Did you know that while boating, you can use your notebook PC (laptop) as both an entertainment and navigation device? Here are seven great tips for nautical notebooking, taken from the book, Your First Notebook PC by Michael Miller (Que Publishing ISBN 0-7897-3700-0):
1. Navigate with electronic charts - Instead of carrying paper charts, your notebook lets you use electronic charts on CD-ROM or downloaded from the Internet. Electronic charts are more convenient than paper ones and easily updated online. Charts are available from MapMedia (www.mapmedia.com), Navionics (www.navionics.com), Passport (www.nobeltec.com), and other companies.
2. Use GPS navigation - Add a GPS card or external GPS device to your notebook, install the necessary navigation program, and you can use your notebook to pinpoint your position on the open sea. You can find GPS cards and devices from Garmin (
www.garmin.com) and MightyGPS (www.mightygps.com/pccard.htm). Popular navigation programs include Chart Navigator Pro (www.maptech.com/water/chartNavigatorPro/) , EasyNav (www.easynav.com), and NavPak (www.globenav.com); you can get similar functionality from connecting GPS functionality to Google Earth Plus (earth.google.com).
3. Receive marine weather faxes - It's important to keep informed of changing weather conditions. To that end, you can connect your notebook to your single-sideband radio and receive marine weather faxes while you're at sea.
4. Connect at the marina - When you need to send and receive email, you can find wireless Internet access when you put to port. That's right, most major marinas are Wi-Fi hot spots; just log on and get online.