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Chapter 6 - Landmarks

Chapter 6 - Landmarks

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Published by: houseboi on Nov 23, 2009
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brief list, landmarks are
artificial features.
But landmarks also include
 prominent natu- ral features 
such as a mountain peak, glacier,volcano, cliffs, or other suitable natural ob- jects.
This chapter provides information on thetype and utility of landmarks and how theseare depicted on nautical charts. This chapteralso identifies sources of additional informa-tion (e.g., the
U.S. Coast Pilot, Chart No. 1,United States of America Nautical Chart Ab- breviations and Terms 
and the
Light List 
),which supplement that provided on the nau-tical chart. Finally, the chapter concludeswith practical pointers on the selection of land-marks for navigation and why landmarks aresometimes not seen or identified when under-way.
Importance of Landmarks in CoastalNavigation
All mariners, with varying degrees of for-mality, employ landmarks for navigation.Used in conjunction with seamans eye orinformal navigation, landmarks serve to de-termine an approximate position, define haz-ardous areas, provide directions for harbor
It is important that natural features have clearly defined reference points that can be accuratelylocated if these are to be charted as
Mountains with rounded peaks would probably
becharted as landmarks, although the topography would be shown.
Introduction and Overview
According to accepted NOAA
Nautical Chart Manual 
nomenclature, a
...is any fixed natural or artificial ob- ject on land which is prominent fromseaward and can be used in determin-ing a direction or position. The termexcludes objects expressly erected fornavigational purposes such as lights ordaybeacons. Prominence is the firstrequisite for a landmark, but ease of positive identification is also impor-tant. The unusual or unique featuremay qualify as a landmark because it iseasy to identify although not particu-larly prominent.A more complete list of landmarks typicallycharted is provided later in this chapter.Briefly, however, landmarks include such ob- jects as buildings, stacks, tanks, domes, tow-ers of various descriptions, spires and radioantennas. (Not all of these objects in a givenarea would be charted as landmarks, however.)Often, as in the examples presented in this
Even with the best charts, we are cautious about fixing our position, for it is so easy to goof.And the easiest way of all is by taking a mark,assuming it is the right one, and ignoring any others that may be in sight. Patrick Ellam 
NOAA Chart User's Manual6-2
entry, etc. For example, directions to a favor-ite anchorage based on recent local knowledgemight be given as:Stay in the main river channel untilpassing the red brick pump house onthe left (when northbound) then altercourse to starboard until the bow isaligned with the blue A-frame buildingbetween the flagpole and the marinaand the stern with the pump house.Continue along an imaginary line join-ing these two landmarks until well pastthe small island on the right-hand side,then turn to port.More formally, landmarks are
ob- jects used for determining
(e.g., with ahand-bearing compass or radar)
circles of position 
(e.g., with radar or an optical rangefinder for landmarks with charted height in-formation) so as to determine a fix or estimatedposition for the vessel. Table 61 providesboth general and specific illustrations of howinformation derived from landmarks can beused for marine navigation. As with ATONs,discussed in Chapter 5, landmarks can be usedto fix the vessels position, to serve as the vi-sual equivalent of radio beacons for homingor tracking purposes, to evaluate whether ornot a vessel is in dangerous waters (e.g., byuse of a danger bearing or danger circle), toidentify turn points, and for a variety of spe-cialized purposes such as compass calibrationor to determine whether or not the vesselsanchor is dragging. Included in the list of ref-erences at the end of this chapter are textsthat discuss these topics in detail. Names en-closed in parentheses (e. g., Bowditch) denoteparticularly pertinent references.In short,
charted landmarks are the logi- cal equivalent of shore-based ATONs for use 
Landmarks are generally selected so as to be detectable and identifiable from the sea by visual means.Some may be detectable and identifiable by radar, but charting as a landmark offers no guarantee that theobject can be detected and identified by radar. In particular, landmarks in built-up areas, such as cities, areoften lost among many land returns.
GENERAL:Used for determining range or bearing byvisual means (or radar) in coastal watersso as to determine a fix or estimatedposition;SPECIFIC ILLUSTRATIONS:Used for determination of fix, running fix,estimated position, set and drift of cur-rent;Used for plotting danger bearings, dangecircles, horizontal danger angles;Used (in conjunction with danger bearingor circle) for evaluation of vessel's posi-tion with respect to unobservable hazardsto navigation;Used for establishing vessel turningbearings;Used as visual equivalent of RDF beaconfor homing or tracking purposes;Used for compass calibration; andUsed for determining whether or not ananchor is dragging.
The landmark need not be charted for this purpose.
in coastal waters.
If accurately charted (morebelow), detectable, and readily identifiable,these can be superior to the use of floatingATONs (buoys)recall that fixed structuresare preferable to floating structures for posi-tion determination. In some areas of highpopulation density or numerous conspicuousnatural features, charted landmarks are ac-tually more numerous than charted ATONs.
Table 6-1. Utility of Landmarks Shownon Nautical Chart
Types of Landmark
Table 62 provides a list of the more com-mon artificial landmarks depicted on nauti-cal charts, together with pertinent brief re-marks. Refer to the Glossary given in appen-dix A for more complete definitions. It isworthwhile to study these and to gain practi-cal familiarity with landmarks by systemati-cally comparing the chart representation of landmarks in your area with the physical ap-pearance of the object. These training ses-sions can be made an enjoyable part of eachcruise. An experienced navigator can oftenform a highly accurate mental picture of landmarks to be found in unfamiliar wa-ters merely by studying the chart.
Continued on next page 
Usually reserved for those re-flecting antennas which arelarge in size and of open or grid-type construction.
A relatively small, upright struc-ture projecting above a buildingfor the conveyance of smoke.
A turret or small dome-shapedtower which rises from a build-ing and is small compared to thebuilding.
A large, hemispherical cupola,or a roof that is rounded or manysided. Their appearance lookslike a large
golf ball.
A dome known to contain radartype of equipment shall becharted as DOME (RADAR). Ifthe radar use is not known, sim-ply chart as DOME. Their ap-pearance looks like a large
golf ball.
A single staff flagpole rising fromthe ground and not attached toa building.
A flagpole rising from a buildingis not necessarily the mostprominent part of a building forlandmark recognition purposes.
Any scaffoldlike tower on whichflags are hoisted, such as aCoast Guard Skeleton steel flag-pole.
Since a gas or oil tank differs inshape and size from a watertank, the compound name isor
used. These are usually cylin-drical.
Table 6-2. Illustrative Landmarks

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