For over 70 years Baker Marine has specialized in the sale, repair and service of navigational magnetic compasses. We repair and adjust compasses on many yachts, commercial ships and naval vessels throughout the world. We are able to rebuild brands including E.S. Ritchie and Sons, Danforth, and C. Plath compasses. This is because not all compass are built with reparability in mind. Additionally, Baker Marine is also an authorized repair facility in the United States for these companies.
Compass Adjusting Services All compasses large or small are susceptible to deviation, and for safe and reliable navigation a routine calibration is essential. If errors of more than a few degrees are found, the compass sensitivity and courses can be severely affected. On some headings it becomes sluggish and responds slowly to changes in the boat's heading while on others the slightest movement causes it to swing erratically. Steering a reliable course becomes impossible and although the compass may still appear to read correctly, large errors could be present.
In most cases, these errors can be overcome by 'adjusting' the compass. This is the process of placing small magnets around the compass site or of altering the positions of adjustment magnets within the compass body. Some adjusters use land bearing while others use the very dock the boat sits at. Here at Baker Marine we use the old world and most accurate way.
We use what is called a Polaris; almost like a sun dial the Polaris takes readings off the sun to give extremely accurate results. Unlike GPS, the Polaris instantly gives the direction that the boat is pointing at that exact moment rather then a delayed direction of the boats movement. And unlike land bearings where the boats current position changes everything the sun has always rose from the east and set in the west using the same pattern for that day’s declination.
When does a compass require adjustment?
- Its has been 5 years since it has last been adjusted.
- Equipment has either been added or removed from the compass area.
- You have purchased a new boat. New boats do not come with a calibrated compass.
- You have purchased a new compass. New compasses do not come calibrated to that boats specific magnetic interference.
The importance of a corrected compass.
With the introduction of GPS many boaters have neglected to use and even check their compasses accuracy. “I’ve got GPS, who needs a compass?” In short, every boat needs a compass that reads correctly. Electronics fail, GPS can be turned on and off with a flip of a switch. We’ve heard stories of cruisers having several GPS’s fail at sea and relied solely on a magnetic compass to navigate.
Many insurance companies require a corrected compass and up to date deviation card. We often are contacted by insurance companies to obtain proof that their customers had their compass adjusted. Recently we heard a story where a boat had ran aground in Baja and one of the first things the insurance company asked about was a up to date deviation card.
If you require a compass adjustment please call. We require a 1-2 day advance appointment and obviously we need the suns cooperation.