Navigation question...

I’ve been using a GPS to navigate for the most part, but still like to practice with a map and compass, just for fun and as a backup in case the GPS fails someday. I have a deck mounted compass which is nice, but I’m trying to decide where to keep my chart while paddling.

Do you keep in under the bungees in front of the cockpit. Do you keep it flat or rolled up? It seems like a hassle because I tend to stow other stuff up there, too. Like a waterbottle, camera, etc. I’m just looking for ideas.



waterproof chart bag or laminate and yes front bungies and flat.

if you keep other stuff up there it can get in the way of paddling and rescues and it can be blown off the deck in seas, surf wind or doing rescues.

all I keep on deck is my chart.


On deck also
flat in a chart case. I do keep more than Flatpick on deck. But I worked the arrangement to keep the chart visible flat and to have the other items both secure and in a non-threatening location.

I ended up being the primary “in charge” for using the GPS unit on our paddles so far (my husband carries the VHF unit), though we may be doubly equipped this coming season. So that’s on my deck.

Also on my front deck are my pump and the RollAid Backup device (in bigger water). The pump can sit well to the side, the GPS unit is on a single clip and placed somewhere to the side of the primary chart real estate (and in the bag it traps air so it doesn’t whack anything like me hard upside down) and I have custom RDF’s that allow the BackUp device to be in a spot where it is secure and I can just push it to the side to read a chart. Worst case is my chart is folded over a bit, but I still always have any given stretch of paddling in a single view)

I am pretty tight in the LV and probably couldn’t count on a wet re-entry if I had the pump under the deck, so it has to stay on top.

Camera, water etc are in the day hatch.

I’ve always practiced rolling up and paddle float rescues with these three items on the deck, wouldn’t want anything else up there. The spare paddles go on the back and on a bad day that complicates things enough.

on deck
chart flat, right in front.

Other stuff? What other stuff?

– Oh yes, water. I use a camelpak. It stays right behind me on the rear deck. The drinking tube is long enough to reach my mouth from there.

– camera: in PFD pocket.

–GPS: also on front deck but I move it around the chart so the area of immediate interest on the chart is still visible. Not toohard to do with a big chart and small GPS.

– Spare paddle: rear deck.

– Pump is behind the seat, wrapped inside the roll-up paddle float, which is buckled to the seat.

I don’t like the distraction of stuff on the front deck. So just about every thing extra goes either on the back deck, or inside the dayhatch if small enough.

I wouldn’t be caught dead owning a boat without a dayhatch!

On the deck under the bungee…
just to the left of my GPS holder.

I also keep my pump, and a water bottle on the front deck.



On deck
For reasons Flatpick mentioned I like to keep my deck clear as much as possible. The chartcase gets tethered to the deck. My spare paddle and shorttow/paddlepark sometime go up front, but they don’t obstruct the chart.

My pump goes underneath the deck and paddlefloat goes behind the backrest. My waterproof camera goes in a compartment on top of my sprayskirt. My VHF goes on my shoulder. Water bag goes on my back. My handhelp compass gets tethered to a PFD pocket. If I had a GPS I guess that I would tether it to a PFD pocket. Let’s go!


Note: Bungies and surf
Note: If you’ll be entering/exiting through moderate to heavy surf - you will want to be able to have a handy (eg day bulk-head) storage place for your immediate use items. Anything “bungied” or not secured in the cockpit must be considered expendable when going through surf (eg: I keep a sponge in the cockpit - which I consider expendable - given the odds that the sprayskirt gets imploded (or worse yet - wet exit) )

Laminated under bungees
with a small craft nav aid attached. I use a sharpie market to write up tide times, headings I might want to use etc on the laminated chart.

Water bottles are passe. got to put a camelback in a pfd pack or somewhere. I like my pfd pack so that if I come out of the boat and end up on an island I have some water. I do sometimes carry a contact tow across the front deck and on the back deck I often carry a spare paddle and if I am leading newbies a pump secured by a fastex buckle (othewise is goes under my from deck in the clip nystrom taught me how to make.

Keep the chart on deck
I use either laminated charts or a chart case under the foredeck lines and sliders. I don’t use bungee, as it’s pretty much worthless for actually securing anything. One good wave and you have a yard sale on the water.

I carry my spare paddle (Greenland “storm” paddle) and contact tow on the foredeck, and often a neoprene hood. All my other gear is carried in the boat or on my body. My drink for the day is in a hydration bladder on the back of my PFD. I have a GPS, but it’s usually on shore with my spare gear, as I find a chart and compass much easier and faster to use.

chart holder
I bought a chart holder that doubles as a water bottle holder from REI many moons ago. It was made by Sitka Outdoor Products. Mounts on the deck several ways.

Flat on deck
in chart case under bungies and sometimes clipped.

I try to keep my fore deck pretty clear. For big water paddling:, chart, water bladder and vhf radio.

If I am doing dimensional water paddling, everything on the fore deck is clipped. I use velcro straps for items on the aft deck.

Rear deck has spare paddle and pump.

Everything else I might have to access at sea is in day hatch. I will not have a boat without a day hatch.

Don’t look like a K-Mart Sale Table.
The chart goes flat under the bungies in a chart case.

Nothing else belongs on the front deck because of all of the reasons mentioned by Flatpick about rescues, re-entries, etc.

The pump goes between the seat and the side of the hull if there’s room. Otherwise behind the seat.

Water is in a Camelback attached to my PFD. Camera is worn around the neck when in use or in the day hatch.

Snacks, extra water, etc is in the day hatch too.

The spare paddle is either a 2-piece modern paddle on the back deck, or if I am carrying a spare GP, it is on the front deck.

GPS is in the day hatch. You don’t need to be constantly looking at it. That’s what the chart is for.

A boat with a clean deck is beautiful. Once you fill it up, it looks like the K-Mart sales tables after the blue light special just ended.