Who needs a sextant in these days of GPS, ECDIS, Radar and AIS? To paraphrase the new edition of the Admiralty Manual Of Navigation Volume 1, you might. Launched by the Nautical Institute a century after it first saw the light of day, the revised version of this classic book now covers navigational equipment undreamt of by its first authors but the old reliables still have their place when all else fails.
GPS antennae do get disconnected, as The Case Of The Wandering Monarch demonstrates. AIS equipment sometimes isn’t setup correctly by ‘helpful’ installers, as for ECDIS and radar just two words: “Cosco Busan”., or take a look at The Case Ofr The Triple Cross. When the Admiralty Manual was first published in 1898 one could buy a moderate sized country for the cost of some modern maritime accidents – indeed, the United States purchased the Philippines for $20 million in 1898.
In a foreword to the book Admiral Sir Jonathon Band, First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff points out. “As naval operations, international container logistics and energy supply systems become more globally interdependent, the consequences of any navigational accidents become greater.”
Safe navigation iosn’t enhanced when some bright spark ashore decides to install new equipment and software that nobody on the bridge knows how to use. .Royal Navy Lieutenant Commander Alan Peacock, who revised the manual says:: “This new book retains all the fundamental ‘Principles of Navigation’ so that mariners who rely on the computer-powered equipment found on ship’s bridges today can turn to an authoritative source for support. Without a resource like this, mariners are at the mercy of whatever software happens to be fashionable at the moment… The book is a manual in the true sense of the word. It is there to be used to solve operational problems. It provides both the underlying principles and the modern ways to use equipment and apply safe navigational techniques.”
The Admiralty Manual of Navigation Vol 1, Tenth Edition 690 pp ISBN 1 870077 90 3 is available from The Nautical Institute, price £90 plus postage and packing. Discounts for members of The Nautical Institute and bulk purchasers.