For many Florida residents, the idea of owning your own boat is idyllic and charming. What better way to enjoy the warm summers than with the cool ocean breeze? Before whip out that card to purchase your new shallow water boat, or search for panga boats for sale, there are some important things that you need to know about boat navigation. Here at Abaco Skiff Co., we’ve seen many customers assume that vessel navigation is easy, or even just like driving, but that’s not at all the case. Here are some of the basics you’ll need to know before you start sailing.


Electronic Marine Navigation Vs Traditional Marine Navigation

Nowadays, you’re likely to find electronic marine navigation systems on many boats. These are fairly easy to use and can be very useful at navigating. A lot of the work is done for you thanks to the utility of tools like GPS systems and radar. For traditional marine navigation, things can be much more complex. While it’s not the same as driving, you could compare the difference between the two similarly to the difference between using a GPS while driving vs using a physical map and signs. It’s very important for vessels without electronic navigations systems that you bring with you a few things:

  • A compass
  • Waterway charts
  • Parallel Rulers
  • Dividers

Here’s a bit more about what you need to do using traditional navigation methods.


Marine Navigation Basics for a Shallow Water Boat

The first thing you need to know is how to figure out where you are. There are a few steps you can easily take to ensure you’re never lost or confused about where you are out on the water.

  • Locate Three Landmarks
    • The first step is to identify three key charted landmarks to help you identify your location. Bridges, large buildings, water towers, and similarly distinct pieces of construction all apply.
  • Point Your Compass At Them
    • You’ll want to take a moment to point your compass at each of these landmarks. You can do this with a handheld compass or by pointing the nose of your ship at them for electrical navigation.
  • Record The Bearing
    • Record the location of each landmark and then, using a ruler, create lines that intersect with those landmarks with your bearings. Do this three times for each landmark, and you’ll have a small triangle that will pinpoint your location.

Once you have your location, you’ll be able to create a course for you to reach your destination. Staying on course may be harder than you think, especially with faster vessels, but focus on your compass while you steer the ship, and you should arrive without much difficulty.


Contact Us For Panga Boats For Sale

Now that you understand a bit more about vessel navigation, you might have more questions or be curious about purchasing a shallow water boat. We at Abaco Skiff Co. have experience helping Florida residents purchase boats as well as learn more about nautical navigation. To ask more questions, learn more about marine navigation, or see some of our fine panga boats for sale, contact us today.