Basic Navigation and Safety

Online sailing courseWhen you first start getting involved in boating, you will hear a tremendous amount of different terminology, and many people get put off very quickly. The purpose of this free course is to give you a little taster of some of the terminology and to put it into context.

 Course Content:

  • Terminology and publications
  • Buoyage (the signposts on the water)
  • Navigation (avoid the arguments!)
  • Safety (double check – it doesn’t hurt)
  • Anchoring (make sure your boat is still there when you come back!)
  • Tide heights (the sea goes up and down..)
  • Tidal Streams (Nemo used this!)
  • Electronic Navigation (using your phone!)
  • Avoiding other boats (rules of the road)
  • Weather forecasts (does it matter if it rains?)
  • Getting into a harbour (pilotage)
  • Passage planning (planning a trip)

Transcript of this video is below:

<click> Hi there, I’m so glad you’ve grabbed this video course, it’s great to have you on board,<click>  I’m going to take you through
Nautical Terms – some basic terminology,
and then some basic information about charts and publications<click>

<click>here we are on our teaching boat, Lets start in the cockpit which is this area where I am sitting and work our way around the boat starting with the two sides of the boat: Facing forwards the boat has two sides – the Port Side and the Starboard Side symbolised with colours red is left is port, green is right is starboard, On sailing school boats often the school will use green tape or ropes to help, though this may not be the case on all boats. One way to remember is “ There is no RED PORT LEFT in the glass “.
With the <click> wind blowing from one side we have  the <click> windward and <click> leeward or looerd sides of the boat – The windward side being the side closest to the wind, and looerd the furtherst from the wind. So this will mean that the windward side could change from being the port side to the starboard side depending upon which direction you are going and where the wind is coming from.
Moving on we also have the terms<click> on the bow, or ahead, which is at the front normally the pointy bit. The area in front of the boat is called “on the bow” or “ahead” and then behind we have <click>astern ,  we then combine these and might say on the <click> port bow, <click> port beam and <click> port quarter and similarly on the starboard side <click>
Beam being at  90 degree positions and the quarter being the area to the side and behind you, but not dead astern! Wee bit complicated, but becomes clearer as you hear the terminology used.

Next we look at some <click> publications found on boats:
Firstly – The ships logbook, this is where we record navigation information and the boats progress. On this training boat when in the harbour we use it to <click>record who was on board, <click>the weather, what we did, any problems that occurred and then when we are doing a <click>passage we record the navigation information as well.
The other important publication we need to have on board is a <click> map of the area known as a chart on a boat, The official charts that we use for teaching are Admiralty charts from the UK <show RYA Chart> or Australian Hydrographic Charts. These are the same charts used by commercial ships.
There is some key information which I need to show you on these charts.
1) The colours: Yellow is land, green is the area covered and uncovered by the tide, blue is shallow water and white is deep water.. A way to remember this is we sail in the white, anchor in the blue, run aground on the green and go to a cafe in the yellow. <click>

2) The scale and what that means – e.g. RYA Chart 3 is 1:100,000 which means 1cm on this chart is equal to 100,000cm in real life or 1km . The scale of a chart determines whether you would use it for pilotage into a harbour or bay or whether to use if for passage planning.

3) Useful information
So now let’s go into some detail of what is on the chart, there are a plethora of <click> symbols and lines and  to start with we’ll have a look at a few outside <click><click>Namley Harbour:<click>A Marina, <click>A light indicated by the magenta flash, <click>a wreck and a <click>depth of 5.1m.
Whilst it is not within the scope of this course to learn them or go through them all, it is important to know where the key is! <click><Show Chart 5011> Chart 5011 has a list of all symbols for the Official Charts and it is quite a thick book.. Learning how to use it quickly is a skill in itself!
I mentioned earlier a depth of 5.1m… what does that mean? <click> It means 5.1m below chart datum, Chart Datum is a depth marked on a chart which is roughly a bit deeper than the lowest spring low tide. More on tides later in the course, but if you imagine the tide at it’s lowest point, the line drawn by the waters edge and corresponding depth  – that is roughly chart datum, <click> with Mean high water springs marking the edge of the green, <click> Chart Datum the zero and then the <click> 5 and <click> 10 m depth contours. Remember this is super brief, so not expecting you to understand that from this brief video!
The other important publication is an <click> Almanac, which contains <click>important infomation for navigators or skippers going into a <click> port or harbour, containing infomation about tides, local anomalies, useful telephone numbers, just general useful info. The one shown here is a training Almanac that we use with our training charts and courses.
And that’s it <click>, that’s all we have time for today, hopefully you found that useful, look forward to sharing more with you in the next video!