Watercraft and navigation

  • Two canoes on a lake


Learn how to navigate and steer boats and other vessels on the water.


Navigating on the water requires you to learn how to plan for and respond to severe weather conditions and avoid collisions. If you are navigating in open water—without landmarks—you will also need to learn how to plot courses using latitude and longitude. Plan a series of activities over a number of weeks to help you learn about water navigation. After you finish, you may want to plan a final activity—such as a river rafting or sailing trip. For these activities, you will need access to watercraft—rafts, canoes, kayaks, sailboats, or motorboats.

  • Types of watercraft. Learn about different types of watercraft, and learn how to use one type. Invite an expert to teach you how to plot courses using latitude and longitude.
  • Astronomy and meteorology. Learn how to navigate using astronomy. Make sure you know how to use constellations, the sun, or the moon to find your way. Also learn how to recognize different types of clouds, such as cumulus, cirrus, cirrocumulus, stratus, nimbus, and cumulonimbus.
  • Safety and gear. Invite an expert to teach you about the gear required for your chosen type of watercraft. Learn how to tie the knots related to your watercraft. Make sure you understand safety commands. Always wear a personal flotation device when you’re in a boat, and make sure that your watercraft meets all the requirements of your government.
  • First aid and emergency preparedness. Learn first aid for injuries related to water recreation. Also learn how to avoid accidents, what to do during severe weather such as thunder and lightning storms, and how to respond to an emergency situation while on the water. Learn how to waterproof items such as food and matches.
  • Physical conditioning. With the other young women in your class, practice and improve your ability to swim. You may want to practice cold water swimming and swimming in choppy waters. You could make a plan as a Young Women class to improve your swimming skills so that you can swim for a longer distance, such as one mile (1.6 km). Learn what to do if your watercraft turns over or if you get thrown into the water.
  • Plan a trip. Choose a nearby lake, river, or ocean. Plan and go on a trip that will last a few days and put your water navigation skills to use. Make sure your plans include preparation for water safety, different weather conditions, charting your course, the type of watercraft you will use, shelter, and food. Create a packing list. Also prepare for devotionals, personal reflections, group prayers, and scripture reading.
  • Water conservation. Invite an expert to teach you how to protect water resources from pollution and conserve water during a drought. Begin to build up your supply of water in the case of an emergency.
  • Service project. Clean up an area with a water resource. Learn about the dangers of water pollution in your area.

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