Clearing Lines

When you want to ensure you are avoiding a hazard a simple pilotage technique is the use of Clearing lines.

These are bearings of a charted object such that staying on one side of the bearing line keeps you in safe water.

You take bearings of the object with the hand bearing compass to ensure you are the right side of the line. Make sure you have corrected the bearing to magnetic.

In the example above, the top clearing line 256 degrees (True) towards the lighthouse keeps you clear of the top red shaded shoal area. If the bearing decreases you are heading into danger and you must turn left until the bearing is again 256 degrees (True) or greater.

A useful technique is to draw a quick sketch chart just showing the relevant information. Most importantly, which way to turn as an aid mémoire in the cockpit. It then avoids all the confusing, unnecessary (for the purpose of the pilotage for this passage) information on the actual chart.

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