Factors to consider when creating a passage plan

steering a boat

It’s critical to be able to sail the water with accuracy and confidence. But how can you decide which path to take? Passage planner software, which utilises GPS and other mapping applications to show you where you are in relation to your destination and the current sea condition, might make that decision a lot easier for you.

These are the considerations you must make whether you are using conventional passage planning methods such as physical maps and charts or passage planning software:


Route Planning

What’s the first step? What’s your destination? What method will you use to reach your destination? A clear route should be drawn up, with distances and expected travel times included.

Any possible on-route risks, such as rocks, shallows, overfalls, and sandbanks, should be taken into account while doing a risk assessment. It’s important to keep track of popular shipping routes that are utilized by a significant number of ships on a daily basis.

Alternative routes should also be planned as a backup plan in case the original route is disrupted.


Weather Forecast

The ease with which a ship travels is influenced by the weather. If you are not adequately prepared and equipped, severe weather conditions might be highly dangerous. As a result, weather forecasts should be closely followed in the days leading up to a journey as well as onboard.

For each specific place you will pass over on your trip, the Met Office gives an analysis of the weather conditions for the following 24 hours. Furthermore, the Passage Weather website will provide you with a seven-day forecast of weather, wind, and waves. The weather is sometimes unpredictable and can change fast, so the further ahead you check, the less accurate the forecasts will be.


Wave Patterns

When it comes to passage planning for long-distance journeys, the weather and the waves are inextricably linked. Larger waves are produced by stronger winds that blow across a greater distance for a longer time. Waves that exceed 15 feet in height can be quite dangerous, so avoid them if at all possible. In the days preceding up to a voyage, checking forecasts for wave height and wind might help you avoid getting caught in stormy seas.


Tide Predictions

If you go in the same direction as the current, tidal streams can save you time and money by reducing your travel time and using less fuel on your ship. Going against the tide will, on the other hand, slow you down and make for a bumpy and unpleasant journey.

Additionally, when you approach the coast, you must determine if the tide is in or out. As you prepare to dock and enter a port, the water level must be high enough to prevent your ship from being trapped, which might create significant delays.

As a result, it’s vital to do your homework on tidal streams and currents using the necessary charts before embarking on any trip. Tidal timings, too, must be taken into consideration. Tides Times predicts tide times for particular places over the following seven days.


Time of year

Certain routes are preferable depending on the time of year. You should consider this when planning your journey to avoid ice hazards and prevailing winds.


How has Passage Planning Software made this process easier?

Sailing has been revolutionized by advancements in passage planner software, making sea excursions safer and more comfortable. Electronic Chart Display and Information System (ECDIS), Marine Automatic Identification Systems (AIS), and Passage Planner applications have all had a significant influence on how ships are currently navigated.


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