Even on board the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Eagle (WIX-327)—the oldest ship in the Coast Guard—it is tempting to “stare at the screen” with the technological advancements on the bridge. Of course, with an open weather bridge, dozens of marine sextants, and a fascination with navigation principles from an age past, the Eagle’s sailors and trainees are encouraged to avoid becoming entrenched in the modern navigational age. Serving on board other more modern cutters and warships, however, it is even easier to get fixated on the multiple screens, monitors, gauges, and other electronic devices displaying navigational, collision avoidance, or shipboard system information.
All too often the officer of the deck (OOD) and quartermaster of the watch (QMOW) look to the electronic navigation system to determine the vessel’s position and use the electronic chart to determine the proximity of navigational hazards. But, how does the OOD know if the electronic charting and Global Positioning System (GPS) data are valid?