Every sailor, at the back of his or her mind, is aware that the nearest land is likely to be directly beneath the ship's keel and he or she is interested to know just how near. For over two thousand years, mariners measured depth of water by using a sounding rod in shallow areas and the lead and line in deeper water. This paper considers how, during the “Dark Ages”, sailors in the North Sea might have navigated, including the use of sounding rods and lead lines for way-finding during a time when no other navigational instruments were available. Because of the lack of contemporary records the authors firstly consider the use of depth finding in earlier and later times to shed light on how the early North Sea sailors might have operated. The latter part of this paper takes account of the earlier discussion, together with some records of North Sea voyaging, to suggest how “Dark Age” sailors might have used sounding rods, the lead and line, and other techniques to navigate around and across the North Sea.