Hello Sailors, Tuesday this week I co-presented for the Waukegan Sail and Power Squadron (“WSPS”) to the public How to Use a Chart. The first half of the presentation was led by Brian who is one of my fellow students in what I now fondly call “The Class of 2015” as we are all taking the same classes together until we wrap up all the classes with the WSPS. We get a sticker for each class we successfully complete to place on a sheet we were all given with a place for each sticker. Like a frequent diner punch card for marine classes. 🙂 We are all looking forward to adding all the stickers in the next two years. Anyway, I digress, as I was saying, Brian presented the first have of the seminar and covered chart basics including where to find the date of the chart, the compass rose and the variation, the significance of the colors on a chart, chart symbols and where to find their definitions, chart scales, and the importance of planning with charts. Charts help you see what is below and what is above the water so that you can navigate safely from place to place in your boat. Of particular importance is what you can’t see. Hidden hazards have been the folly of many a mariner. Both Brian and I covered this topic in our presentations. My portion of the presentation primarily covered navigation aids and so I thought I would share a bit from that presentation with all of you here. This was one of the slides that I printed and handed out that evening that I thought would be a great reference for the audience: Navigation aids are primarily man made objects that were designed in aiding mariners safely into harbors and away from visible and non-visible hazards. As you can see on the chart above, there are several symbols used on charts to identify the various type of navigation aids that you may encounter while out boating. Different shape buoys, lighted and unlighted markers, and range markers to guide you on the safest path are just a few of the types of navigation aids you may encounter. The chart will also specify the color of the navigation aid you can expect to find at a given place and if it is lighted, what the flashing pattern will be. Obviously these are extremely important guides while boating at night. I hope you will take this opportunity to study the navigation aid chart above and familiarize yourself with what you could see out on the water the next time you go for a sail (or motor).
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See you on the water,
Sail Away Girl