Let’s Take a Cruise

In our Power Squadron Boating class, we’ve been taking virtual cruises. There is much more math involved than you might think. But that’s ok, math is fun (yes it is, trust me here).

Allow me to elaborate. In the classroom, we might be given little tidbits of information like …
You start in Pelican Harbour and you’re going to head over to Whitefish Bay (I made these two names up).

Plot a course. This will simply involve drawing a line from Pelican  Harbour to Whitefish Bay along with pertinent annotations and markings.

What’s the distance to Whitefish Bay? Here we take our “dividers” – you know, the pointy things you always had in your geometry set and didn’t know what to do with. You set your dividers according to the scale on your map and walk it along your course. Add up the distance and Voila!

Dividers - By Daniel Flinkmann licensed under Creative Commons 3.0 license.

Assuming no current or wind … if you’re speeding along at 6 knots, how long will it take you to get there? 60D = st (60 x distance) = speed x time (in minutes)

What will the bearing be on your compass? We use the handy-dandy plotter that we got in our class to do that. It’s fun, it even has a spinning disc in the middle. Wheeeee!

A plotter - similar to the one we're using - By Cletzrodt.

They like to throw in a few twists and turns as well so you don’t get to go straight, and you find out you’re off course part way along the cruise.

I think a “real” cruise might be more fun – especially on one of those big cruise ships. However, I’m not sure … is there math on a cruise ship?