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Old 18-06-2012, 05:00   #1
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Navigation course?

Can any of you recommend a good navigation course or book?

I'm interested in both coastal and offshore navigation.

I don't want any ASA stuff- too expensive and the manuals I used for 101, 103 & 104 are poorly written with equally bad pictures and diagrams.
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Old 18-06-2012, 05:16   #2
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Re: Navigation course?

If you're in the U.S., you can't do much better than the USCG Auxiliary's Basic and Advanced Coastal Navigation course. Here's a link to the textbooks, downloadable.

BACN Texts
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Old 18-06-2012, 05:32   #3
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Re: Navigation course?

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Originally Posted by Hud3 View Post
If you're in the U.S., you can't do much better than the USCG Auxiliary's Basic and Advanced Coastal Navigation course. Here's a link to the textbooks, downloadable.

BACN Texts

I was going to say the same thing. Excellent place to start.
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Old 18-06-2012, 05:44   #4
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Re: Navigation course?

I sure hope you're both right because I just downloaded the file- 01bcn.zip which is a PowerPoint presentation.

Slide 11 is incorrect for Longitude and Latitude- they're labelled incorrectly.

It's unnerving when after only 5 minutes I find a mistake in a USCG PPT.
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Old 18-06-2012, 06:22   #5
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Re: Navigation course?

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Originally Posted by PDA1 View Post
I sure hope you're both right because I just downloaded the file- 01bcn.zip which is a PowerPoint presentation.

Slide 11 is incorrect for Longitude and Latitude- they're labelled incorrectly.

It's unnerving when after only 5 minutes I find a mistake in a USCG PPT.
A big blunder, indeed!
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Old 18-06-2012, 07:39   #6
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Re: Navigation course?

If you are coming to these concepts for the first time, Slide 11 will surely have you scratching your head and eventually cussing someone out. I'm betting that's not the only rough spot in there.

I know you said you didn't want any ASA stuff, and I agree with you about the textbooks. There are mistakes in the others, too, including Rousmaniere's "Annapolis Book...etc". The 101 - 104 texts are being replaced, and I haven't seen the new ones. But my wife and I took the ASA navigation course (105?) and thought it did an excellent job of presenting the basics. There are mistakes there, too, especially in the problems section (doesn't anyone ever check these things?) but the concepts are very clear.

We took it as a home-study course with test and certification at an ASA school for, IIRC, $100. If you're not interested in certification, the book alone will cost around $70. Not cheap, but we thought it did a good job. The book is Mike Pyzel's "Coastal Navigation - Advanced Cruising Techniques" and is available (I think) only from ASA. Good luck, and please let us know what you find.
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Old 18-06-2012, 07:58   #7
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Re: Navigation course?

If your going to let in error in a PPT presentation turn you off to a course, you probably are going to be disappointed with anything currently available. I taught the USCGAux Sailing and Seamanship and Navigation course at Orange Coast College in Southern California for over 3 years. It's one of the best courses available in my opinion. Any course or class will only be as good as the instructor and not an online presentation. That might mean you will have to find something available in your area and try and get feedback from locals that have taken the course. There are Power Squadron and USCGAux instructors that do a better job or poorer job than others. ASA certification and instructions meet a stricter presentation requirement than the all volunteer organizations like the USCGAux and Power Squadron but of course you pay for that. If your standards are that strict you might consider an organization like this, but be aware there may also be some small errors there too. Chuck
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Old 18-06-2012, 08:04   #8
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Re: Navigation course?

The price for the ASA 105 home-study course was quoted to me at around $375 which came with some tools, book and then the test (held in-house).

They wouldn't let me see the manual/text book before signing up so I wasn't interested.

There's got to be an easier way than ASA.

Is this the manual you used in 105? Coastal Navigation & PowerPoint Presentation CD
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Old 18-06-2012, 08:19   #9
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Re: Navigation course?

Don't know where you are, but ASA 105 is still listed at $100 at (among others) water sailing">Blue Water Sailing in Ft. Lauderdale. Just to be clear, that's strictly home study - all they supply is the book, the test, and the certification. No tools or classroom work.

Here's the book: Coastal Navigation & PowerPoint Presentation CD

The book (again, IMO) is excellent, except for the small glitches in the problem solutions. The PPT CD makes a dandy coaster.
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Old 18-06-2012, 08:42   #10
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Re: Navigation course?

That would be a nice price.

Here's the closest location for me. Take a look at the price they charge for 105- $375

Bay Sail . Sailing Schools Chesapeake Bay - Sailing Course Descriptions
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Old 18-06-2012, 08:49   #11
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Re: Navigation course?

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Originally Posted by Waterwayguy View Post
If your going to let in error in a PPT presentation turn you off to a course, you probably are going to be disappointed with anything currently available. I taught the USCGAux Sailing and Seamanship and Navigation course at Orange Coast College in Southern California for over 3 years. It's one of the best courses available in my opinion. Any course or class will only be as good as the instructor and not an online presentation. That might mean you will have to find something available in your area and try and get feedback from locals that have taken the course. There are Power Squadron and USCGAux instructors that do a better job or poorer job than others. ASA certification and instructions meet a stricter presentation requirement than the all volunteer organizations like the USCGAux and Power Squadron but of course you pay for that. If your standards are that strict you might consider an organization like this, but be aware there may also be some small errors there too. Chuck


The problem should've been fixed long ago.

Errors like that don't inspire confidence.

No sense making excuses for mistakes on something so critical.

And like the USCG aux web site says, "if you see something....say something". So, I did.
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Old 18-06-2012, 08:55   #12
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Re: Navigation course?

I also want to comment on the CGAux Advanced Navigation course! It is very thorough, it is NOT easy, it requires one's full attention. Those who think this course is a piece of cake to pass are those who have put the time and effort into learning navigation.

I took the course about 4-5 years ago after almost 30 years of both sailing and power boating. There was little in the course pertaining to electronic instrument usage, the student's tools were limited to charts, compass readings and plotting instruments. Simple calculators did help.

Foggy
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Old 18-06-2012, 08:56   #13
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Re: Navigation course?

I took the UCG Aux Advance Coastal Navigation course in 2001 and came away very impressed. They worked our tails off with the homework, but it was well worth the time and efffort. One of the students was a senior Delta captain who learned on Navy jets, and he went from skeptic to a big fan of the course. I did enjoy listening to him argue the lack of usefulness of converting everything to true from magnetic with the instructors.
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Old 18-06-2012, 09:06   #14
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Re: Navigation course?

That's all good to hear.

I was hoping the course would be more than simple and basic and I'm not interested in some super-hero and his ego teaching a course and then loading you full of "homework" with little preparation.

Good to hear there's less focus upon electronic gadgetry, which in my life, always fails.
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Old 18-06-2012, 13:28   #15
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Re: Navigation course?

You've made some pretty negative comments, so maybe you won't be satisfied if you take the USCG Aux course, but I'm willing to bet you a beer that you'll come away pretty happy with it. I had been boating and successfully doing coastal navigation and piloting for over 30 years when I took the Basic and Advanced courses. I still learned a lot from it. And you meet some pretty interesting folks with common interests, too.
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