Building on the basics taught in the public boating course,
Seamanship is the recommended first course for new
members, both power boaters and sailors. Students learn
practical marlinespike (knot-tying), navigation rules,
hull design and performance, responsibilities of the skipper, boat care, operating a boat
under normal and abnormal conditions, what to do in various emergencies and weather
conditions, nautical customs and common courtesy on the water. This course provides
a needed introduction to the USPS Educational Program and a strong foundation for
members going on to other Advanced Grade courses and/or Elective courses such as
Cruise Planning and Sail. The insignia is shown above. Approx 8 - 9 weeks.
Piloting is the first of the navigational classes focusing on
techniques for piloting a boat in coastal and inland
conditions. The course emphasizes planning and checking
your route, along with the use of GPS for determining
position. Piloting introduces digital charting along with traditional charting, compass
and dead reckoning skills. Plotting, labeling, use of the compass, other aids to
navigation and a host of related topics. The insignia is shown above. About 12 weeks.
Note: the insignia for completing both Seamanship and
Piloting is two bars, as shown. The awardee is called a
Pilot as well. The insignia is shown to the right.
Advanced Piloting (AP)
Advanced Piloting is the final part of the inland and coastal
navigation series. Building on the base developed in
Piloting, it includes practical use of additional electronic
navigation systems and other advanced techniques for
finding position. Among topics covered are: what to do when the electronics fail, finding
position using bearings and angles, the effect tides, currents and wind on piloting,
collision avoidance using GPS and RADAR, and electronic navigation with GPS, chart
plotters, RADAR, autopilots, etc. The course is a combination of lectures, practical
in-class and at-home exercises. The insignia is shown above.
Junior Navigation (JN)
Junior Navigation is the first of a two-part program of study
in offshore (open coast) navigation. It is designed as a
practical, how-to course, leaving the theoretical and more
advanced techniques for the subsequent Navigation
Course. Subject matter includes: basic concepts of celestial navigation; how to use the
mariner’s sextant to take sights of the sun, moon, planets and stars; the importance and
techniques of accurate time determination; use of the Nautical Almanac; how to reduce
sights to establish lines of position (LOPs); and the use of special charts, plotting
sheets and other navigational data for offshore positioning and passage planning.
This is the second part of the study of offshore
navigation. It further develops the student’s
understanding of celestial theory.
The student is introduced to additional sight reduction techniques and develops greater
skill and precision in sight taking, positioning and the orderly methods of carrying on the
day’s work of a navigator at sea. Of particular interest and importance is the study of
offshore navigation using minimal data and/or equipment, such as when on a disabled
vessel or lifeboat.The insignia for Senior Navigator is shown above.
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