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GPS & SAILING – the Smart Guide to Smart Sailing

Pre-Trip Planning
Planning your trip during the months and weeks before departure can be almost as much fun as the actually trip. Luckily, several resources are available to help you with this.

Good nautical charts and GPS mapping software makes planning easy. You can gather information about sights to see, places to visit, navigation waypoints, anchorage information, lists of marinas in the area, and a whole host of other information. Study the charts of the region prior to departure so that your tentative route is ready and so that you know all of the alternate anchorages and approaches just in case you have to change your plans mid-trip.

Sailing Safety
GPS allows you to navigate safely, even when caught in a heavy fog. With GPS you can easily avoiding known hazards while staying steady on course.

In case of a ‘man overboard’ situation a GPS unit can mark the exact place where the event occurred greatly assisting rescue crews.

What do I need?
Digital Nautical Charts. With electronic charting, you can view a constantly updated GPS position superimposed on the nautical chart. This spares you the work of plotting coordinates and laying out projected courses on a paper chart. You can see where you are, where you've been and where you're going all at a glance.

With mapping database of waterways, rivers, lakes, fixed nautical markers, buoys and lighthouses you have an easy way to view your longitude, latitude, bearing and knots per hour. The capability of accepting waypoints is a great feature. Waypoints are the Latitude & Longitude coordinates of any. Once a waypoint is entered you can get the unit to give you range and bearing (distance and direction) to that waypoint from your present location.

What accessories should I get?
Consider an external antenna, as it will improve your reception. The Vortech Reradiating GPS Antenna is a good choice. The Vortech Antenna System sends boosted signals to your GPS and since it doesn't require a direct connection to the GPS, it will work with any model and is ideal for boats where roofs and overheads can block satellite signals.

Knowing weather and climate information is important for your safety. Consider something like the Kestrel Weather Instruments which can tell you different things such as wind velocity, barometric pressure, temperature, etc. They are waterproof and they float.

For more GPS and mapping related resources please visit http://www.mightygps.com

MightyGPS.com delivers GPS navigation solutions, maps, and gear at prices below the manufacturer's suggested retail pricing.

Contributed by: Dave Rogers




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