Originally Posted by travlineasy
Paulo, you're right - they're not toys. They are highly sophisticated electronic devices that not only have made life a lot easier for most of the world, but additionally, made the world a lot safer.
Having worked with electronics since age 12, when I got my HAM radio license, which was 60 years ago, one of the things I notice most is the vast majority of individuals that purchase GPS/Plotter/Depth-Finder/HD-Radar combinations rarely pick up the instruction manual to learn how to operate the myriad of incredible features.
In many instances the operating manuals never come out of the Zip-Loc bag. The same individuals have never cracked the owners manuals for their cars, microwave ovens, Flat-screen TV, Smart Phone, etc... This is a shame, mainly because there is a wealth of great information at their fingertips, both with the devices and the manuals, and they're not taking full advantage of what the device has to offer. In fact, many owners of GPS/Plotters have no idea what the device can do other than display the charts and current position.
Someone posted above that sailors with these systems must spend a lot of time pushing buttons. In reality, that's not the case. Once the systems have been properly programmed, it's a "set it and forget it" scenario. After the initial programing, everything else is pretty much automatic. Like I said above, sit back, relax and enjoy the ride. In contrast, you're not constantly looking for things on a 2 X 3-foot paper chart, and staring at markers or buoys through your binoculars to try to determine your position. We've all been there, done that and got the tee
Granted, some of the owner/user manuals are horribly written, and some are nearly impossible for finding answers to simple questions. Fortunately, there are forums like this one where you can ask a question and usually find a viable solution. While it's not always the case, most of the time, at least at the Sailnet, it's the norm. Now, it may not be the answer you want to read, but then again, maybe it is.
I respectfully have a somewhat different opinion and experience than you concerning people who have electronics. I too have used them to differing degrees in my 40+ years of sailing. Starting with charts, dead reckoning , celestial navigation, in two trans Atlantic Crossings, to loran and analog radar, to electronic charts, to simple gps coordinates, to the now sophisticated chart plotters and digital radar. Most of my friends and sailing colleagues have good knowledge of the basics as well as their instrumentation.
I know very few who haven't read their manuals. It is true most don't use all the capabilities of these electronic AIDS to navigation, but its usually because they don't want that degree of information, not because they are cavalierly not learning it. I know very few who have never looked at these manuals. In fact in my small circle of he universe I find the opposite. I see my friends TEACHING each other the capabilities of the electronics they have. I see people asking many intelligent questions on specific equipment BEFORE thy purchase a particular brand or device both here on SN and also in real life.
Very few if anyone just turns it on and has a "set it and forget it " attitude. In fact many have their faces to buried in it. This electronics is a great AID to navigation and safety in most cases.
It Gets back to discussion, why o you really need to go sailing. Do you need a dodger, no but it has uses for some. Do you need a full enclosure, no, but it makes things more comfortable. Do you need a Chartplotter, no but it an save time and also make it easier and add to safety layers. Do need radar, no, but again the safety issue or some who travel at night or frequently have fog.
Gary, This is not directed at you,
It gets tiresome hearing the same song bashing those who utilize electronics on their boats. It doesn't make you a purist either way you choose. It doesn't mean you not know how to operate the electronics. It doesn't mean you dont know how or don't use paper charts. These are assumptions and statements which continue to proliferate from people with no concrete proof. Use of electronics or not knowing every knob on them doesn't make you less than. Nor does not using them. Calling sailors who use electronics power boaters or power boater mentality is not necessary and so untrue.
Electronics discussion reminds me in my industry when the computer and POS system was introduced. Dupes and handwritten tickets to the kitchen replaced by a computer printer. Many rebelled and fought it but time marches forward.
Live and let live. Make the choices best for you. Refrain from criticizing others for their choices. Don't ridicule them that they don't know how to use their own bought electronics to "your" standards.