Because this sort of boating usually being close to the shoreline, it should be never be taken lightly.
Even for ocean navigators the most dangerous part of the voyage is when approaching land.
Perhaps the most important aspect of inshore sailing is knowing where the hazards are and avoiding them.
Importance of a Plan.
While Pilotage is
mostly visual navigation, the
navigator/skipper will also need to monitor the depth, bearings and
and be aware of tidal
effects as well as keeping a general eye on the surroundings
Add to this all the other tasks which need to be addressed at
and end of any passage such as stowing or preparing mooring gear
lowering sails and the skipper can be overwhelmed with tasks.
Pilotage is usually required when sailing close to either
other navigational hazards.
This can often
mean that there is little room or
time for error.
The planning of course should be done
before setting off and
added to the
The extra advantages of having gone through the planning stage
are that you
will have gathered together all the relevant tables,
charts, etc and
will be setting off with a reasonably clear idea in your head of the
watch out for.
a well prepared pilotage plan one that is simple easy to read and at
same time is flexible will make the skipper’s task easier and allow him
to remain on deck with few visits below to check the chart.
And as it is meant to be used in the cockpit, it needs to be
There are numerous plastic sleeves, ‘ziplock’ food bags and
those presentation folders that can be used for this purpose or even
those hill walkers map cases.
It is also worth having a spare copy in your passage plan just
in case first
one gets too wet to read or even blown over board.
protect it, it should be easy
to read regardless of the conditions. In poor conditions especially at
night eyes can become
strained and spectacles can mist up so, keep it bold and simple.
Quite how you record your plan
will depend on what works best for you and
how complex the passage is going to be.
The place to start is on the chart
where you mark up
the planned route or routes and note all the navigation
bearings and distances of each leg of the route.
You may also wish to include other information from your Passage
Plan such as
that gained from Pilot Books, Local Notices to Mariners, the Tidal
However, keep it simple and easy to read, especially for night
your Plan should allow you to remain
flexible should circumstance dictate.
of the most common ways to record
the pilotage plan is to simply
make a list of
the marks, transits, hazards etc in the order in which you intend to
Include enough information for you to
recognize the mark, is
it a port or
starboard, or a northerly or southerly cardinal and many buoys have
numbers marked both on the chart and on the buoy itself which could be
on the plan.
Include the bearing to the mark from the previous one and any
bearings or sector lights.
You could also record the names and information of any waypoints
you have entered on
Another common method is to make a simple sketch or take a
tracing from the
This should show the information described above and could
also show the
main shallow areas to avoid and perhaps conspicuous marks on shore.
But as with the list, keep it simple.
Of course you
could use both methods combined.
You don’t want
to spend more
time drawing up a plan than it is going to take to complete the
On the other hand the
process of preparing
the pilotage plan will help to fix the main points in your mind making
an overall picture of the trip in your minds eye.