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Dead Reckoning, Noonsites and Emergency Navigation

Here is a new way to compute dead reckoning and noonsites accurately and without having to solve any spherical triangles or complicated elliptic equations.  Also, if you want to make your own tables as accurate as the Nautical Almanac for taking noonsites you can generate them here!  Just print and go sailing!

Warning -- Use these techniques at your own risk.  They have been tested and used successfully but you're responsible for yourself.  We take no responsibility if you sink your boat.

Dead Reckoning

Traditionally dead reckoning problems are solved graphically on a chart.  But often charting inaccuracies occur and in higher latitudes you have to use plotting paper to get the proper scales.  This technique uses only two tables and some multiplication to solve dead reckoning problems with high accuracy.  The tables easily convert distance traveled on a heading to your new Latitude and Longitude.  You should be aware there are some other errors that occur when dead reckoning and the American Practical Navigator has a good chapter about the graphical technique using plotting sheets. How to Dead Reckon Using Tables
Download a Copy of the Tables

Navigation by Noonsite

Technically one of the easiest celestial navigation problems that everyone should know how to solve.  If you follow the links you can learn how to do a noonsite observation, generate your own celestial tables for the noonsite and download a copy of all the sextant altitude corrections you'll need.

How to Navigate by Noonsite
Generate Your Own Tables
Example Tables for 2006, 2007, 2008 or 2009 Compressed into 2 Pages
Download Sextant Altitude Correction Tables

Emergency Navigation

Caught without tables or a sextant?  The American Practical Navigator has some interesting short-cuts to finding your position with approximations and improvised tools.  You can read their chapter on emergency navigation for more information.

If you're thinking of buying a copy of the Nautical Almanac.  I suggest you consider Reed's Astro Navigation Tables.  They are much more compact and I find them simpler to use, however they are not traditional and won't match up to your text books exactly. As of about 2008 they might have discontinued publication of their tables.