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Coastal Navigation

By Adam Harmer

Sea kayaking is all about being prepared, so here's a quick list of top tips on preparing water-proof laminated maps that you might consider trying during these cold and dark winter evenings to make things easier when you get out on the sea. Planning ahead and preparing your maps is of real benefit and if you can do this before you're out in the elements, in the comfort of your own home, you will be able to add the wind direction and tide times to your maps as you need to.

Tip One

Coastal Navigation

Use a Map instead of a chart, Maps tend to have a lot more information on than charts for sea kayaking, such as contour lines, buildings, roads, parking spots, places of interest, gridlines.

Tip Two

Coastal Navigation

When I know where I am likely to be going I will collate the maps and charts and transfer the relevant information

Tip Three

Coastal Navigation

This photo, shows the OS Anglesey 1:50000 map, I have lifted the overfall and tidal diamond information from the chart and added this to the map.

Coastal Navigation

If the information doesn.t change, ie. the flashing sequence of a lighthouse or a wreck that maybe exposes at low water I would add this to my map before laminating.
A list you might consider could be
. Lighthouses
. Overfalls
. Transits between headlands
. Significant Buoyage
. Useful Phone numbers (Taxi shuttles, Coastguard)
. Your Name and Email address (so other people don.t nick your prize maps)
. Bird Restrictions or seasonal info
. Tidal Flow Rates, whether the Overfalls work on Springs and Neaps, their speed a direction. Maybe they only work on the Ebb or Flood, like Penrhyn Mawr

Tip Four

Once you have transferred all the information you need, you might consider cutting the map into smaller sections so you can fit them onto the deck of your sea kayak. Once the map is ready you can go ahead with laminating it.

Tip Five

Coastal Navigation

Once laminated you can use permanent OHP pens. I use red and green ones, you use these after laminating but make sure you don.t get the nib wet otherwise they stop working, another alternative is a chinograph pencil and knife to sharpen it with after the map has been laminated.

Tip Six

Don.t be tempted to hole punch the laminates, as over time water will seep between the holes and destroy your lovely map.

Tip Seven

All you have to do then is keep a file, say of North Wales and then at the weekend you pick up your file and just select the sections you need before getting on the water.

Tip Eight

Coastal Navigation

Finally you will need to remove all your red or green pen from the top of the laminate.

Coastal Navigation


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