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Page Title: Chapter 2 Wachstanders' Equipment
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CHAPTER  2 WATCHSTANDERS'  EQUIPMENT Whether you are a Seaman or an officer aboard a ship,  you  will  be  assigned  certain  duty  periods. Watchstanding is a necessary and an important part of Navy life. And the equipment used in watchstanding helps  to  keep  the  Navy  operating  efficiently. The following instruments or apparatus are found on the bridge: steering sounding indicating ship's heading and rudder angle measuring  speed communicating speed orders to the engineroom taking bearings and ranges controlling running lights and speed lights indicating revolutions made by the engines, and communicating with other departments in the ship and with  other  ships COMPASSES LEARNING   OBJECTIVE:   Explain   the operation of the gyrocompass and the magnetic compass. A compass is an instrument that tells you the direction you are heading. It also tells you where north is so you can measure all other directions from that one fixed  point  or  direction. There are two main types of compasses. They are gyrocompasses   and   magnetic   compasses.   The gyrocompass works on the gyro principle of a spinning wheel. The magnetic compass is affected by Earth's magnetic field. In each instance the objective is to produce a compass card (fig. 2-1) that points toward the north. From the compass card, the directions can be taken in degrees or in terms such as north, south, southwest. The Navy expresses direction in degrees, saying the direction or course is 000°, 180° or 225°, instead of north, south, or southwest. 2-1 Figure 2-1.— Compass card. GYROCOMPASS The  gyrocompass  is  unaffected  by  magnetic influence.   When   in   proper   running   order,   the gyrocompass points constantly to true north, rather than magnetic north. It may have a slight mechanical error of 1° or 2°, but the error is computed easily and remains constant for any heading; the error does not interfere in any way with the instrument's practical value. A typical shipboard installation consists of master gyros whose indications are sent electrically to repeaters located at the conning stations, on the bridge wings, and at other necessary points. One advantage of the gyro is that its repeaters may be set up at any angle-nearly vertical  for  the  convenience  of  helmsmen,  or  horizontal for  taking  bearings. Despite the excellence of the gyro mechanism, the magnetic  compass  is  still  standard  equipment  used aboard ship. Because the gyrocompass is powered by electricity, it would be useless in a power failure. It is an extremely complicated and delicate instrument, and it is subject  to  mechanical  failure.  For  instance,  some  gyros become erratic after the ship makes a series of sharp turns at high speed. This does not mean, however, that great confidence cannot be placed in the gyro. When the gyro is running properly, it can be depended upon to

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