People rely on modern technology a lot today. This is fine, we are supposed to use it accordingly, with technology making huge leaps, not steps, forward. But, one may ask himself, “What if technology fails?” It is not a big deal if your favorite video game isn’t working, but, what if lives are at stake? What if that on which you rely most fails you at the most crucial moment?
The global positioning system, or GPS, is one of most commonly used modern appliances. It is a system of satellites, which can follow and mark any GPS transmitter on the planet. In use since the 1970s, today it can be found on many devices, cell phones, tablets, Google Glass, basically, any device that has access to the Internet, or even just the GPS satellites themselves. But, is it really necessary? Of course, GPS will make any road trip, sailing included, a whole lot easier, but, contrary to the more reliable methods, it is highly dependable on a power source, among other things. One of the oldest ways of navigation is by following the stars. They don’t require any power source, meaning that they are constantly available. You don’t need a user’s guide, you just need to know how to recognize specific stars and constellations.
No matter how advanced a cell phone, laptop, or tablet you have, there is one kind of work that it will never be able to do for you, and that is physical work. You will need to steer your boat on your own, keep it in top-notch condition, in order for it to work perfectly. There is no application that can fix a hole in your ship’s hull, no program that can mend your torn sail, and no device that can tie or untie tangled ropes (though there is a tool that makes berthing a whole lot simpler). These are the things you must do on your own. If you are a less experienced sailor, or simply haven’t the time, you ought to ask for help from professional boat builders who know what they’re doing, because boat repairs are not something that can be put off for later. This includes painting, sail making, anti-fouling, rope conditioning, etc. The sea itself has a mind of its own, and you must be well prepared, before you sail off to face its beauty and its treachery. A good, well maintained and tightened-up boat or ship is essential for successful sailing and enjoying the marine world around you.
New or Old?
In order to achieve the full sensation of sea-bound life, a compromise must be made. Always rely on trusted methods, use navy charts, a compass, but also keep an alternative under your deck. A GPS navigation can help you a lot, if the sky is darkened, so you can sail without hopelessly guessing where you are. Also, keeping your sonar on at all times is important, because not all of the underwater rocks can be registered by satellites, and you don’t want to have your hull breached.
Everything considered, in order to run, you must first learn how to walk, using simpler and maybe archaic methods of sailing can provide you with the essential confidence, without risk of being stranded blind and deaf on the open sea, if our modern accessories fail us. But, most importantly, make a good name for your ship, keep it in good shape, and it will definitely won’t fail you.