Navigation is the process of directing the movements of a craft, expeditiously and safely, from one point to another. The word navigate is from the from the Latin navigatus, the past participle of the word navigere, which is derived from the word navis, meaning "ship," and agere, meaning "to move " or "to direct." Navigation of water craft is called marine navigation to distinguish it from navigation of aircraft, called air navigation.

The Art of Navigation

Navigation is the process of directing the movements of a craft from one point to another. To do this safely is an art. In perhaps 6,000 years--some writers make it 8,000--man has transformed this art almost into a science, and navigation today is so nearly a science that the inclination is to forget that it was ever anything else. It is commonly thought that to navigate a ship one must have a chart to determine the course and distance, a compass to steer by, and a means of determining the positions of the ship during the passage. Must have? The word "must" betrays how dependent the modern navigator has become upon the tools now in his hands. Many of the great voyages of history--voyages that made known much of the world--were made without one or more of these "essentials".
--American Practical Navigator (Bowditch), Vol. I, 1977 Ed.

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