How to Find Latitude and Longitude on a Nautical Chart

Any GPS receiver will find Latitude and Longitude along your sailing routes at any moment. But as a skipper, have you plotted this information onto a nautical chart to check your position? Boost your sailing navigation skills to the next level with this vital sailing skill!

Navigating with Latitude

Cartographers create a grid-like web on your navigation chart. Latitude lines run in a horizontal direction. Longitude lines run in a vertical direction. Imagine the earth, balanced on her axis without a tilt. Wrap a “belt” around the earth, divide it in two and you have the equator–birthplace of Latitude. Label the equator 0 degrees.

Latitude lines parallel the equator to the north or to the south. To plot Latitude to find out where you are, you measure how many degrees you are north or south of the equator. Latitude reaches a maximum of 90 degrees at both north and south poles. Always label Latitude N, if north of the equator, or S, if south of the equator.

In chart navigation, use the scales on the right or left side to find your Latitude. These scales are broken down into degrees, minutes and tenths of a minute, or degrees minutes and seconds. One degree of Latitude equals sixty minutes; one minute of Latitude equals sixty seconds. Here’s a simple way to remember this:

1 degree = 60 minutes.

1 minute = 60 seconds.

Navigating with Longitude

Return to your imaginary globe. To measure Longitude, you again divide the earth in half, but this time lengthwise. Locate Greenwich, England on your globe. Draw a line around the earth that intersects Greenwich and both north and south poles. Cartographers call this the Greenwich, or prime meridian–the birthplace of Longitude. Label the Greenwich meridian 0 degrees.

Longitude lines parallel the vertical Greenwich meridian to the east or to the west. To find longitude, you measure how many degrees you are east or west of the Greenwich meridian. Longitude reaches a maximum of 180 degrees on the other side of the earth, at the International dateline. You must label Longitude E, if east of Greenwich, or W, if west of Greenwich.

Use either the top or bottom of the chart to measure Longitude. Like Latitude, Longitude is broken down into degrees, minutes and tenths of minutes or degrees, minutes and seconds.

How to Convert Increments of Minutes

All nautical charts show minutes broken down into increments so that you can plot parts of a minute. For example, if your gps position shows 23-13N; 82-16W, there are no increments to worry about. But, if your gps position shows Latitude 23-13.278N; Longitude 82-16.786W, you have increments of minutes. Before you plot your position, round off increments to the closest tenth of a minute. Round off like this: Latitude 23-13.3N; Longitude 82-16.8W.

Look at the Latitude scales (right or left side) and Longitude scales (top or bottom) on your chart. Are minutes broken down into tenths or into seconds?

Some charts show degrees, minutes, and tenths of a minute. The minutes will be broken down into 10 small segments. Each small segment equals one-tenth of a minute. Other charts show degrees, minutes, and seconds of a minute. If your chart shows degrees, minutes, and seconds, you will need to multiply the “tenths” of a minute by 6. Follow this example:

GPS reading (with minutes rounded as described earlier): Latitude 23-13.3N; Longitude 82-16.8W.

Multiply the increment of Latitude minutes like this.3 X 6 = 18 seconds.

Multiply the increment of Longitude minutes like this.8 X 6 = 48 seconds.

Plot: Latitude 23 degrees, 13 minutes, 18 seconds; Longitude 82 degrees, 16 minutes, 48 seconds.

How to Plot Latitude and Longitude

Use a pair of dividers to plot your position by Lat and Long onto the chart. Read the degrees and minutes from your GPS. Find the closest degrees and whole minute of latitude on your GPS.

For example, for Latitude 23-13.3N, you would look for 23 degrees, 13 minutes on the right or left side scales on your navigation chart. Push one point of your dividers into the 13 minutes. Open up the other leg 3 small segments (three tenths), above the 13 minute mark. If your chart shows seconds instead of tenths, open up the other leg of your dividers 18 seconds (.3 X 6) above the 13 minute mark. Place a pencil mark where the dividers touch the exact Latitude.

Next, plot your Longitude. Use the same exact method to plot your Longitude. Make sure to use the top or bottom chart scales to plot your Longitude. When you’ve found your Longitude, place a pencil mark where the dividers touch the exact Longitude.

Find Your Exact Position

Align your parallel rules or any other straight edge so that the top long edge touches the Latitude pencil mark. Make the parallel rules or straight edge perpendicular so that when you draw in the Latitude line, it will be parallel to all other latitude lines. Draw a light pencil line across the body of the chart to a location close to where you marked the top or bottom Longitude scale.

Repeat this same method to align and draw in your Longitude line. Where the Longitude pencil line intersects the latitude pencil line shows your exact position. You should now have a cross. Place a dot where the two lines cross. Circle the dot. Erase the light lines drawn from the edges of the chart to clean up the chart and keep your plot neat.

Use these easy steps to find Latitude and Longitude on your nautical chart fast. With these sailing skills, you will be well on your way to become a confident sailing skipper-anywhere you choose to go sailing!

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4 Tips To Rent A Yacht That Will Make Your Cruise The Most Enjoyable And Memorable

Yachts have for the longest time being considered as open only to those who can afford their luxurious nature. It is however very possible for you to enjoy a luxury yacht even if for only a few days of your holiday. With so many boat rentals available, you will definitely find a yacht that you can afford for your private or group cruise needs. There is really no better way of enjoying the waterways than in yacht and with a few helpful tips, you will be able to rent a yacht that makes all your dreams come true.

Tip 1 – Choose the right type of boat

There are different yacht charters to choose from to match your activity levels, budget and taste. You can go for a small sailing yacht or a motor yacht if you are looking for a romantic getaway for you and your partner. The same can also be suitable for a small family looking to spend an intimate time together. If you are a larger group, then a catamaran that is crewed makes a very suitable option, whereas a mega yacht is best for even larger groups made up of more than ten people. Remember yachts can also be rented for corporate getaways of the parties; whatever your needs, you will find one that works best for you.

Tip 2 – Get a fully crewed yacht

Most private and luxury yacht charters are fully-crewed meaning that you will have a captain and chef and other crew members to ensure that all your needs are met. Of course, there are people who would want to have the yacht all to themselves and hence choose to skipper themselves. But with a crewed yacht, you have all the time to sit back and relax or engage in other exciting activities on board without worrying about the boat at all.

Tip 3 – Go for a non-fixed itinerary

This can be a wonderful alternative compared to a fixed one where everything you do on the cruise is timed. When you choose a private charter yacht, you can make a loose itinerary such that you can stop whenever you want or stay longer in areas that interest you the most before moving to the next point. It is also a great way to deal with unpredictable weather because you can easily move to better places if the weather starts misbehaving. This kind of itinerary gives you flexibility that would otherwise be hard to enjoy. You will only be required to be back at the agreed time, but what you do in between is up to your preferences and agreement with your captain.

Tip 4 – Enjoy the cruise in your own style

When you charter a boat, you can choose to have an adrenaline filled adventure or a more relaxed kind of cruise for you and your partner. Most rental yachts come equipped with equipment for watersports meaning you can indulge as much as you wish if such adventure is what you are looking for. If relaxation is your thing, then find a vessel that has a therapist as part of its crew so you can enjoy a massage on the go. Some luxury yachts come with spa facilities so you can choose accordingly.

7 Basic Steps in Raising the Mainsail of a Sailboat For a Smooth Sailing Experience

To properly raise a sailboat’s mainsail, one should be able to do the following: familiarize the parts of the sailboat; locate all the sail sheets; point the boat into the direction of the wind; release the vang sheet and other supporting parts; announce when the sail is already raised; hoist the mainsail; and; make a final check on the mainsail for creases and luffs.

It is important to master the task of raising the sailboat’s mainsail properly. Once the mainsail is properly raised, your sailboat’s speed capacity can be maximized. Below are the easy procedure of properly raising the mainsail for a smooth and fast sailing:

Familiarize the parts of the sailboat

Always make sure that you know or at least familiar with the sailboat’s rigging mechanism. Know the important parts of the mainsail to effectively locate where the shackle and clew can be found. This is to make sure that you can properly attached all the supporting parts together before releasing the mainsail.

Locate all the sail sheets

Find all the sheets of the mainsail. Ensure that the sheets are complete for every sail. Also, locate the boat rope and halyard to easily prepare the sail for hoisting and decreasing or increasing the luff.

Point the boat into the wind direction

Point the boat in a direction where the wind directly blows over the sailboat’s bow. Before releasing the sail check if the wind indicator located on the boat’s mainmast is pointing forward. By doing this, raising the sail will be easier since the boat’s movement is minimized.

Release the vang sheet and other supporting parts

Release the vang that hold’s down the boom closer to the deck. This will make raising the sail easier. Also release the cunningham which pulls the sail downward the mast.

Announce when the sail is already raised

Always let everyone know that you are raising the sail. This is to ensure safety and to avoid any accidents while raising the sail. Remind the people in the sailboat to move away from the boom while the sail is being raise.

Hoist the mainsail

Confirm if everybody is on their position before giving the signal of raising the mainsail. Use a crank to pull the haylard for larger sailboats, while a cleat can be used in pulling the halyard for smaller boats. Slowly hoist the mainsail and check the sail slugs every time it is hard to hoist the sail. Ensure that the haylard is not jammed with anything and slowly pull it downward until the luff is tightened.

Make a final check on the mainsail for creases and luffs

Keep on raising the sail until its tip reaches the mast. Check for creases and luffs and fix it to properly unroll the sail. When the mainsail is properly hoisted, the halyard can already be cleated off. You can now start the boat to sail away.

Always follow the directions carefully,especially when hoisting the mainsail. Following these simple procedures will help you get ready for a smooth sailing journey.

Basics of Sailing

A basic knowledge of sailing principles, sailing terminology and safe boat handling procedures. The goal is to qualify you to be able to sail aboard without an instructor. Sailing is a life skill, and an enjoyable one at that.


To understand the interaction between a sail boat and the wind is to know the difference between true wind and apparent wind.

• True wind is the wind speed and direction of a stationary position like a flag flying in the breeze.

• Apparent wind is the true wind altered by the motion of the boat. An example is a motorcycle when you get on the motorcycle the true wind is zero but once you start going it is not and that is apparent wind.


• One of the most important things to know before sailing on the water is your Points of Sail.

• It is important to know that no sail boat can sail directly into the wind. The wind will push you backwards and you will end up in the no go zone. The no go zone is a Point of Sail. It is also called In Irons.

• A Sail Boat has a port tack and a starboard tack. When the wind is coming across the starboard side of the sail boat (the boom is on the port side), the boat is said to be on a starboard tack. When the wind is coming across the port side of the boat (the boom is on the starboard side), the sail boat is said to be on a port tack. The starboard side of a boat is the right side and the port side is the left side. Port is easy to remember because it has four letters and so does left.

• The highest Point of Sail, where the sail boat is in the highest point of wind before the no go zone is called close haul, it’s were you have your sails full but trimmed as close as possible.

• This is also the fastest Point of Sail, and the most fun. The next Point of Sail is close reach.

• Then when the wind is coming over the beam or the middle of the boat, this point of sailing is called a beam reach.

• When the wind is coming in directly over the stern (from directly behind the boat) this is called a run. The slowest Point of Sail and least efficient is a run and it is also the most dangerous Point of Sail because you can do an accidental jibe, and the boom could hit someone aboard the boat.

Need to Know.

• Sail boats nomenclature

• Tack and jibe movements

• Ropes and line knots

• Passage right of ways.

These are all things that someone needs to know in order to put together a sail boat, sail the sail boat, and come back to shore safely.