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Old School Plotting & Navigation Tools For The Discriminating Mariner – Part V

I’ll just call this one Navigation Odds-n-Ends, as it’s basically a grab-bag of stuff I missed the first time through or couldn’t find a good spot for otherwise.

Here’s the Weems & Plath GPS Plotter (6″ x 20″)…’s available for $32.99 from Landfall Navigation.


And the Para-Lock Plotter…..a handy size (only 7.25″) for those with serious space constraints, it’s $22.99 at Landfall.


The Plotfix GPS plotter is designed to get accurate results while working on folded charts. Celestaire has it for $12.00.

The search-pattern course finder: something I used fairly regularly in conjunction with a grease pencil in my Coast Guard days for running vector and expanding square searches for a PIW / MOB…’s really handy to have so that you can run a reasonably accurate search in a hurry, without the need to plot it all out accurately and in advance. Just plot the datum point from which you’re starting your search and get going…..the quicker you start the better the chance of finding the person(s). True, it is something that will probably never have to be used by most tug seafarers (you hope). But in that very unlikely but very high stakes situation, an open-waters  MOB with enough sea room to run an unobstructed  search pattern, there is nothing that can substitute for it, especially on the typical minimally-manned tug. It costs $29.99 at Blue Water Books & Charts.


And the Vectormaster, which has a multitude of uses…..Blue Water has it for $38.99.


If you insist on brass-armed parallel rules, as I do, the one offering we all know of from Weems & Plath goes only to 15″ in length. Anything longer and they come only with aluminum arms, a sorry substitute when you need the extra weight to prevent slippage on the chart surfaces. But there are alternatives available from Blundell Harling in England, and they come in three different lengths of 400mm (15.75″), 500mm (19.7″), & 600mm (27.6″). You can get all of them from, who promise “Extreme Products, Fanatical Service.” They cost $31.33, $42.55, & $49.11 respectively.

If you work on the East Coast from Norfolk to Portland, and particularly in the Northeast and New England, don’t forget your Eldridge Tide & Pilot Book. For New York Harbor, Long Island Sound, Narragansett Bay, Buzzards Bay, the Cape Cod Canal and the waters up to Boston Harbor it’s considered indispensable and the standard by which all others are judged. Well worth the $12.95 charged by Landfall Navigation…..I won’t leave the dock without it. It also provides coverage for Delaware Bay, Chesapeake Bay, the C & D Canal that connects them, and on down to Southeast Florida.

The approximate but more localized West Coast equivalent is Captain Jack’s Tide & Current Almanac. It covers the Pacific Northwest’s Puget Sound, Hood Canal, San Juan Islands and the Strait of Juan de Fuca. The 2010 edition costs $17.95 at Armchair Sailor Books & Charts in Seattle.

Check out the previous posts (Part I, Part II, Part III & Part IV) in this series…..

#PaperCharts #WeemsampPlath #NavigationTools #Plotfix #Celestaire #CaptainJacksTideampCurrentAlmanac #BlueWaterBooksampCharts #SearchPatternCourseFinder #Vectormaster #EldridgeTideampPilotBook #LandfallNavigation #GPSPlotter #ParaLockPlotter #BlundellHarling

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