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Introduction to Navigation and Transportation

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Fig. 8.1. A container ship transports cargo through the Panama Canal.

Image courtesy of thinkpanama, Flickr

Humans have traveled on water for thousands of years. In contrast to land travel, ocean voyaging can be challenging because there are no obvious landmarks, roads, or trails to follow. Early explorers and sailors used a variety of wayfinding and navigation techniques to travel across coastal waters across entire ocean basins. Navigation skills remain important today, with billions of dollars of commerce traveling around the world on ships. These ships must be carefully engineered to not only float on water but also to move efficiently and remain stable in rough storms.

 

 

Ocean Literacy Principles

Principle 1: The earth has one big ocean with many features.

The ocean is the dominant physical feature on our planet Earth—covering approximately 70% of the planet’s surface. There is one ocean with many ocean basins, such as the North Pacific, South Pacific, North Atlantic, South Atlantic, Indian and Arctic (OLP 1a).

 

The desire to travel and explore our world ocean’s many features has created a need to navigate from one place to another.

 

These concepts will be explored in this unit through the following activities and investigations:

 

Principle 6: The ocean and humans are inextricably interconnected

From the ocean we get foods, medicines, and mineral and energy resources. In addition, it provides jobs, supports our nation’s economy, serves as a highway for transportation of goods and people, and plays a role in national security. (OLP 6b)

 

In order to understand how our world ocean serves as a highway for transportation, it is important to build an understanding of various ocean transport conveyances and how they are designed to transport goods and people.

 

These concepts will be explored in this unit through the following activity:

 

Principle 7: The ocean is largely unexplored

The ocean is the last and largest unexplored place on Earth—less than 5% of it has been explored. This is the great frontier for the next generation’s explorers and researchers, where they will find great opportunities for inquiry and investigation. (OLP 7a)

 

In order to understand how the ocean is the last unexplored frontier on Earth, it is important to understand how historical and modern explorers navigated the ocean.

 

These concepts will be explored in this unit through the following activities and investigations:

New technologies, sensors, and tools are expanding our ability to explore the ocean. Ocean scientists are relying more and more on satellites, drifters, buoys, subsea observatories, and unmanned submersibles. (OLP 7d)

 

Ocean scientists use a variety of modern tools to study our world ocean as well as to navigate ships. Ship engineers rely on a number of principles when building a safe vessel, including buoyancy, stability, and carrying capacity.

 

These concepts will be explored in this unit through the following activities and investigations:

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Exploring Our Fluid Earth, a product of the Curriculum Research & Development Group (CRDG), College of Education. University of Hawaii, 2011. This document may be freely reproduced and distributed for non-profit educational purposes.