# Why Is Nautical Speed Called Knots?

Nautical speed, measured in knots per hour, has been an important part of sailing since the 17th century, when sailors first began to use a device called a “common log” to measure their ships’ speeds.

This article will explain why knots are used to measure nautical speed and how they became the standard unit of measure for navigation at sea.

## A Brief History of Knots and Nautical Speed

In 1661, an English mathematician and physicist named Sir Robert Hooke devised a system that could be used to measure a ship’s speed by calculating how many knots were tied into a rope attached to a board that was thrown overboard from the ship’s deck.

This device, called the “common log,” quickly became popular among sailors as it was much easier than other methods of measuring speed at sea, such as using sand or hourglasses or counting oar strokes.

## How To Measure Nautical Speed

To measure nautical speed using the common log, sailors would throw the log overboard from the ship’s deck while counting aloud each knot they tied into it until they felt the rope go slack–indicating that it had reached its maximum length–then they would record how many knots had gone overboard before that point as their ship’s speed in knots per hour (kph).

This method was so effective that it quickly became standard among sailors for measuring speed at sea and eventually developed into what we now know as “knots.”

## The Advantages of Measuring Nautical Speed in Knots

The main advantage of measuring nautical speed in knots is its accuracy, because each knot is exactly one nautical mile per hour (1 nm/h), it allows sailors to accurately gauge their ship’s speed without having to make any complicated calculations or conversions between different units of measurement.

Additionally, because knots are easy to count and record, they provide an efficient way for sailors to keep track of their ship’s progress over time without having to spend too much time on calculations or measurements.

## The Origins of the Common Log

The common log was invented by Sir Robert Hooke in 1661 as a way for sailors to more accurately measure their ships’ speeds at sea than other methods available at the time such as sand or hourglasses or counting oar strokes.

It consisted of a coil of rope with uniformly spaced knots tied in it which was attached to a piece of wood shaped like a slice of pie–hence its name “common log”–and could be thrown overboard from the ship’s deck while counting aloud each knot until it reached its maximum length indicating that it had reached its maximum speed (1 knot = 1 nautical mile per hour).

This method soon became popular among sailors due its accuracy and efficiency compared with other methods available at the time such as sand or hourglasses or counting oar strokes and eventually developed into what we now know as “knots.”

## How Sailors Used The Common Log To Measure Speed

Sailors would throw the common log overboard from their ships’ decks while counting aloud each knot until they felt it go slack–indicating that it had reached its maximum length–then they would record how many knots had gone overboard before that point as their ship’s speed in knots per hour (kph).

This method allowed them to accurately gauge their ships’ speeds without having to make any complicated calculations or conversions between different units of measurement and provided an efficient way for them to keep track of their progress over time without having too much trouble on calculations or measurements.

## How Knots Became The Standard Unit For Measuring Nautical Speed

As sailors began using this method more frequently, it became clear that measuring nautical speed in knots was far more accurate and efficient than other methods available at the time such as sand or hourglasses or counting oar strokes, this led them to adopt knots as the standard unit for measuring nautical speed despite some initial resistance from naval officers who preferred older methods such as sand clocks and hourglasses which were less reliable but easier to understand since they didn’t require any mathematical calculations on behalf of those using them.

Eventually however, knot measurements became widely accepted among seafarers due its accuracy and efficiency compared with other methods available at the time such as sand or hourglasses or counting oar strokes which made them far better suited for navigation purposes than any other option available during this period.

## The Growing Importance Of Knots In Navigation

As navigation technology began advancing during this period, so did our understanding and use of knot measurements, by late 18th century most navigators were using knot measurements rather than other methods such as sand clocks or hourglasses due its accuracy and efficiency which made them far better suited for navigation purposes than any other option available during this period, this led navigators around world adopt knots as their preferred unit for measuring nautical speed despite some initial resistance from naval officers who preferred older methods such as sand clocks and hourglasses which were less reliable but easier to understand since they didn’t require any mathematical calculations on behalf of those using them.

## Modern Alternatives To Knots For Measuring Nautical Speed

Today there are several modern alternatives available for measuring nautical speed such as GPS systems, radar systems, etc., but none have been able replace knots entirely due their accuracy and efficiency which makes them still widely used among navigators today despite advances in technology, additionally many modern navigational instruments still use knots either directly (such as GPS systems) or indirectly (such as radar systems) which further reinforces their importance in modern navigation even after centuries since first being introduced by Sir Robert Hooke back in 1661 when he invented his “common log” device which revolutionized maritime navigation forevermore by making accurate measurements possible without having too much trouble on calculations or measurements!

## Conclusion

In conclusion, though there are several modern alternatives available today for measuring nautical speeds such GPS systems, radar systems etc., none have been able replace knots entirely due their accuracy and efficiency which makes them still widely used among navigators today despite advances in technology, additionally many modern navigational instruments still use knots either directly (such as GPS systems) or indirectly (such as radar systems) which further reinforces their importance in modern navigation even after centuries since first being introduced by Sir Robert Hooke back in 1661 when he invented his “common log” device which revolutionized maritime navigation forevermore by making accurate measurements possible without having too much trouble on calculations or measurements!