Navigation charts, sometimes also referred to as nautical charts are an essential tool; gear or companion (call it what you want) for sailors such as myself as well as those who are involved in other marine-related activities.
The two go hand-in-hand and complement each other to produce a sailing journey of the highest magnitude. Back when it first existed, these charts were only available in printed-paper but with the advent of technology, you may even be able to access one electronically.
As the name suggests, these charts often depict the maritime area including all the connecting coastal regions. There are many different types of charts and depending on the information available, can be used in different ways.
Different chart scales often include different details such as the different potential obstacles and hazards to your course, water current and tides, water depths, details of natural as well as man-made navigational aids. Some charts may also potentially show man-made structures, which might include lighthouses, harbours and bridges.
Needless to say, it is absolutely essential that you develop the needed skills involved to enable you to read, understand and to decipher the meaning of the navigation charts. There are many sailing schools as well as marine departments who encourage possessing this skill.
In many circumstances, you can actually save yourself from possible disasters such as the avoiding of collision on dangerous rock formations. You can also use it to heighten your sailing experience by planning on a sailing trip through a route, which is the most fun. In addition, you can learn to use it to sail during the most appropriate tide and current conditions.
While it is not mandatory and a standard requirement in sailing, many countries require certain type of vessels to carry these charts. As an example, commercial vehicles are required to carry them by most countries.
In addition to this example, Norway requires its high speed crafts to use Electronic Chart and Information Display System, also known as (ECIDS), a form of electronic charts meant for navigation purpose.
While it is not known if the future legislation will require all marine-related activities to use these charts, it is never a disadvantage if you get started in acquiring chart-reading skills now.
At the very least, even if you are not a sailor or mariner in any way, you can offer to teach these skills if you are certified to do so. You can also opt to be a navigator with huge corporate marine companies if your navigation skills are impressive enough. It is not entirely impossible for you to make a living out of being a navigator.
Now, where can you start acquiring skills to read and study navigation charts? This really isn't an issue. Living in an age where Information Technology is at its peak, you can gain ready access to all these information at your fingertips.
There are countless resources for you to learn them whether you are seeking to learn them on your own or through professional short courses through sailing schools or even through the Internet, the options are available in abundance.
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