Survival Navigation – Watch Navigation Method

Survival navigation means learning multiple methods of navigation so you are not reliant on any one method to escape a sticky situation.

The more “primitive” methods of navigation are obviously less accurate than a compass or GPS. They are however more reliable than electronic devices that are prone to failure in rugged environments. Knowing the direction more or less way is better than not knowing which way to go at all!

The key in a survival situation is to be skilled up in multiple navigation methods!

As author Douglas Adams said in one of his books “I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.” Getting lost may not be the intention, but if you can find your way out, then you have ended up “where you needed to be”!

Survival Navigation – The Watch Method

You will need an analogue watch (one with hands) for this method, or if your watch is digital, draw the watch face in the sand and use the method described.

This method works pretty well t find the North/South line. Your watch will need to be set to GMT or to true local time (at 12 noon he sun is directly overhead), not daylight savings time.

Northern Hemisphere

If you are in the northern hemisphere, hold the watch horizontally with the hour hand (the long one) pointing at the sun. You can then bisect the angle between the hour hand and 12 to give the North/South line.

Survival Navigation

Southern Hemisphere

This method works a little differently in the southern hemisphere.

First, point the 12 numeral at the sun. You must then bisect the angle between this and the hour hand to get the North/ South line.

Survival Navigation

The watch method of survival navigation is fairly accurate, but it does however get less accurate the closer you get to the equator. You need to have a watch for this method to work. You also need to know if it is set to true local time or not. The sun also needs to be visible for this method to be effective.

If, like me, you don’t wear a watch, then with this survival navigation method you are screwed! But as a good survivalist, your skill set should include knowing more than one method to navigate!


You may also like our post on 5 basic skills to practice in your backyard.

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