sail-world.com
 
 
News Home Cruising Photo Gallery Video Gallery
Sail-World.com : Sailing Chart Symbol Secrets for Safer Navigation
Sailing Chart Symbol Secrets for Safer Navigation

'This illustration is a clip from a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) chart (do not use for navigation)'    .    Click Here to view large photo

Imagine sailing along a coastline with multiple lights along the shore. Your GPS has proved unreliable in this area. What chart symbol and abbreviation secrets will help guide you to safe landfall? Here are some navigation 'quick tips' on symbols that will help boost your navigation knowledge for safer sailing worldwide!

Scan any chart or plotter in the world and you can bet you will see an array of light symbols, lettering abbreviations and phrases and landfall descriptions. And it can confuse the saltiest mariner unless you break it down into just a few 'easy to digest' bits. Let's do that here with this small chart inset.

The more you can identify all the treasures you see on your nautical or electronic chart, the safer your sailing boat and her crew will be. Realize this fact--every line, word, letter, abbreviation, phrase, number, symbol and even color on your nautical chart or plotter has meaning.

Unlocking the Secrets of Letter and Light Symbols:
Vertical letters mean that the object or land mass does not change with the tide. Note the land mass letters are vertical, except in the description of Bradford Cove Pond (the water level might change with rainfall or in drought). Points carry bold letters if they are non-tidal.

Look at the aids to navigation descriptions on the left side of the illustration. All letters are vertical. This means one thing. These are fixed lights, either driven into the seabed (i.e. fixed pilings, I-beams, stone, or metal structures) or built onto the land (note the tall lighthouse named 'SOUTHWEST HEAD LIGHT'.

Note those aids to navigation on the far right side of the illustration. All letters are slanted, which signify floating aids to navigation. Most common are buoys, with the small open circle (instead of a black dot or black star). Buoys are air filled chambers with a large diameter chain attached to the bottom. They are anchored to the bottom with a large sinker--often concrete block--that can weigh tens of thousands of pounds. Indeed, buoys must 'maintain station' (stay on their assigned positions) in high winds, swell, waves, and storm conditions.

Other lights may be anchored to the bottom by an articulated mechanism that allows the light to sway with the wind or current. Again, theses aids to navigation move, so their symbol will be accompanied by slanted letters. Always.

Choose fixed structures first and foremost for sailing navigation if you have a choice. Shift to floating or articulated aids as a secondary choice. In all cases, use caution with any floating navigational aid.

In the Coast Guard, we found buoys off station (off the charted position you see on your nautical or electronic chart) time and again. Realize that buoys can drag off station, just like a boat can drag her anchor. It could take several days for a buoy tender crew to reset an aid onto charted position.

Take a look at the danger buoy off the southeast side of the point. Lighted buoy 'XA3' marks the deadly shoal just to the west and carries a flashing green four second light and a Bell. Note how this entire description has been slanted. It may seem subtle, but the more you use a chart, the easier it will become to interpret this vital feature.

Special Navigation Note:
Slanted symbols (the image and geometric shapes used to create the chart symbol) do not reveal whether the object will be fixed or floating. Cartographers (chart makers) slant symbols like buoys or lights to prevent clutter. Look to letters to reveal the secret as to whether the object you see has been fixed to the seabed or will float around a sinker on chain or sway on an articulated arm.

Use these sailing navigation secrets for safer sailing on the waters of the world. Put simple sailing tips like these into play aboard your sailboat to backup the GPS, increase your navigational safety, and boost your nautical knowledge when sailing or cruising on the waters of the world!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
John Jamieson (Captain John) with 25+ years of experience shows you the no-nonsense cruising skills you need for safer sailing worldwide. Visit his website at www.skippertips.com. Sign up for the Free, highly popular weekly 'Captain John's Sailing Tip-of-the-Week'. Discover how you can gain instant access to hundreds of sailing articles, videos, and 17+ Free e-Books!


by John Jamieson


  

Click on the FB Like link to post this story to your FB wall

http://www.sail-world.com/index.cfm?nid=119715

11:27 AM Sat 1 Mar 2014GMT


Click here for printer friendly version
Click here to send us feedback or comments about this story.







News - USA and the World















































ISAF Sailing World Championships - Watch medal races live here by Dan Ibsen, Sail-World Europe & UK editor,








470 Men and Women Worlds - Vadlau and Ogar into pole position by 470 International Association Class,




ISAF Sailing Worlds, Santander - Strong competition for RS:X fleets by Olga Maslivets, International RS:X Class Assoc.,








ISAF Sailing Worlds - The kind of form most sailors only dream about
Royal Cup Marina Ibiza - Quantum Racing ahead of target
ISAF Worlds Santander - 19 Rio 2016 Laser Radial spots awarded
Santander 2014 ISAF Worlds - 21 broadcasters to take live coverage
Rolex Swan Cup - Looking forward to the next 30 years
America’s Cup: The Future is foiling – AC45s to be modified
Volvo Ocean Race: Win a stopover trip by designing an ECsix T-Shirt
Red Bull 49erFX: On the eve of the Worlds in Santander
America's Cup: Ben Ainslie Racing launches partnership with Yamaha
2014 Chicago Match Cup - Starts tomorrow
Rio 2016 Daylight the issue for Olympic sailing regatta
ISAF Sailing World Championships - USA 470's and Lasers battle at top
ISAF Sailing World Championships - Santander - Day 5 video highlights
ISAF Sailing World Championships - Santander images by Jesús Renedo
PWA Cold Hawaii World Cup - No action on day 2
470 Men and Women Worlds - Game on for Olympic Qualification
ISAF Sailing World Championships: Finns off to slow start in Santander
ISAF Sailing World Championships - Seesaw Day 5 in Santander + Video
ISAF Sailing World Championships - 470 sailors shine in Santander
Royal Cup Marina Ibiza - Kiwi Ray Davies returns to TP52 fleet
Starboard Hatteras Wave Jam - No windsurfing action on day 1   
A complete recap of the most successful Melges 20 World Championship   
Rolex Big Boat Series - Prizegiving images by Chuck Lantz   
ISAF Santander - Upwards path for Austrian women's 470 crew + video   
18ft skiffs: Carnage compilation from the glory days of the Grand Prix   
ISAF Worlds: Video from the British Sailing Team   
Bart's Bash expected to set new records this weekend   
PWA Cold Hawaii World Cup - Marcilio Browne wins Super Session   
470 Men and Women World Championships - Racing abandoned on day 2   
ISAF Sailing World Championships - Day 4 images from Santander   
ISAF Sailing Worlds, Santander: Emerging Nations Program sailors shine   
ISAF Sailing Worlds, Santander - Teasing winds play havoc on day 4   
ISAF Sailing World Championships: Hot conditions in Santander on day 4   
Santander ISAF Sailing World Championships joins Bart’s Bash   
PWA Cold Hawaii World Cup - Grounded fishing boat creates problems   
Marseille One Design - GC32 Armin Strom Sailing Team emerge victorious   
Rolex Big Boat Series 2014 - Ready for another 50 years   
2014 Rolex Big Boat Series - Farr 40 Day 4   
2014 Rolex Swan Cup - Eleventh-hour victories   
Extreme Sailing Series - Kiwis clinch Act win in Istanbul + Video   


For this week's complete news stories select    Last 7 Days
   Search All News
For last month's complete news stories select    Last 30 Days
   Archive News







Sail-World.com  


















Switch Default Region to:

Social Media

Asia

Australia

Canada

Europe

New Zealand

United Kingdom


http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/Twitter_logo_small.png http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/FaceBook-icon.png  http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/RSS-Icon.png

United States

Cruising Northern

Cruising Southern

MarineBusiness World

PowerBoat World

FishingBoating World

 

Contact

Commercial

News

Search

Contact Us

Advertisers Information

Submit news/events

Search Stories/Text

Feedback

Advertisers Directory

Newsletter Archive

Photo Gallery

 

Banner Advertising Details

Newsletter Subscribe

Video Gallery

Policies

 

 

 

Privacy Policy

 

 


Cookie Policy

 

 



This site and its contents are © Copyright TetraMedia and/or the original author, photographer etc. All Rights Reserved.  Photographs are copyright by law.  If you wish to use or buy a photograph contact the photographer directly.
XLXL NEW US
LocalAds   DE  ES  FR  IT