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30 Types of Ships Navigation Equipment and Resources Used Onboard Modern

Modern ships are filled with a lot of modern day technology. These can help navigation officers as well as sailors to sail especially in uncharted territory. With the help of these ships navigation equipment, it’s easier to travel through the seas.

Usually, a ship officer would have to do things in the most conventional ways and this can take a lot of time.

But since technology came along, sea instructors as well as officers are trained to instead make use of these technology. And since then, all of the travels on the sea are more safe, efficient, as well as accessible by a lot of people.

More about: Selling Ships Equipment

Types of ships Navigation Equipment and Resources Used On board Modern

There are many new navigation equipment that serves different purposes. Most of which will enhance the efficiency of the sailor as well as give advanced navigation to the captain on board.

Ship Flags

First up, this is probably the simplest navigation system that is on board. A ship flag is as you know will signal a ship’s position. As well as give it identity on which country that this ship had came for. Most modern ships will have their own flags so it is identifiable from afar.

Black Diamond Shape

Black diamond shape is an object that is used and does not require electricity. Instead, it relies on light. This can only be used in broad day light because it will shine during day. This is important so that it signals that the ship is being towed or being moved to another location.

Transmitting Heading Device

Next up, we have THD or transmitting heading device. This device is an electronic device that is being used for the sole purpose of showing where the ship is heading. For example, the the THD or transmitting heading device also works as a compass as well as a mini GPS in ships navigation equipment.

Wheelhouse Posters

Wheelhouse posters are a thing that is used to display detailed information. Before, we have showed you some of the less detailed. THD is different from wheelhouse posters because wheelhouse posters shows the speed, the maneuvers of the ship as well as where it is turning towards.

Record of Maintenance Navigational Equipment

A record of maintenance of navigational equipment is an official thing to have. Each ship must have a hard copy of its navigational system. This is important because it will indicate where the objects are and when it has been maintained. This record will be signed by officials such as master and officers of the vessel.

Record of Navigation Activities

Not only records of equipment, now you also need a record of all activities on board. This is very important because it will be used as a reference for studies on ships navigation equipment.

So for example a ship is being maneuvered, then a record must be kept.

Black Ball Shape

Another thing to keep in mind that a ship also needs to signal other ships even in broad day light. And the best way to do that is to use a dark object or known as a black ball shape.

The black ball shape will be seen and to give other ships information.

Maneuvering Booklet

There are situations in which the captain or any commanding officer is confused and has no idea on what to do next. In these kinds of situation, it is important to get a reference from somewhere.

And since there are no any internet service in the middle of the ocean, then you need a booklet.

The maneuvering booklet serves the purposes of giving general information about the vessel. Things such as general description and even up to functionalities of each navigation system.

Forecastle Bell

A forecastle bell is an important thing to have when a ship is having an emergency. This also includes power outage as well as error in the ships navigation equipment. A forecastle bell is not too big of a size, but it serves the purpose of being very very loud.

GPS Receiver

A GPS receiver is also an important tool to have. GPS has always been a very key component to sailing as well as modern navigation systems. Without GPS, a ship can go blind and easily crash to other ships. A GPS shows the location, as well as the coordinates of each ship’s positioning.

Voyage Plan

Everytime a sailor wants to travel to another place, they need what is called as a voyage plan. A voyage plan is supposed to give detailed information on where to turn, where to go, as well as who are the people on board. It also has weather information so that the captain can look upon it for references.

Pilot Card

Pilot cards is basically a book that has all of the needed information all ships navigation equipment. This means that it will list up all of the pilot’s moves as well as the mechanics of sailing their ship.

Daylight Signalling Lamp

Lamps are not only use in the dark. Because even in a day like situation, a ship might not see you coming from a mile away.

That is why the daylight signalling lamp is very much needed. On top of that, these lamps can also be used to signal at night time.

But of course it requires a huge amount of electricity as well as power source. That is why sailors need to do routine checks.

Ship Whistle

A ship has many functions. If the horn does not work, well there has need to be an alternative. Ship’s horn has the exact same purposes. The ship’s whistle only needs to run on low electricity. And it could even be done manually.

Navigation Lights

Light comes in many different shapes and sizes. The navigational lights is used so that a ship can be clearly seen by other ships. But this navigation lights is more useful when the ship is closing up on a dock. For example in modern ships navigation equipment, when a ship wants to park and it needs visible lighting.

Sound Reception System

Sailors needs to be occupied and be kept in notice all the time. The sound reception system is a very good way in which it can direct all of the attention to the captain. Without it, a ship is as good as dead.

Especially in a very huge ship, a sound reception system is very much needed. This is so that the ship could inform all of the crews on board. This sound system must also pass the test for sound systems on board.

GPS Receiver Tool

A GPS is able to do a lot of great things and very useful things. But most of all, a GPS must also be used to trace the distance in which a ship is being positioned. There are more simpler gps like handheld gps.

By using a GPS receiver, people could basically make a trade on where it starts and where the current ships position is. All of this can be done without having to use any other tech besides the satellite.

The satellite will link up different positions of ships. That is why the receiver is important and the GPS would never work without it.

Read more: Know What is a Binnacle on Ships

Rate of Turn Indicator

Just like any other vehicle, the boat or ships in general can also do a turn. But when they do so, they do it in a very tricky manner.

This is because the rate of turn indicator is determined by the angle as well as the ships Navigation equipment moved. Things such as wind, wave of the seas, and weight, could shift the ship’s balance.

Captains as well as sailors use the rate of turn indicator to indicate the specifics of their ship. The more detail they are, the safer ships will be from flipping over.

Voyage Data Recorder

Black box might just be one of the most perfect terms to describe this object. A vehicle such as the boat needs to have an active recording in case of emergencies. The voyage data recorder is basically a voice recording system. It records all audio and it will be used for investigation. On top of that, it has a high durability and can withstand high water pressure.

Rudder Angle Indicator

Rudders are a very important component to a boat that is sailing. If it over turns or twists in the angle, then your boat might be tilted to one side. The rudder angle indicator will indicate the angle of which the rudder is going to be turned. This tool can be controlled from the main platform.

Long Range Tracking Identifier

To make it simple, LRIT is a system that relies on tracking as well as identifies all kinds of ships. Ships are very complex and there are many of them. One wrong mistake could cost a global economic halt. For example this applies to huge ships that carries many containers. To prevent any type of crashing as well as minimize risks, the sailors uses LRIT. LRIT is supposed to be a tracker placed in many huge boats or ships. These are usually tanker ships which carries a minimum of around 100 tons of weight.

Automatic Idenfitifcation Navigational Tool

Our next tool in this list is called as an automatic identification system or AIS. The AIS is a tool that is used to locate one ship to another. It also acts as an additional tool to the already existing GPS. But the GPS alone might not be enough for a ships navigation equipment. The AIS or automatic identification system tracks the radio signals. One ship to another will be sending radio signals. This could also be used as a means of communication for ships and vessels alike.

Electronic Chart System

The ECS or electronic chart system is functioning to be a mini map. Some of you might have known that ships actually have a manual map as well as a mini map. The mini map will show points. The points will mostly blink because one point would not always stay the same. This makes it very easy for crews to track a ship’s movement. Whether or not a ship is moving in close or still locate far away.

Echo System

The echo system is a sound system that is used to measure how deep the sea is. This is so that a ship could release its anchor. Without the echo system, sailors would not know how much depth they are at. Usually ships would release an anchor when it knows the depth already. And then, these seas would be good for the anchor to be dropped. It works by sending a radio wave and measure how much time it takes to bounce back.

Speed Log Device

Ships must always be monitored and put into maintenance mode. But in order to do that, engineers need information for the maintenance. The speed log device logs in all of the ship’s speed from time to time. From the time a ship increases speed up to the time it stops. This is why ships navigation equipment very important to track the progress as well as how well an engine is functioning.

Automatic Tracking Aid

A ship could be tracked all the time and whenever there is a problem. Automatic tracking aid is basically like auto pilot. So when this is on, the captain could just sail straight without having to always navigate.


Closing up to the end, not we have what is called as an ARPA. ARPA is an automatic radar plotting aid. Before, we have mentioned how there is an auto pilot system. With this, ARPA will help ships find the best routes. For example a ship has to turn left or right. Then this is also an important tool to have.

Auto Pilot

Next up, we got the auto pilot. Auto pilot is a device that is used when the ship is sailing at night as well as in a straight line. Hence it will control all of the torque as well as speed of the ship. More about Auto Pilot

Magnetic Compass

Compass is always a tool that is needed. A compass will help navigate left and right. This is the last resort if any other electronic tool does not work on ships navigation equipment.


Last tool on our list today is a radar. The radar is supposed to show the objects all around the ship. Starting from icebergs, huge rocks, boulders, as well as small islands. That is all about today’s article and see you next time.


So all types of ships navigation equipment above are very useful in helping pilots control the ship. All modern equipment has their own advantages compared to conventional ones, of course this will make the ship’s pilot and crew work more effectively.

The most important thing from making all the modern ship equipment is to maintain the safety of the crew, so that all the goods carried by the ship can arrive safely or the destination of the ship being sailed can be realized.