Marine Navigation

Piloting Manual Cover

Course Description

Marine Navigation (formerly Piloting) is the first course in the sequence of USPS courses on navigation, covering the basics of coastal and inland navigation.  This course focuses on navigation as it is done on recreational boats today and embraces GPS as a primary navigation tool while covering traditional techniques so the student will be able to find their way even if electronic navigation fails. The course includes many in-class exercises, developing the student’s skills through hands-on practice and learning. Eight classes of two hours each normally are scheduled for presentation of this course. In addition the students have seven days to complete the open book exam.

Topics covered include:

  • Charts and their interpretation
  • Navigation aids and how they point to safe water
  • Plotting courses and determining direction and distance
  • The mariner’s compass and converting between True and Magnetic
  • Use of GPS – typical GPS displays and information they provide, setting up waypoints and routes, staying on a GPS route.
  • Pre-planning safe courses and entering them into the GPS
  • Monitoring progress and determining position by both GPS and traditional techniques such as bearings and dead reckoning
  • The “Seaman’s Eye” – simple skills for checking that one is on course.

This course is usually completed in 8 two-hour sessions: six sessions of study, one session of review and one session for the exam.

You must have the USPS Piloting book in order to complete the course.  Only one required per household.  You will also need to have use of navigational dividers and plotter.

Marine Navigation Course Costs

Tuition must be paid during class registration via PayPal or by check / cash prior to the start of the class.  Books and other materials should be purchased during registration, or may be available the day of the class.  Supply of optional materials cannot be guaranteed if not ordered during registration.  The Squadron does have loaner tools.  The Plotting & Labeling Standards book and the Weekend Navigator book is included with your Piloting book.  The additional books and the plotting tools are used in all subsequent navigation courses.

Course Tuition Fee (one required):
USPS Members / Voucher$40.00
Sea Scouts / USCGA / Partners$80.00
Piloting Book (one required per household)$85.00
Dividers (doesn't have to be ours)$15.00
USPS Plotter (doesn't have to be ours)$10.00