Frequently asked questions

Q.  Who uses Cockpit Cards?


A.  Cockpit Cards are used by individuals who want a means of quick reference that is not going to turn to pulp as soon as a wave or rain threaten.  They are also used by Sailing Schools both as part of the theory training and afloat as they are ideal to pass around the cockpit whatever the weather.  They are useful for all the RYA sailing and navigation courses from Competent Crew to Yachtmaster.  They are used by many training organisations and others like Water Police etc.

They are also ideal for anyone undertaking RYA Competent Crew/ DaySkipper and Coastal Skipper/ Yachtmaster theory courses.

Sailing Today Magazine (June 2010) devoted half a page to a very favourable review with a verdict of ' Recommended for all cruising boats'.

The 2012 RYA Members Catalogue features our Cockpit Cards, RYA Members can order direct from them.


Q. Laminated or Encapsulated - what is the difference?

A.  Our cards are all encapsulated which means that the plastic is fully sealed at the edges.  Laminated items are covered with a thin plastic then trimmed so that all edges are prone to water ingress.
Some of the cards are in sets - Lights & Shapes, Chart Symbols & Abbreviations and Essential Knots, these are kept in sets with a ring, the hole being punched through the plastic only, ensuring that watertight integrity is maintained.

Q.  Will they fade with use in the sun?

A.  They have been printed using 'Light-Fast Ink' so should be very resistant to fading.  This is very important for the 'Mayday' card as it is usually positioned near the VHF Radio and often in partial sunlight.

Q.  Which are the most popular?

A.  They are all popular, but the 'Lights & Shapes' set is always a favourite, the graphics are very clear and there is such a lot learn and try to remember.  Navigation lights are shown as if seen from ahead, astern, port and starboard. The Chart Symbols and Abbreviations is also popular as is the encapsulated Mayday Cardas all boats with a VHF radio should have something like this to hand.

Q.  What is meant by the phrase 'Rule of the Road'?

A.  The full title is 'The International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea' or IRPCS often abbreviated to 'Colregs'.  These set out who gives way to whom, what navigation lights should be shown etc.  The Lights & Shapes set, Rule of the Road and the Sound Signals are extracted from these rules.

Q.  Are any more planned for the series?

A.  We have just published A Shipping Forecast Sheet and a new Seconadary Port Calculation Sheet.  These are both A4 and are encapsulated with a Matt plastic.  We have not included these in the Cockpit Card Series although they share many of the same qualities such asbeing printed with Light-Fast Ink, and being very clear and consice.

If you have any suggestions for other subjects we would be pleased to hear your ideas. Customer feedback was one of the reasons we were so keen to publish Chart Symbols and Abbreviations.


figure of eight knot

From our set 'Essential Knots'

Q.  I have a Chandlery or Nautical Bookshop can I stock Cockpit Cards?

A.  Yes,  the Cockpit Card range works well in a retail environment, and if displayed in a position near the counter they make great impulse buys.  Contact us for more details.

Q.  Are the Celestial Sight Forms popular?

A.  As Celestial Navigation is no longer essential for those crossing oceans it has taken a backseat to GPS, however many people like the idea of a system that is independent of battery power and relish the challenge of using the Sun, Planets and Stars to navigate by.  Celestial Navigation, also sometimes called Astro Navigation, is often thought of as a black art, but if you can add up and take away you can soon learn enough to obtain a position line.

Q.  How do the forms work?

A.  One side has a blank form, the other side has a completed form with notes expaining where the information is obtained.  They are a great reminder because unless you frequently use the tables you can soon get muddled.  The encapsulated sheets have a margin that can be hole-punched without going into the card and they are then ideal to use as a dividers in your own Celestial Navigation workfile.

Q.  Will I need other tables?

A.  Yes, you will need a current Nautical Almanac NP314, Rapid Sight Reduction Tables (Previously known as Air Tables - AP3270 or in the USA as Pub. No. 249),  Vol.1 is for Selected Stars and is replaced every 5 years, Vol.2 is for latitudes 0-40 and Vol.3 is for latitudes 39 - 89.  Vols. 2 & 3 do not expire.  Vol.1 is only needed if you would like to try Selected Stars.

Q.  Which Sight Forms are most popular?

A.  The Sun and the Sun Meridian Passage are the most popular as these are essential if you are taking your Ocean Yachtmaster.  Polaris is popular because the Pole Star is easy to identify is easy to work out and the result is a line of latitude.  Planets are probably next, followed by Stars and Selected Stars.  The Moon is the least useful, because although it is easy to spot it moves very quickly.
The Compass Check form is handy as it will give you any deviation your compass may have developed.

Q.  Can the forms be written on?

 A.  Yes, the enacapsulation has a matt textured surface which will take a soft pencil.


Q.  I have used Clestial Navigation in the past but am a bit rusty, would I find them useful?

A.  One of the selling points of our Sight Forms is the way that they lead the user through the sight reduction process and act as a memory jogger for anyone who last used a sextant as part of a night school course many years ago.



Q.  Which Chart Jigsaw Puzzle is the most popular?

A.  The Solent puzzle is probably our most popular, probably because so many know the waters around the Isle of Wight.  The first Chart Puzzle that we published was Plymouth Sound and Approaches, this is now out of print but we are considering a re-print.