By Vladimir Brezina
Fundamentals of Kayak Navigation, 4th Edition, by David Burch. Falcon Guides, Globe Pequot Press, 2008
The availability of handheld charting GPS units has made small-boat navigation so easy that many kayakers are neglecting the basic principles that must be used to make navigation, including GPS navigation, safe and efficient. And what to do if that magic box fails, as in a kayak it sooner or later will, due to water intrusion or just dead batteries? David Burch is passionate about all aspects of small-boat navigation, and it shows. His Fundamentals of Kayak Navigation, now in its 4th edition (2008), is a classic.
In this book Burch covers
- nautical charts and chart reading
- compass use
- dead reckoning
- tides and currents
- GPS use
- marine radios
- navigation in traffic
- Rules of the Road
- navigation at night
- navigation in fog
- chart preparation and navigation planning
and many other topics.
The book is a pleasure to read. Each topic is covered in considerable but never excessive detail, and accompanied by plentiful, beautifully clear illustrations that effectively focus on the point being made in each case.
Burch well understands the difficulties of navigating a kayak that may be awash in waves, where the usual navigational tools are lacking, where it may even be impossible to refold the chart in the wind! This is a book specifically about kayak navigation.
The section on GPS and other electronic resources is inevitably somewhat dated (technology has progressed so rapidly since 2008!) and not so useful. This is not a book for those who want to understand how to use their GPS.
Otherwise, Fundamentals of Kayak Navigation is the one-stop resource for everything kayak-navigation-related. As I said, a classic!