Navlight punch
A Navlight punch
Punch registering a tag
Punch registering a tag

The NavLight system has two main components: the punches and the tags. The punches are powered and hang from a cord or are fixed with a wire to each control. The wrist tags are unpowered and are worn on the wrist by the competitors. They are attached with a security band. The wrist tags must remain on your wrist for the duration of the event and removed only at the end of the event.

When you visit a control you record your visit by inserting the end of the punch into the tag, a process which typically takes half a second. A red light flashes on the punch to indicate that your visit has been recorded. The repeating flash of the LED is clearly visible in daylight.

If you are not sure if the punch has been recorded in your tag, there is no harm in using the punch again. The flashing red light has a slightly different pattern if the punch has previously recorded a visit with this tag (a repeating double flash).

Each team member’s tag will need to be punched at the control to receive the score for that control. You must hold the punch against the tag until the punch flashes. If you don’t see the flash, try again. If you are certain the punch is faulty, take a record of the three-letter code on the punch (see below).

After you have finished the event an organiser will remove your tag from your wrist (do not remove it yourself) and it will be scored. Wait for your printout which will look something like this: (Start time was 6:40:00 PM.)


Team No. 62 Tag ID = ACBA Tags=0017
Line # PunchID Value Time Punched Split Time.
1 66 21/12/2020 6:35:41 PM BRIEFING. Score reset.
2 26 20 21/12/2020 6:44:43 PM 0:04:43
3 21 20 21/12/2020 6:58:12 PM 0:13:29
4 30 30 21/12/2020 7:01:18 PM 0:03:06
5 48 40 21/12/2020 7:06:30 PM 0:05:12
6 37 30 21/12/2020 7:17:30 PM 0:11:00
7 53 50 21/12/2020 7:27:21 PM 0:09:51
8 38 30 21/12/2020 7:33:51 PM 0:06:30
9 38 21/12/2020 7:33:52 PM 0:00:00 Punched on Line 8
10 41 40 21/12/2020 7:44:20 PM 0:10:28
11 60 60 21/12/2020 7:56:10 PM 0:11:50
12 55 50 21/12/2020 8:02:56 PM 0:06:46
13 44 40 10/12/2020 1:05:20 PM Before Event Start.
14 61 60 21/12/2020 8:50:26 PM 0:47:30
15 28 20 21/12/2020 8:59:33 PM 0:09:07
16 64 21/12/2020 9:42:46 PM 0:43:13 FINISH TIME.
17 65 21/12/2020 9:42:52 PM 0:00:06 FINISH TIME Ignored.
Recognised finish time 21/12/2005 9:42:46 PM
Time on course 3:02:46
490 Points Scored.
30 Late Penalty.
Nil Manual adjustment.


Note that the time recorded for some punches may not be accurate. Although the time may be wrong, you will still get the points.

Apart from the control punches, there are some special-purpose punches which you must be aware of. They look the same as normal punches but have been allocated a special status.

  • Use a BRIEF punch before the event start.
  • Use a FINISH punch whenever you return to the Administration area.
  • Use a DEPART punch if you have returned and go out again.

This is available at registration for you to try your tag to see how the system works. It has no effect on your score. If the red light flashes even once, it has worked.

One or more BRIEF punches will be available shortly before the event start. You will usually find the BRIEF punch being held by officials in the briefing area at the time of the compulsory briefing (typically 15 minutes before the start of the event), hence the name. Officials may inspect your tag to ensure it is properly fastened on your wrist before applying the BRIEF punch. Without a BRIEF punch the first few punches visited may not be recorded and the the system will recognise a failure to be present at the briefing. Therefore it is important that each tag is registered on one of these Punches before you start the event.

Several of these will be available at the finish line. All team members with tags must use one as you finish, as it records your finish time. For a team, the finish time is taken as the time of the last tag to finish.
If you return during the event, you should still use a finish punch. It doesn’t matter if you subsequently go out for more controls, as long as you use a FINISH punch again when you return. Earlier finish times will be ignored.

If you visit the administration area during an event, and use a FINISH punch when you arrive, you must use a DEPART punch when you leave again.

Fitting the wristbands

The wristbands are made from a rugged vinyl material and can not be removed from the wrist without breaking them. Wear them quite loosely; you should be able to fit one finger comfortably between the band and your wrist. Over a 24-hour period, a tight strap will cause irritation.

Wrap the band around your wrist, then close the clasp through one of the holes in the strap. There is a loose end which you can cut off.

If Something goes wrong

Punch Failure
Each punch has a unique 3-letter code that is visible through the transparent plastic cover. If you encounter a punch which fails to operate, write down this code as evidence that you have visited the control and if an intention sheet is provided, compete this as well. Your team will be credited with the visit only if it can be verified that the punch has indeed failed.

Tag Failure
You can rely on the other tags in your team to record your visit, but tell the organisers when you finish. Your team will be credited with the controls visited only if it can be verified that your tag did indeed fail. If you have no working tags, record the internal 3-letter code inside each punch you visit.