Junior Navigation

Junior Navigation Student Manual Cover

Course Description

Junior Navigation (now called Offshore Navigation) is the first in a two-part program of study in offshore navigation, followed by the Navigation course.  It is designed as a practical "how to" course.

In Junior Navigation, the student will continue to use GPS as the primary position sensor, as they learned to do in Marine Navigation and Advanced Marine Navigation courses.  However, the offshore environment poses many different elements for consideration by the navigator.  Ocean currents, wind, and sea state all affect a vessel's performance over the longer passages.

Subject matter includes:

  • Precise time determination
  • Use of the Nautical Almanac
  • Taking sextant sights of the sun
  • Reducing sights to establish lines of position
  • Special charts and plotting sheets for offshore navigation
  • Offshore navigational routines for recreational craft
  • Electronic and computerized offshore navigation

Visible terrestrial landmarks are no longer available to the navigator as reference points. In the Junior Navigation course, the student will learn to substitute celestial objects such as the sun as reference points. The course begins with the study of celestial navigation, teaching the student to take sights on the sun with a marine sextant and derive a line of position from that observation. Next, the student will apply the principles learned in Advanced Marine Navigation (formerly Advanced Piloting), and plot a running fix from two sun sights.  Once the student has learned the basics of celestial sight reduction, the course continues with planning, positioning, and checking one’s position in the offshore environment, using both electronic and celestial tools.

This course is completed in 12 two-hour sessions.  There are also practical exercises that must be completed and graded during the course.

You must have the USPS Junior Navigation (JN) book set in order to complete the course.  Only one book set is required per student.  You can purchase the latest version of the book here, from the Ship’s Store.  The Houston Squadron will provide all the additional forms, worksheets and charts required for this course.

Junior Navigation Course Costs

Tuition must be paid during class registration prior to the start of the class.

Course Tuition Fee (one required):
USPS Member$40.00
Sea Scout / USCGA / Partners$80.00