An essential piece of kit aboard most boats, the compass is crucial in marine navigation. When selecting the compass it's important to consider whether it will be lit, visible at night, with or without compensation, and does it have the correct card balanced for the area you are using it. The two main choices are:
Handbearing Compasses / sight bearing compasses: Generally this is a small compass that is handheld. It will be fitted with a site that you then use to accurately identify locations and calculate bearings.
Fixed mount compasses:
Types of compass fixed mounts available are:
- Flushmount on a horizontal surface - can provide a good viewing angle for the compass, often used on the flybridge, central steering area or upper deck.
- Flushmount on a vertical / inclined surface - A Bulkhead compass can be mounted within easy view of the cockpit cabin
- Bracket - Extremely popular with powerboats as it allows quick and easy mounting in several locations on the boat. And great for boats with awkward angles, it can also be taken away and stored safely after use.
- Binnacle for steering wheel - for sailboats that have a steering wheel, extremely popular.
- Mini Binnacle mounting - an ultra slim and more compact version, allows for the compass to be mounted more easily with no cut out hole and can be stored safely after use.
- Removable - The compass sits in a fixing plate that can be mounted, allows the compass to be removed at the end of the day and stored safely. Mast mounting - An ideal mount for boats with less available space, a mast mount kit is available to make this an easy job.
- On fixing bracket - Usually this is a multi function compass