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shortypie13 karma

As a sailor, lit navigational aids are crucial during the night, and lighthouses are useful even during the day without the light on.

Why, in the age of GPS?

Lighting could always strike (literally) rendering your electronics useless.

Even if it doesn’t and you have AIS, GPS, etc., it’s still a great practice to confirm your position with visual sightings - 3 points for an actual fix.

You can also easily tell distance away from shore when the lighthouse light starts dipping the horizon (you barely start to see it), and that’s great for making sure you don’t run into shallower waters and again, confirm the depth your GPS says.

Even if I’ve had GPS, I always — ALWAYS — confirm my position using colors, numbers, lights and sounds (some buoys have light and sound patterns so you can tell them apart, on top of being colored and numbered).

Many times I’ve pulled into a harbor at night without anything more than Navionics on my phone and while that’s useful for planning my approach and knowing what to look out for, I always rely on the actual navigational aids and geographic attributes heading in to make my approach, and glance at Navionics to confirm.

Heck, even during the day when making approaches we use charts to plan our approach (electronic or paper), then visually confirm along the way, taking fixes as needed. Kind of a bitch when a buoy has been ripped out by a hurricane and it’s the 1st marker to a channel that’s 2/3ft deep on either side just outside the channel!

shortypie3 karma

Happy to help confirm that! I teach coastal navigation to boaters on the weekends as it’s something I’m passionate about (sailing, specifically), and rest assured the work you all do is still very, VERY necessary!!