I have recently read some books and courses on nautical navigation. All of these start teaching how you use paper based navigation charts, and teach the usage of protractors and such. There is even the guidance to mark the route on the chart with a pencil, so it can easily be erased afterwards. The obvious alternative would be to use electronic navigation equipment that can simplify these tasks a great deal.
Now, I understand that sailing is very much an exercise in risk management, and everything must have a backup and a second backup - so even star navigation is taught in some places. However, I would expect that when sailing a decently sized and equipped vessel, I personally would have access to:
- Primary navigation equipment built into the boat, including GPS and charts
- Laptop with downloaded charts and navigation software
- Tablet with downloaded charts and navigation software and GPS
- Phone or several phones with downloaded charts, navigation software and GPS
- A floating handheld navigator with GPS and charts (or two)
- GPS location on my waterproof wristwatch, perhaps even charts
In addition to these, there would be several ways to generate power on the boat, and several power banks that can be used to charge equipment.
The unexpected can always happen and depending too much on technology can be a problem - but I am honestly having a hard time figuring out a situation where I would have access and means to use a paper chart, but would not have at least one electronic device with GPS and charts available.
So is this vestige of simpler times, or is there a significant reason to actually have a paper chart and tools for navigation and taking the time to learn their usage.
Thank you for the answers so far. Even though there hasn't been a lot of new information in them, they have been very helpful in understanding the mindset.