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Old 26-01-2009, 18:55   #31
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I don't need to get it straight away, but once I have a few more miles and a couple of oceans under my belt I'd like to go into yacht delivery, and obviously i'd need one of the 2 then..
Experience counts if you want to get paid. A USCG Captains license counts a lot until you want someone to pay you and trust a lot of boat to your care.
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Old 26-01-2009, 19:09   #32
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That kind of shares with my own view that having a dream and only getting halfway there still gets you a lot further than not having a dream in the first place!
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Old 26-01-2009, 19:23   #33
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And thank you very much, Pblais, for you help on this subject as well as my other posts.
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Old 26-01-2009, 20:38   #34
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That kind of shares with my own view that having a dream and only getting halfway there still gets you a lot further than not having a dream in the first place!
When you do something the dreams have to be over. Dreams only get you a seat to hope for. Dreams can become hope for a chance. Dreams can be motivation enough for preparation. Preparation is the key to success. It's not an accident.
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Old 26-01-2009, 20:59   #35
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I agree with you there, I'm glad I was only able to afford this boat now, as I have years of planning, researching and preparation behind me, without which I would of made many mistakes. Though I am certainly not so vain as to believe that I cannot learn from others experience.
And I know from experience that achieving your dream's is always an anti-climax! It's part of the human condition to be always chasing new horizons!
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Old 27-01-2009, 11:20   #36
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How much does the ASA course cost (using my own boat)?
In the UK the RYA Ocean Master is $900 for the cheapest I found... should I wait till I'm in the US and take the equivalent ASA instead?
I don't think you can necessarily use your own boat in the lessons... My 3-day ASA course cost around $500 total (it included a few perks like ASA membership and a subscription to Cruising World). We learned on 25-foot sailboats. I think the week-long bareboat/coastal cruising course is around $1500 (USD).

The lessons were somewhat expensive, but I was able to spend a full 7-8 hours a day on the boat for the three days of the course. It was great.

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Old 27-01-2009, 11:26   #37
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SMcD... out of interest... what did you save on your insurance (% wise) after that?
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Old 24-04-2009, 07:05   #38
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Anyone familiar with the ASA 105 Coastal Nav and Piloting course? I've got the materials and am doing it as a home study, and when I'm ready I'll take the test. It comes with a Training Chart 1210Tr of Martha's Vineyard and Block Island, and on the back it has a subset of the NOAA Chart #1 of descriptions, symbols, etc. The course book contains good instruction on plotting DRs and fixes, tides and currents, etc, and it comes with a long set of practice test questions.

The practice test questions on chart work are clear, but there's a lot of questions on chart symbols, referring to NOAA Chart #1, Symbols, Abbreviations, and Terms, which is no longer in print. I don't know how many total symbols there are, but it runs into the hundreds if not thousands, and the only way I've found what some of these obscure symbols are is by going into the NOAA site and looking them up on the online Chart #1.

Is the test closed book, so you have to actually remember every one of these hundreds of symbols, or is it open book? If open book, do you need the actual Chart #1, or does the test only have the symbols on the back of the 1210Tr chart?

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Old 24-04-2009, 08:11   #39
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The test is not open book.

For the symbols that are more difficult they will most likely test you on the nav aid symbol variations. Those are the most important and expect a bunch of questions about having to know what the nav aid notations mean. On the water getting those wrong would almost always be serious. At night they could be deadly mistakes. All the light patterns would be some to learn.

I would not expect you to see the most obtuse symbols that don't come up often. They might throw one in but if you spend time reading charts and learn the lights and common things it's not always that hard to figure them out in context. The ASA tests do focus on the important items rather than seeing if you know the details. The items they presented in the training materials are the ones that matter most. They can pose a few trick questions but the tests are not made to be hard so you fail.

If you have trouble with the material the USCG Auxiliary teaches a series on navigation and it's a class room rather than home study setting. They have a beginner and a second level class that is not taught often. These classes cover all the material well so if you find the home study is not working well those courses are nominal fees (free to cheap) and often taught by retired Coasties that were navigators. Chapmans Guide to Piloting also has a lot of examples and problems to solve as well.

There is a PDF Chart 1 at NOAA. It downloads in sections and makes about 100 MB. It's no longer in print unless you get a commercial version printed up.

They probably won't test you on the symbol for a pontoon bridge but a swing bridge might be there. If you can get some charts for your area so you can study the chart and then think about the real things you have actually seen it makes a lot of this clear. I would study the example chart and learn all those symbols as a start. Learn about all the stuff around the edges too. You may see questions that ask you what you do when you see some symbol. The idea being you have to understand what it is and what it means.
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Old 24-04-2009, 08:27   #40
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On the back of Training Chart 1210Tr you should find the basic symbols of Chart #1. I think everything from the test is covered there.

You can still buy Chart #1 at many boating stores, or Amazon.com Amazon.com: Chart No. 1: Symbols, Abbreviations and Terms: NIMA: Books Test or not, I'd recommend buying and having it along with the Coast Guard Nav rules Amazon.com: Navigation Rules: US Coast Guard, U.S. Coast Guard: Books
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Old 24-04-2009, 08:39   #41
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Thanks for the responses. One other question. Do they provide appropriate tide/current tables for those types of questions, the way they do in the course book? Or do I have to bring my own tables for the Martha's Vineyard area?
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Old 24-04-2009, 08:42   #42
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They provide the tide tables for the test (at least that was my experience, but I only know about one location, one time, one test...)
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Old 25-04-2009, 04:43   #43
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On the chart symbols the best book I have found is Nigel Calder's "How to Read a Nautical Chart" (I may not have that title exactly right but it is close to that). This book actually includes everything that is in Chart 1 but is annotated with explanations for everything.

I took the ASA 105 home study course with the Maryland School of Sailing. I found Tom Tursi's DVD explanations of how to do the various routine plotting chores to be very helpful. Also, I think it would be very hard to simply memorize all the chart symbols and aids to navigation without actually having gone sailing and actually used the knowledge. It is one thing to look at a page of pictures of buoys, beacons, etc. and quite another to find them with your binoculars because you need to not run aground. That experience cements it in your brain in a way no amount of home study can do. For that reason I think 105 really should be done after 101-104 and probably after some chartering or sailing around - They say you can do it without any prereq but that seems like it would be very hard to me.
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Old 25-04-2009, 04:44   #44
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On the test itself they provide everything you need except for your dividers, parallel rulers, pencils, triangles, etc. They will give you tide tables, info on currents, etc.
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Old 25-04-2009, 05:28   #45
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Also, I think it would be very hard to simply memorize all the chart symbols and aids to navigation without actually having gone sailing and actually used the knowledge. It is one thing to look at a page of pictures of buoys, beacons, etc. and quite another to find them with your binoculars because you need to not run aground. That experience cements it in your brain in a way no amount of home study can do. For that reason I think 105 really should be done after 101-104 and probably after some chartering or sailing around - They say you can do it without any prereq but that seems like it would be very hard to me.
I agree. Actually, I did 101-104 about 15 years ago, and have a few thousand miles of coastal sailing and short passage making experience on my own boat and charters along the east coast and the caribbean. Not nearly as much as the serious cruisers here, but enough to know the usual marks ones runs across on the water.

I'm taking the course for personal growth, just want to increase my knowledge and hopefully be a more competent and confident sailor. I was more concerned about the obscure symbols that are on the Chart #1, say a Tunny net or or Bollard. I have no idea what those are in real life, much less the chart :-) But Pblais explained how I should prepare for the more important lights and symbols.

Also, there is are discrepancies between the Chart #1 symbols as used in the course material and the Chart #1 on the NOAA site. Well, not the symbol itself, but where it is found. For example, the symbol for a rock that covers and uncovers during a tidal swing, the course says it's symbol K11 on Chart #1. If you go to K11 at the Chart #1 at the back of the training chart, it's not even a rock, it's a Leading Light. If you go to the NOAA site, however, it's at K11. It appears that the symbols handed out with the training material have an older reference, and NOAA has updated their chart.
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