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    Checking the magnetic compass
    From: Jeremy C
    Date: 2009 Sep 23, 20:39 EDT
    This is still the practice on merchant ships.  We look through our periscope to the magnetic compass on the flying bridge and we have two course "boards" on the forward bridge bulkhead, one for magnetic, one for gyro.  They are checked periodically, but I won't go so far as to say "one an hour" or anything, but it is still common practice.  I check them personally several times each watch. 
     
    One ship I know of sailed from the US Gulf to East Africa with no gyro (hand steering using the magnetic compass) last year.  That isn't quite "kosher" these days, but it can still happen.  There are some steering stations that can even use the auto pilot via magnetic compass.  Ours is supposed to be able to steer via magnetic compass, but that function hasn't worked in many years.
     
    There is a regulation somewhere that requires a compass deviation card to be created at least annually.  We also try to determine magnetic deviation once a watch via Azimuth/amplitude.
     
    The magnetic compass isn't quite dead on the big ships!  ;-)
     
    Jeremy
     
    In a message dated 9/23/2009 4:06:34 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time, frankreed{at}HistoricalAtlas.com writes:

    You wrote:
    "the magnetic compass on board is called " the standard compass" every half hour and every change of course regulations require a compass check between the gyro and the magnetic."

    When were such checks required by regulation? When was the last decade in which this was common practice (whether formally required by paper regulation or not)?

    "On the Intrepid, I do remenber loosing gyro and steering the standard."

    When was that??

    -FER

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