Cars use statute miles. Ships use nautical miles. Why?

ByRick Deutsch

Cars use statute miles. Ships use nautical miles. Why?

A statute mile is 5,280 feet. A nautical mile is 6,000 feet even. So why?

Roads are in Statute MIles

Roads are in Statute MIles

The statute mile distance goes back to the old English world, when they ruled the globe. It’s based on the width of a finger being an inch, a foot being…well a foot, etc. Pretty close, but not standard. Add them up and somebody decided to call 5,280 of these units a mile. Kinda like Noah using cubits to build the ark. But it worked.

So what’s a “nautical mile?” A NM is 6,000 ft. This one takes a bit of thought. Sailors have no idea where they are without “shooting the stars.” The movement and location of stars is easy to see. The north star doesn’t move. Good…so what?

In a globe, When it’s divided into degrees, minutes and seconds, and you go around the equator, all these minutes work out to be just right and you can go around 360 degrees. The total is the addition of each second if they are 6,000 feet long.

Since navigators are using sextants to keep on track, the nautical mile is something they can be aware of. It’s a way to find degrees, minutes and seconds on a map.

Got it? Get it? Good. Let’s talk about getting you a free cruise. You can verify all this!

 

 

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