# Navigation¶

When we talk about Navigation here, what we’re talking about is establishing the position of a vessel OR planning the movements of a vessel. Essentially, it’s about finding out where you are, and deciding where to go next.

Marine Navigation can be categorised in a few ways, often the choice made is one of Coastal versus Ocean Navigation. Here, I’m trying something different:

Mechanical Navigation is the domain of quick measurements that are plotted directly on to charts. Few calculations needs to take place, instead the focus is on fairly quick mechanical technques that can be done to a reasonable level of accuracy for the area navigated. Coastal Navigation relies on these techniques, as do quick estimations that take place during the execution of a passage plan where some adjustment is necessary.

Mathematical Navigation is about using mathematics rather than physical measurement to calculate distances and positions. There will often be some known measurement first - the height of a lighthouse, the altitude of the sun, a departure and arrival position; and using Mathematical processes we can turn that information into lines of position, distances and courses.

Finally, Electronic Navigation is where the 21st century has automated or assisted in the processes of Mechanical and Mathematical Navigation, however they bring their own sets of challenges. Understanding the capabilities, intended uses of, and limitations of Electronic Navigation equipment is essential for safe navigation in a fast moving environment.