Deck Compass-Use

I received a deck compass as a gift for my new kayak. I have never used a compass and charts before. Yea, a regular compass when I was a kid, but not one that is like a deck compass What’s a good instruction on how to use a deck compass while paddling?

If you want to become competent in compass use - beyond “go east 'til you hit the shore” - you should learn to read & use charts too. Franco Ferrero’s book “Sea Kayak Navigation” is a good overview. David Burch’s book “Fundamental of Kayak Navigation” is more in depth. There are DVD’s on the subject and many of the kayaking books have a chapter on navigation. Your profile says Central California. If you paddle offshore or the San Francisco Bay area, chart & compass skills are a very good thing.

2nd that advice.

In addition to the excellent advice
given above (I have the Burch book) I’d suggest mounting the compass well forward, if you can, as long as you can read it. It’ll help reduce the possibility of inducing seasickness, which some folks say happens more easily when your head is down looking at the deck. The factory compass wells are often well-placed to help with this, as on my WS boat.

Make sure the compass centerline
is aligned with the boats centerline. Especially with the bungee mounted compass it’s very easy for the lubber line to be 10 degrees off if your not careful, that can throw a monkey wrench in your navigation.

Good Luck