Don't Blame the GPS

January 2, 2010 By: Marshall Cutchin

For adventurous anglers, nothing replaces a highly developed sense of situational awareness. I cringed when I first heard about fishermen driving a GPS track into Florida’s 10,000 Islands. It broke my first rule of navigation: always have a visual reference. (On the other hand, even veteran guide Bill Curtis once spent the night in the Everglades, an incredibly disorienting landscape — an event that might not have happened had he had a GPS.) Remember that electronic devices are aids, not replacements for knowing where you are.

GPS navigation solution running on a smartphon...

Image via Wikipedia

If Jeramie Griffin and his girlfriend Megan Garrison are any example, we can expect a steady increase in the number of people who end up having to be rescued because they were staring too long at their GPS screens. Trying to shave time off of a trip to the in-laws almost cost them and their eleven-month-old their lives.
“‘Our devices don’t know what the weather is,’ said Jessica Myers, spokeswoman for GPS manufacturer Garmin. ‘It’s the responsibility of the driver to exercise common sense.'” From the Associated Press.
Some common-sense hints for hiking and boating anglers: when exploring new territory, regularly look back in the direction you came from so that your return trip is easily visualized. Stay informed about impending weather changes, and if you are hiking at altitude, remember that the temperature drops about 3.5 degrees (6.5 Celsius) for every 1000 feet in elevation.

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