According to history, the first ever Western civilization to have developed the art of navigation at sea were the Phoenicians. They managed to accomplish the feat roughly 4,000 years ago (c. 2000 B.C.E. ). Phoenicians managed to navigate their vessels via the use of primitive charts and observations of the Sun and stars in order to determine directions.


Maps along with compasses, astrolabes, and calipers were one of the early tools that were used by ocean navigators. Nowadays, they have been almost permanently replaced by various electronic and technological equivalents.

Despite the fact the Phoenicians managed to make such progress so long ago, it would take many centuries after them to make global navigation at sea possible. Until some point during the fifteenth century, mariners were generally coastal navigators. Sailing out in the open sea was essentially limited to regions of predictable winds and currents, or in waters where there was a wide continental shelf for the sailors to follow. Farther ventures were made possible long after with the development and help of scientifically and mathematically based methods and tools.