Nautical Compasses for Sale

Boat Compasses for Sale

This page contains a catalog of compasses for sale that can be used on a boat while cruising or for navigating the lake while fishing.

Here you can buy:

  • Hand Bearing Compasses
  • Marine Compasses
  • Accessories for Compasses

All products at our marketplace are provided with the manufacturer's warranty. We deliver to all locations in the world.

Do you want to buy the best compass for your boat or as a gift for a loved one? In our catalog you are sure to find the right product.

We are ready to answer all your questions using the contacts on the website. Message or call us!

Types of Compasses

The ship's compass is the oldest navigational device, which has undergone a number of changes over the centuries of existence. But its main purpose remains the same - orientation in the area with the help of a magnetized arrow, which always or almost always points to the north.

This “almost always” was the reason for the improvement of the device in that period of the era of navigation, when metal parts began to be found more and more often in the designs of wooden ships. By the time the ships became completely metal, mankind had an improved version of the compass that did not respond to the iron surrounding it.

And with the advent of electricity and electronics in the life of mankind, this navigation device became even more perfect. But despite this, any sailor prefers to have all the main types of ship's compasses on board. Let's understand why experienced yachtsmen are not limited to any one type of compass.

With the help of a compass, the skipper checks the correctness of the course along which the yacht is moving and can notice a deviation from the given route just in time. This navigation device also helps to determine the direction of the wind and drift of the boat.

There are many varieties of ship compasses for small boats, but the main classification includes several types, each of which has its own modifications. Let us consider in more detail the features of each of them.


A magnetic boat compass on a yacht works by the same principle as standard hiking compasses: the magnetic needle is adjusted to a north-south line. But the appearance and internal structure of the device is very different. The ship's compass most often has a hemispherical shape. Thanks to this design, the device is minimally affected by vibrations from pitching.

The case of the device is covered with convex glass, under which there is a card (a disk with a degree marking and directing arrows). In a marine compass, unlike a land compass, several arrows are additionally attached to the card, and in such a way that with the deviation of the arrows the card deviates exactly the same. In this case, the "north" mark exactly coincides with the north magnetic pole.

In addition, the space between the card and the glass is filled with a special liquid, usually a non-freezing mixture of alcohols. This design is necessary because at sea the rotation of the reel lags behind the rotation of the arrows. This defect is corrected with the help of a liquid medium.

Magnetic compasses have been used for a long time, they are popular among sailors to this day. On large ships, at least 2 compasses are installed, and quite impressive in size too. And on yachts and boats, which belong to small vessels, due to the limited space, small-sized magnetic compasses are used, or, as they are also called, boat compasses.

The disadvantages of magnetic compasses include the fact that they require regular calibration and frequent maintenance. In addition, the accuracy of magnetic compasses can be affected by nearby magnetic fields.


This type of compass appeared only at the beginning of the 20th century. By that time, the magnetic compasses with which iron ships were equipped began to be affected by the electric current field, which began to be actively used in the construction of ships, and not only for lighting. There are electric motors and other mechanisms powered by electric currents. And along with that, a new direction in science is developing, which is looking for ways to neutralize the harmful effects of the vessel on its own magnetic compass - the theory of deviation.

And only with the further development of technology, the advent of ball bearings and asynchronous motors, did it become possible to create a gyrocompass. The idea for its creation was a gyroscope and the principle of its operation, incorporated in the oldest children's toy, which also survived to this day, and which we know as spinning top. The first gyrocompass appeared in Germany in 1908.

Gyroscopic compasses are a rotating wheel mounted in a gimbal suspension and adjusted to always return to the north pole. This does not mean the magnetic pole, but the true geographic one, because. gyroscopic compasses in measurements are repelled by the rotation of the Earth, and not by the magnetic field. Therefore, interference from mechanical “neighbors” is nonexistent for such a compass.

The good thing about about gyroscopic compasses is that they do not have magnetic interference and do not require calibration, meaning that they can provide reliable readings over long periods of time. But gyrocompasses also have a significant drawback: after a sharp roll of the vessel, such a device needs a certain time to restore accurate operation. In addition, gyroscopic devices have a complex design and rather impressive dimensions.


Rapidly developing technologies in the XX-XXI centuries brought innovations to shipping navigation. So, along with traditional magnetic compasses, electronic ones are now used (electronic boat compass).

The design of electronic marine compasses also uses a magnetic sensor, but the readings of such devices are more accurate than those of magnetic meters. This is due to the fact that electronic devices are not affected by interference from neighboring metal objects and do not react in any way to wave motion. In addition, the readings of the electronic compass are much easier to use, since it provides specific coordinates in numbers.


This is a kind of electronic ship's compasses. Coordinates are measured by communication with the GPS and GLONASS satellite navigation systems, which together form the GNSS global navigation satellite system. They are completely independent of the Earth's magnetic field and are characterized by high reliability of readings. The principle of operation of satellite compasses is as follows:

  • requesting a signal from a satellite and determining its coordinates;
  • the time stamp of the request made;
  • a short pause;
  • new coordinate request;
  • calculation of the difference in the coordinates of the initial and current points of the ship's movement. At the same time, the pause time is also taken into account so that the indicators of the direction and speed of the vessel are 100% correct.

By design, a satellite compass consists of antennas, a processor, a power source and a display on which the received readings are displayed. At the same time, measurements can be presented in various formats: digital, analog, a graph, etc.

What Kind of Compass Is Better to Buy for a Boat

So, we come to understand why experienced yachtsmen are not limited to any one type of compass on the boat. It turns out that this is simply dangerous for your safety on a boating trip. If you have just the magnetic compass, it may fail in unusual circumstances.

Electromagnetic, electronic and satellite models are completely dependent on the presence of a working power source. In the absence of electricity or batteries, they are useless. And at sea, as you know, anything can happen.

Therefore, a modern skipper, who is responsible for himself, the crew and the safety of the yacht's passengers, must be able to use at least a magnetic and electronic compass, as well as freely navigate using paper maps.

If you want to give a worthy gift to your new yacht or please an equally enthusiastic yachtsman, buy a gyrocompass. But do not forget that even such a device, unique in reliability, has some drawbacks, as we mentioned above. And when the gyrocompass will “come to life” after a significant roll, you will need a simple magnetic compass or its advanced electronic counterpart.

How to Choose a Compass for a Boat

When choosing a model among boat compasses for sale, you should clearly define the features of the device that are suitable for your yacht.

  1. Dimensions of the device - the device should be placed in the skipper's field of vision, but the compass should not interfere with the control or movement around the vessel.
  2. The type of device, the principle of its design - this determines, in particular, the place of its placement on the yacht: for example, when installing a magnetic compass, the proximity to metal objects must be at least 1 m.
  3. The design of a card or display - the readings of the device should be legible, and if it is difficult for you to understand the scales and degrees, then it makes sense to buy an electronic compass.
  4. Mounting method is an important factor on which the correct and convenient placement of the compass on the boat depends.
  5. The presence of backlighting of the card is a very desirable feature, and for lovers of night trips, it is absolutely necessary. At the same time, do not forget to pay attention to the type of the device’s power supply: removable batteries, connection to a 12 or 20 V network, etc.
  6. The cost of the device – ideally, it should be a good medium between price and quality. Just remember that the safety of people on the yacht depends on the accuracy of the compass.

To make the ship's compass last longer, follow a few simple rules of the maintenance: when installing new equipment, make sure that it does not interfere with the compass readings, and don’t forget to get rid of the dirt on the body and glass surface in time.

If you have any additional questions - ask our experts. All topRik employees have extensive experience with both sailing and motor sailing yachts. They will give you comprehensive advice and help you buy a boat compass, which exactly matches the features of your yacht and the sailing routes you have planned.

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