Exxon Valdez. Also learn about search and rescue patterns used in cases of emergency.

Just stay with us as we continue to dive deeper into this fascinating marine journey. After the site grows a little, we also plan to make provision for the readers to leave their comments, add content and so on.








Just take a look at the image below which shows the bridge, the work place for marine navigating officers and the various paraphernalia over there.





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