The Dauphine was carrying several navigational instruments used for measuring the distance of a star or of the sun above the horizon, and thus determining the ship's latitude.
Two parts of a cross staff were found at the fore and aft of the frigate, corresponding to two separate instruments. The first is a square ebony arrow three pieds in length, with gradations on all four of its faces. The second element is a moveable hammer made of poplar or willow.
At the fore of the wreck the remains of two, or perhaps three, Davis quadrants were found. They are made of linden-wood, willow poplar and boxwood. The Davis quadrant was invented in the 16th century, and was still in use at the turn of the 18th century, as can been seen by its presence aboard the Dauphine. The fact that most of these instruments were found at the fore of the frigate, the traditional location of the crew's quarters, lends credence to the theory that they were also used by sailors. In contrast to the octant – which was invented in 1731, and which would rapidly replace these implements – the Davis quadrant and the cross staff were inexpensive and could be purchased by sailors who wanted to learn how to navigate.