Common Sense

This all sounds very alarmist, but common sense and the use of as many navigation tools as possible must be used at all times. It's an old axiom that groundings occur not because the navigator is uncertain of his position, but because he is sure that he knows where he is but is wrong! Navigators uncertain of their position navigate very cautiously.

The accompanying illustration from the chartplotter of a cautious navigator (an ex airline pilot) shows the planned inbound route to Figeuira da Foz, in Spain. The red 'Xs' are his planned waypoints. The red track line shows where the chartplotter thought they were, but of course, our cautions navigator followed the buoys, leading lines and the 'lie of the land' to complete a successful arrival. But if it were night or foggy, another 'gung ho' navigator would have ended on the rocks.

The longitude was correct, but the latitude had an error of about 0.15 minute - about 300 metres (900 feet). Was this a datum error, a cartographic error, a vectorisation error or a GPS error? Who knows but it could have ended up as a shipwreck whatever the cause.

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