English navigation mnemonics

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Here are some English mnemonics related to navigation, seamanship and aeronatutics.

IALA region B

Safe navigation in IALA region B:

  • Red Right Returning (When navigating between a red and green channel marker pair, keep the red marker to starboard when returning to the harbor from the sea.)


Port is red and to the left; starboard is green and to the right:

  • There is some red port left in the bottle.
  • Is there any port left?
  • Remember that it used to be starboard and larboard -- L for left -- so starboard is right and port is left.
  • Remember that port and left each have four letters.
  • The short words, left, port and red go together and the long words right, starboard and green go together.

The legend allegedly printed on tickets of passengers on P&O (Peninsula and Orient) passenger vessels when travelling between UK and India in the days of the Raj:

  • Port Out Starboard Home (POSH)


In Sag the ends of the boat are pointing upwards while the midship section is lower ;in Hog the ends are pointing downwards while the midship section is higher:

  • Sag is not Sad

Distinguishing between east and west marks

All of the W's go together:

  • The women in the west have waists.

Conversion of magnetic to true heading

Compass + Deviation = Magnetic + Variation = True (Add for East corrections):

  • Can Dead Men Vote Twice (At Elections)?

True + Variation = Magnetic + Deviation = Compass (Add for West corrections):

  • Timid Virgins Make Dull Company (After Weddings)

Indicated airspeed to true airspeed

  • ICE-T

Indicated Airspeed - what you see from the pitot tube, air-pressure reading

Calibrated Airspeed - airspeed after accounting for mechanical and position errors (attitude) of the aircraft

Equivalent Airspeed - airspeed after compensating for compression effects (usually needed at speeds above 200 MPH)

True Airspeed - airspeed after accounting for temperature and atmospheric pressure changes

Compass directions

(clockwise)North East South West

  • Never Eat SeaWeed
  • Never Eat Shredded Wheat
  • Never Eat Soggy Weetabix
  • Never Eat Soggy Waffles
  • Never Eat Soggy Weiners
  • Never Eat Salty Waffles
  • Never Eat Slimy Worms
  • Never Eat Sour Watermelon
  • Naughty Elephants Smash Windows
  • Naughty Elephants Squirt Water
  • Never Ever Smoke Weed
  • Never Eat Septic Waste
  • Never Entertain Sexy Women
  • Nobody Ever Saw William
  • Nobody Ever Shags Wilma
  • Never Enter Stinky Washrooms

Emergency Communication

Contents of an emergency transmission: PAT HAS ATNIE:

  1. Mayday mayday mayday or pan-pan pan-pan pan-pan
  2. Callsign of aircraft
  3. Position And Time
  4. Heading And Air Speed
  5. Altitude
  6. Type of Aircraft
  7. Nature of Emergency
  8. Intentions of Captain
  9. Endurance Remaining

Alternatively Mayday Identification Position Distress (eg. Fire, Collision etc) Assitance Required No. of people onboard Information (eg. abandoning to liferaft) Over