The magnetic compass remains an essential navigation instrument on any ocean going vessel, and continues to operate independently, in the event of an electrical failure or electronics malfunction.
Users should be aware that electronic systems have limitations and have been known to provide erroneous information. Reliable and accessible alternatives for back up and cross reference should always be readily available.
Vessels are required to be equipped with a means of determining direction and heading, readable from the steering position and independent of any power supply. A correctly installed and adjusted magnetic compass, of a size and type suitable for the vessel, fulfils this requirement.