360° formulas for maritime navigation

360° formulas for maritime navigation and how it works.

This page on our self-instruction website emphasizes the significance of interpreting the 360° notation as a full circle, particularly in the worksheet dedicated to calculating intercept and azimuth.

Finally, trace your line of position on a nautical chart. Refer to the exercise ‘La Rochelle’ for further practice.

360° formulas for maritime navigation, image example of the "La Rochelle" exercise
Part of the worksheet
360° formulas for maritime navigation, image sea
the beauty of sea. Author image: Induwara Malintha

Various fields, including mathematics, physics, engineering, and navigation, use 36o° formulas, which are mathematical formulas.

Those formulas involve angles measured in degrees, with 360°representing a full circle

In navigation, people use 360° formulas actively to calculate the position of a ship or aircraft.

In this context, the formulas involve the calculation of the Greenwich Hour Angle (GHA) and Local Hour Angle (LHA) of celestial bodies, such as the Sun or stars.

360° formulas for maritime navigation, image compass

You can find more information on this site: www.scienceabc.com


360° formulas for maritime navigation, image burnham on sea
River Brue, Burnham on Sea. Author image: Peter Levy

360° formulas for maritime navigation:

Examples 360 degrees formulas:

148°22′,5 + 256°23′,3 = 404°45′,8

In this case you have to subtract 360°

Result 44°45′,8

180°56′,6 – 256°23′,9 = – 75°27′,3

In this case it is necessary to add 360°

Result 284°32′,7

For GHA and LHA the result must always be between 0° and 360°


Key Points in Maritime Navigation Formulas:

Compass Navigation:

360° formulas for maritime navigation, image sexagesimal versus decimal system
Author image: Yelkroyade

Also, in compass navigation, the circle is meticulously divided into 360 degrees, with true north elegantly represented at 0° or 360°.

Notably, the compass rose, a circular diagram on the compass card, vividly displays the entire 360°.

Cardinal Points, crucial for navigation, mark the primary directions on a compass—north (0°/360°), east (90°), south (180°), and west (270°).

Furthermore, intermediate points intricately divide each cardinal point into eight sub-divisions, resulting in a comprehensive 32-point compass rose.

Celestial Navigation:

Overall, In celestial navigation, the celestial sphere envelops the Earth, with the horizon meticulously segmented into 360° to seamlessly align with azimuth degrees.

Moreover, azimuth, a pivotal measurement, gauges the horizontal angle from a reference direction, typically measured clockwise from the north and spanning from 0° to 360°.

In fact, integral to celestial navigation, Sextant Reading involves using a sextant to precisely measure the angle between a celestial body and the horizon.

As a result, this crucially measured angle, often expressed in degrees, seamlessly integrates into the overarching 360° system.

Course and Bearing:

360° formulas for maritime navigation, image navigation tools on bridge of a vessel
Autor image: Alacoolwiki

Indeed, a vessel’s course, delineating its steered direction, is conventionally expressed in degrees true, measured clockwise from north.

Bearing, defining the horizontal direction to an object or point, is usually measured in degrees from the ship’s head. Importantly, bearings, like courses, conform to the overarching 360° system.


View of the ocean. Author image: Rickard Törnblad