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The direction of the path over the ground actually followed by a vessel. The preferred term is TRACK, definition 1. It is normally a somewhat irregular line. This is a misnomer in that courses are directions steered or intended to be steered through the water with respect to a reference meridian.

Related Terms


A device for determining the course and speed over the ground in shallow water consisting of a lead or weight attached to a line. The lead is thrown overboard and allowed to rest on the bottom. The course over ground is indicated by the direction the line tends and the speed by the amount of line paid out in a unit of time.


An expression sometimes used to indicate the direc- tion intended to be made good over the ground. The preferred term is TRACK, definition 1. This is a misnomer in that courses are directions steered or intended to be steered through the water with respect to a reference meridian.


The direction of a rhumb line through two terrestrial points, expressed angular distance from a reference direction. It is usually measured from 000° at the reference direction clockwise through 360°. Also called MERCATOR BEARING.


The state of a tidal current when its speed is near zero, especially the moment when a reversing current changes direction and its speed is zero. The term is also applied to the entire period of low speed near the time of turning of the current when it is too weak to be of any practical importance in navigation. The relation of the time of slack water to the tidal phases varies in different localities. For standing tidal waves, slack water occurs near the times of high and low water, while for progressive tidal waves, slack water occurs midway between high and low water.


  1. An arbitrary reference direction used with grid navigation. The direction of the 180th geographical meridian from the north pole is used almost universally as grid north. 2. The northerly or zero direction indicated by the grid datum of directional reference.


The ground upon which a body of water rests. The term is usually used with a modifier to indicate the type of water body, as river bed or sea bed. See also BOTTOM


Falls which flow alternately in opposite directions in a narrow channel in the St. John River, New Brunswick, Canada, due to the large range of tide and a constriction in the river. The direction of flow is upstream or downstream according to whether it is high or low water on the outside, the falls disappearing at the half- tide level.


The gain of an antenna in a given direction when the reference antenna is a half-wave loss-free dipole isolated in space, the equatorial plane of which contains the given direction.


The water carried along with a ship as it moves through the water. It is maximum at the waterline and decreases with depth. It increases in a direction towards the stern


The survey of a water area, with particular reference to submarine relief, and any adjacent land

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