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Ditch my compass?

Old 04-03-2019, 08:56 AM
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Default Ditch my compass?

I got a custom aqua traction pad made for my dash. The guy measured wrong and now I will have to move my compass to get it out of the design.

Im thinking about ditching it! The dash looks so much better with it gone, and the light failed in it anyway. I figure I would only ever use it in a total emergency when all electronics failed and nobodies cell phone worked. I can get a nice handheld to keep in the ditch bag and be just as prepared.

Is there a worst case scenario where this wouldnít be safe?
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Old 04-03-2019, 08:58 AM
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No way I would ever completely ditch the compass, but to each their own
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Old 04-03-2019, 09:04 AM
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On boat with auto pilot I think I could ditch the built in compass but since I've never owned a boat with autopilot the compass is how I navigate. I get the GPS to point me the rite way but if I head out into open ocean and use the GPS to pount me straight i swerve all over if I use the compass I can keep a fairly straight line
caper and aboattime like this.
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Old 04-03-2019, 09:19 AM
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How much for the old compass?
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Old 04-03-2019, 09:19 AM
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I don't know how you use your boat, but I would have a hard time running at night, by GPS. The GPS may tell you what course to steer, but the compass is going to help me stay on heading. I don't want to chase the XTE indicator on the GPS. Also, steering offshore where there is nothing but a featureless ocean with no landmarks to steer to will be difficult. I have A/P, but a loose wire or a blown fuse will shut that down in a heartbeat. I never saw my compass as a style inhibitor.
I use my compass, but to each his own.
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Old 04-03-2019, 09:20 AM
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Originally Posted by bluewatermafia View Post
I got a custom aqua traction pad made for my dash. The guy measured wrong and now I will have to move my compass to get it out of the design.

Im thinking about ditching it! The dash looks so much better with it gone, and the light failed in it anyway. I figure I would only ever use it in a total emergency when all electronics failed and nobodies cell phone worked. I can get a nice handheld to keep in the ditch bag and be just as prepared.

Is there a worst case scenario where this wouldnít be safe?
If the guy measured wrong, why isnít he making you a new one? No way Iím removing a compass.
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Old 04-03-2019, 09:28 AM
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I know this is heretical and Iím a big fan of deíd reckoning, but Iíd dump it. Have the handheld backup (or two, or three) stored in the console for insurance. Sounds like you donít use it for steering, so no use for it except emergencies (which realistically wonít happen to you).

re: compass vs chart plotter for steering - I find chartplotter is better (no magnetic dip - lead/lag, plus no sensitivity to pitch or roll). But the way that works best for me is not using the magenta line as a primary:
- Primary: setup the data block to have Track and Desired Track on top of each other. Keep them matched. Very sensitive and accurate
- Secondary: course deviation indicator (on the chartplotter)
- Situational awareness - magenta line on the chart
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Old 04-03-2019, 09:33 AM
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Keep the compass and replace the light (cheap & easy). If you lose power to accessories (e.g. bad fuses, burnt terminal block, etc.) and even minimal location awareness you can get home with a compass.
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Old 04-03-2019, 09:39 AM
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I can set my Garmin 1040xs to have the compass tape across the top of the screen. It gets it from the heading sensor for the AP I think. Should function just like the dash mounted compass for offshore driving, no?
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Old 04-03-2019, 09:45 AM
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Originally Posted by JMarkB View Post


If the guy measured wrong, why isnít he making you a new one? No way Iím removing a compass.
the guy thatís doing the work for me planned to pull the compass and remount on top of the dash pad. But now that itís off, I really like how clean the dash looks without it.
Normally I would have it made right, but itís a buddy doing budget work, so itíll slide
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Old 04-03-2019, 09:46 AM
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Originally Posted by LeakinLena View Post
Keep the compass and replace the light (cheap & easy). If you lose power to accessories (e.g. bad fuses, burnt terminal block, etc.) and even minimal location awareness you can get home with a compass.
how would that compass be any better than a decent handheld kept in a ditch bag?
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Old 04-03-2019, 09:50 AM
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I can't fathom not having a traditional magnetic compass available, along with some paper charts. Electronics fail. It's always a good idea to teach your wife/girlfriend/kids how to steer a compass course.
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Old 04-03-2019, 09:56 AM
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Originally Posted by RickC137 View Post
I can't fathom not having a traditional magnetic compass available, along with some paper charts. Electronics fail. It's always a good idea to teach your wife/girlfriend/kids how to steer a compass course.
Iím a whipper snapper, I would have no idea what to do with a paper chart lol I have never seen anybody Use one down here in FL.
I would still have a compass on the boat, just not a fixed one. The way I figure it, I should never have to steer a compass course these days. Point it east or west depending on what side we are on, and go till you hit land in an emergency.
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Old 04-03-2019, 09:59 AM
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No compass? Not even if I were on a 10 acre pond.
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Old 04-03-2019, 10:06 AM
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Keep the compass. I just installed an amazing Raymarine system, but the finishing touch was a new Ritchie Compass SS-5000 "Just in case".


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Old 04-03-2019, 10:10 AM
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I would never be without a compass, only once in the last 20 years have I had to navigate home using my compass..however I was 60 miles offshore at 11pm. Without it probably would have made for a bad night....Lost all electronics and my handheld GPS batteries were not very good...so depending on what type fishing you do..how far you venture a compass can be as important as your lifejacket!
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Old 04-03-2019, 10:11 AM
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Originally Posted by RickC137 View Post
I can't fathom not having a traditional magnetic compass available, along with some paper charts. Electronics fail. It's always a good idea to teach your wife/girlfriend/kids how to steer a compass course.
Don't leave home without one. I've seen people get lost in a fog and be going 180 degrees the wrong way from what they thought.
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Old 04-03-2019, 10:16 AM
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This is THT. You shouldnít even go in a lake without a sat phone, 2 float plans, eprib, life raft .
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Old 04-03-2019, 10:19 AM
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Iím not sure you guys are actually reading the thread. Iím not banning all compasses from my vessel. I just want to ditch the big one on the dash. I can have a whole box full of liquid filled compasses down in the console.

In what way would a fixed mount be superior to a handheld in only determining a cardinal direction?
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Old 04-03-2019, 10:33 AM
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I grew up totally depending on compass navigation, but after reading this I realized I have not used mine in years.

I would at least carry a spare and a handheld GPS for a lightning strike or electrical problem.
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