# How Do You Read a Nautical Location?

## How To Read a Nautical Location

Navigating the ocean is one of the oldest professions in the world and understanding the basics of nautical location is essential for any sailor or navigator who wishes to take their boat out onto the open water.

Knowing how to read latitude and longitude coordinates is essential for plotting a course on a nautical chart, so it’s important for all sailors to understand this basic navigation technique.

This article will explain how to read latitude and longitude coordinates, as well as how they can be combined into one nautical location that can be used on a chart to navigate safely at sea.

## What is a Nautical Location?

A nautical location is an exact point on the surface of the Earth that can be identified by its latitude and longitude coordinates.

The coordinates are made up of two parts: latitude, which measures how far north or south of the equator a point lies, and longitude, which measures how far east or west of the prime meridian it lies.

Together these two pieces of information create an exact point which can be used for navigating on the sea or plotting courses on nautical charts.

## How To Read Latitude

Latitude is measured in degrees from 0° at the equator up to 90° at either pole, with each degree further divided into minutes (‘) and seconds (“). To find out what degree, minute and second a particular point lies at simply read off this information from the scale on either side of your chart – usually found along one edge or in an inset box on some charts – using either degrees-minutes-seconds (DMS) notation or decimal notation depending on what you are used to working with.

## Understanding Degrees, Minutes and Seconds

In DMS notation each degree is represented by four digits: two for degrees (e.g 50°), two for minutes (e.g 00’) and two for seconds (e.g 06”). In decimal notation degrees are represented by one digit followed by a decimal point (e.g 50.), with minutes being represented after this as decimals (e.g 0.8).

For example, 50° 00′ 06″ would be written as 50°00’06” in DMS notation or 50 + 0.8 in decimal notation – with each minute equal to 1/60th of a degree and each second equal to 1/60th of a minute – i.e 0’/6 = 0/60 = 0/3600 = 0/216000 = 0/216 = 0/36000 = 0/360 = 0/6 = 0′.

## Using The Scales To Find Latitude

To find out what degree, minute and second any given point lies at simply use the scales found along one edge or in an inset box on your chart – usually labelled ‘Latitude’ – starting from zero degrees at the equator up until 90° at either pole – measuring each degree as you go along until you reach your desired location before reading off its exact coordinates from this scale using either DMS notation or decimal notation depending on your preference..

## Calculating Degrees Minutes And Tenths Of A Minute

To calculate degrees minutes and tenths of minutes simply divide sixty seconds by six – e.g 60″ / 6 = 10′ – then use this number as your multiplier when converting between DMS notation (50° 00′ 06″) and decimal notation (50 +0 .8) e .g 50″ / 6 = 8′ plus 6″ / 6 = 1′ – giving us our final result of 50 + 0 .8 when converted into decimal notation..

## How To Read Longitude

Longitude works in much the same way as latitude does with measurements being taken from zero degrees at Greenwich up until 180° east or west – depending on whether you are travelling eastwards or westwards across the globe – before being further divided into minutes (‘ )and seconds (” )for more precise readings using either DMS notation or decimal notation depending on your preference..

## Calculating Degrees Minutes And Seconds For Longitude

To calculate degrees minutes and seconds for longitude use exactly same formula as above when converting between DMS Notation (120° 30′ 40″) And Decimal Notation (120 + 30 /60 + 40 / 3600 )– e .g 120″ / 60 = 2′ plus 30″ / 60 = 5′ plus 40″ / 3600= 11 ” – giving us our final result 120 + 30/60+ 40/3600 when converted into decimal notation..

## Combining Latitude And Longitude To Create A Nautical Location

Now that we have both our latitude & longitudes converted into either DMS Notation Or Decimal Notation we can combine them together using commas- e .g 50 ,0 .8 & 120 + 30/60+ 40/3600-to create our nautical location which we can then use With A Chart To Navigate To Our Desired Destination..

## Using Nautical Charts To Navigate To A Location

Now that we have our nautical location we can use it with any standard maritime chart along with other navigational aids such as compass bearings & satellite imagery etc To Plot A Course From Our Current Position To Our Desired Destination On The Sea..

## Conclusion

Knowing how to read latitude & longitude coordinates & combine them together Into One Nautical Location Is Essential For Any Sailor Or Navigator Who Wishes To Take Their Boat Out Onto The Open Water & Plot A Safe Course On A Nautical Chart Without Getting Lost At Sea!