500-Year-Old Astrolabe May be ‘Earliest Marine Navigation Tool’ Ever Discovered

Researchers at the University of Warwick have identified what is believed to be the earliest known marine navigation tool ever discovered.  The artifact, now determined to be an astrolabe, was excavated in 2014 from the wreck of a Portuguese explorer ship which sank during a storm in the Indian Ocean in 1503. The ship was called the Esmeralda, part of a fleet led by … [Read more...]

Merchant Marine Cadets Help Navy Knock The Rust Off Sextants

By Commander Justin Harts, USN (USS Benfold) According to the definitive book on marine navigation familiar to most naval officers – “The American Practical Navigator” – navigation began the first time humans had to find their way home using some object that caught their eye. Marine navigation was born shortly afterwards when humans observed that some objects could support … [Read more...]

In Double ECDIS Failure what good is a Sextant?

  By Jaquelyn Burton (Coeval, Inc.) ECDIS is becoming ubiquitous - and that is a good thing. However, as we move towards more and more vessels relying wholly on ECDIS and heavily on its integration with GPS, some new problems are of growing concern. At a time of an ever-increasing amount of automation, the U.S. Navy is going back to teaching celestial navigation after an … [Read more...]

Moon Setting on Calm Water

The above photo was taken using a technique we published in a story titled "Shipboard Digital Camera Tricks". Many more great moon pictures by the photographer, Licya, can be found HERE. by Miranda Max Sailors and captains have been using the moon to navigate the sea for ages. The history between the moon and the sea is deep and rich. We find the relationship even in … [Read more...]

World’s Sexiest Sextant? You Decide

MaritimeLinks.net (a must see site) brings us what is reportedly "The Worlds Sexiest Sextant" or less smashingly called the Cassens & Plath Horizon Ultra. Why? Here's their answer: WIRED magazine ran an article that was a real surprise to me: It was about a sextant, and a very good looking sextant at that! This old school navigational device has some sexy styling that any … [Read more...]