Autopilots The first self-guided equipment was introduced in the 1920s to control model yachts, but it wasn’t until 1948 that this principle was applied to full-size yachts. Being at the helm for long periods, looking at the observation instruments and observing well can be quite tiring. The autopilot lifts the helmsman from the steering in the right lane and leaves him free to maintain proper surveillance. The autopilot can be set to drive a compass course or a wind-related course. A fluxgate or electronic wind indicator sends the information to a microprocessor which then performs the necessary rudder movements to bring the ship back on the desired path. Mechanical force is applied to the rudder by electric linear actuators, hydraulic pumps or rotary motors. GPS plotters / charts can be used to enter navigation instructions for the autopilot.
The chargers will keep the batteries fully charged and extend their life.
Plotter plotter The plotter typically consists of an antenna mounted on the top of the boat to plot GPS signals and a display unit located in the navigation station or on top of the boat. The position of the ships is sent by the antenna to the display unit which in turn displays it graphically on the chart. The graph itself will look similar to its paper equivalent and will show depth, land mass, navigational aids such as buoys, and potential hazards in the form of debris and obstacles. The user can add waypoints to the graph and zoom in and out. Plotters can be connected to drive autopilots and / or send GPS data to a depth sounder or radar. They can also interact with a laptop allowing a complex traffic pattern away from the boat and then inserted into the circuit diagram after arriving on the boat.
Magnetic transmitters work like traditional compasses by using magnets to determine the direction of ships relative to the Earth’s magnetic field, then transmit the boats to an electronic screen. It makes steering easier than a traditional compass because it shows more stable addresses and doesn’t suffer from the “lag” that occurs when turning. They can interact with blueprints, autopilots and radars. Fluxgate compasses consist of two pieces of easily saturated magnetic material with coils wound around them in opposite directions. Alternating current passes through the coils and the material is saturated in one direction and then the other. The Earth’s magnetic field slightly affects when saturation occurs, first in one coil and then in the other. Then the difference is calculated by providing an output proportional to the earth’s magnetic field. It is accurate to 0.1 °. Their outputs can be digitally displayed by the helmsman or they can interact with autopilots, blueprints and radars.
Fishfinders work on the same principle as sonar. The transducer emits a narrow beam of high frequency sound. This is reflected by any solid object and the time between sending and receiving the echo is measured. The speed of sound through the water is known and therefore it is possible to calculate the range or distance from the sea floor. Then it is displayed in meters. The Forward Looking Sonar (FLS) allows you to see the dangers underwater before actually being on top of them. Typical range for an FLS is 150 meters.
An Emergency Position Indicating Beacon (EPIRB) is a device designed to float free from a ship in distress. It then sends out a radio signal that can be detected by search and rescue satellites with assisted satellite tracking (SARSAT). They transmit a message to a ground station which in turn can initiate a search and rescue operation.
The fishfinders use the same sonar technology. A narrow beam of high-frequency sound is sent from the transducer and this is reflected by solid objects such as the sea floor. By developing this technology, fish identification tools provide displays that show where fish are and can differentiate between bait fish and larger species
Global Positioning System (GPS Receivers) – This system was originally designed for military purposes and is owned and operated by the United States Department of Defense. 24 satellites are arranged in a “bird cage” around the world, where they are positioned in such a way that a direct 4-satellite line of sight can be created anywhere on the earth’s surface. The fix is achieved by accurately measuring the distance between the satellite and the GPS receiver at a specific time.