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On-board electronics are just an aid


In road traffic, navigation systems have made a significant contribution to road safety: Instead of leafing through unwieldy road maps, the driver can concentrate fully on the road traffic. Navigation systems have also found their way into recreational shipping, and almost every yacht is now equipped with modern technology. However, those who rely exclusively on technical devices can quickly cause considerable damage.

A lookout is mandatory

The Pantaenius claims experts know that relying solely on the equipment is a grossly negligent act. A lookout is mandatory. One case, for example, reached the yacht insurance expert in which a motorboat hit a lighthouse head-on at 22 knots. The skipper had just entered this into the plotter as a waypoint and put it on autopilot. In another case, a sailing yacht collided with another ship that had right of way during the day, with excellent visibility and shallow seas. This skipper had also set the autopilot.

Often there are deviations in the GPS system

Most of the time, the maps in navigation devices are based on large-scale maps of commercial shipping, they are not ideal for navigating in narrow spaces. In addition, a certain inaccuracy must be taken into account even with very good map material. The position determination or the satellite configuration can lead to deviations that can be up to 200 meters even in modern devices.

Especially with many shoals or between larger archipelagos such as in the Swedish Scissors or the Greek archipelago, it can quickly happen that you drive on a stone or – according to the display – find yourself on land. This does not mean that technology should be avoided in general, but one should always keep in mind that technology can also be faulty or not recognize everything that the human eye can see. To be on the safe side, paper maps should always be consulted, which of course have to be updated regularly.

Updating and correcting nautical charts is important

Paper maps and the data of the electronic devices must be regularly updated or corrected. Wrecks or in strong tidal waters can quickly lead to new or changed shoals, in the best case the navigator is only surprised at the deviations from the map and his own observation.

Radar or no radar?

Whether a radar device is required depends on the preferred route. In areas with heavy traffic or in areas with impaired vision such as fog (e.g. the English Channel or the Strait of Gibraltar), a radar device is certainly useful. However, the unusual presentation takes getting used to. An automatic identification system (AIS) might be more suitable. Ships identify themselves via AIS and clearly disclose their static, travel-related and dynamic data to others. However, these devices are still rare in recreational boating.

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