Saturday, June 18, 2011

Trusting your chart plotter

Three women were following the in car navigation system of their rental car when the route drove them down a boat ramp and into the water.  Confusing the issue further was the fact that the women were tourists from Mexico and didn't speak English.  You can read the story here.

This story is kind of funny, particularly since it appears that no one was hurt.  But it reminded me of my recent trip to Central America.  The charts for Mexico, Belize and Guatemala are very old and pretty much terrible.  Since the electronic charts just reflect the underlying data of the paper charts my chart plotter frequently had me on land when I was in fact in the water.  I remember in particular sitting out bad weather in Cayo Norte with the chart showing me a lighthouse off my bow that was in actually off my stern.

Coming back to the US I breathed a sigh of relief.  Now my chart plotter would reflect reality.  But does it?  This incident reminded me that traveling the ICW "following the purple line" doesn't always keep you safe.  The Mark 1 eyeball is still your best navigation aid.

"Wives and Sweethearts" (May they never meet!) - Its Saturday

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