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Public Boating Courses

Basic Navigation (BCN) Course DescriptionBACK TO CLASSES

Textbook cover for Basic Navigation (BCN)

Navigation has changed since the “old days” when navigators plotted a course relying on dead-reckoning and seeing a buoy was a bonus. Today we have inexpensive Global Positioning Systems (GPS) - even in our cell phones - that can enable you to pinpoint your position anywhere on the face of the earth. However, while electronics can be very helpful, easy to use, and accurate, they can also break or quit. Knowing how to navigate with electronics is useful, but knowing how to navigate the traditional way using dividers, parallel rulers, and a compass could make the difference between survival and a catastrophe.

The Coast Guard Auxiliary's Basic and Advanced Navigation courses both use the textbook Weekend Navigator. The Basic Navigation Course, described here, is designed to give the student the rudiments of navigation by using GPS, and the back-up skill of navigation using charts, navigation plotting tools, and dead-reckoning. The intent is to provide the student with a solid foundation with emphasis on technique and not blind reliance on electronics. GPS will be mentioned and discussed as it relates to plotting waypoints, etc.

The Advanced Navigation course, described elsewhere, covers the use of GPS and other electronic devices in more technical detail as well as some more sophisticated traditional navigation skills as back-ups. An added segment covers fuel management, which is the final crucial issue for all power boat navigation.

Basic Navigation Course Subjects:

Chapter 1: Basic Navigation Topics
Chapter 2: What is Navigation?
Chapter 3: Fundamentals of Waypoint Navigation
Chapter 4: The Tools of Navigation
Chapter 5: Planning With GPS and Paper Charts

Basic Navigation (BCN) Class Schedules

There are currently no scheduled classes for this curriculum.