dead reckoning

Quick Reference

Determining position at sea by advancing the last established position for course and distance run. Before the advent of modern navigational systems dead reckoning was the basis of most offshore navigation. The term ‘estimated position’ is sometimes used for the dead reckoning position corrected for the effects of tides, currents, drift, leeway, and so on. The origin of the term dead reckoning, which has been in use for at least four centuries, is obscure. It has been suggested that dead is a corruption of deduced, but there is no etymological, or other, evidence for this.

Mike Richey

Subjects: Maritime History.

Reference entries