About the Study Guide

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Using a Compass

Think of the rhyme "Red Fred in the Shed" to remember how to use a compass. As you perform the steps below, remember the following.

  • Move your body—not the compass.
  • Think of the red magnetic needle as "red Fred."
  • Think of the orienting arrow as the "shed."
  • To use the compass to follow a specific bearing, put "red Fred in the shed." For example, if you want to travel at a bearing of 240°, follow these steps.
    • Turn the azimuth ring until the 240° mark is lined up with the direction-of-travel arrow.
    • Keep the compass level as you point the direction-of-travel arrow directly away from your waist.
    • Keeping the compass in the same position with your body, turn your body until the red needle lines up inside the orienting arrow (think of it as putting "red Fred in the shed"). You now are facing a bearing of 240°.
    • Move in the same direction that the direction-of-travel arrow points. Be sure to keep red Fred in the shed as you go.