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Public Boating Courses

Weekend Navigator (WN) Course DescriptionBACK TO CLASSES

Textbook cover for Weekend Navigator (WN)

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 Weekend Navigator course combines our Basic Navigation Course, and our Advanced Navigation course, which can be taught separately.

The basic portions of Weekend Navigator are 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 portion of the course 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 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

Advanced Navigation Subjects:

Chapter 6: Planning with Digital Charts
Chapter 7: Planning to Avoid Danger
Chapter 8: Underway with GPS and Paper Charts
Chapter 9: Underway With Digital Charts
Chapter 10: Double-Checking Using Instruments
Chapter 11: Eye of the Mariner
Chapter 12: What To Do If the GPS Quits
Chapter 13: Planning As You Go with GPS
Chapter 14: Tides, Winds, and Currents
Chapter 15: Navigating with Radar
Chapter 16: Using Depth in Navigation
Chapter 17: Using Radio in Navigation
Chapter 18: Using the Electronic Compass
Chapter 19: Using an Autopilot in Navigation
Chapter 20: Navigating While Tacking into the Wind
Chapter 21: Navigating Harbors and Channels with Electronics
Chapter 22: Navigating Under Adverse Conditions
Chapter 23: A Last Word on Avoiding Danger
Chapter 24: Advanced Topics in Radar
Chapter 25: Other Instrumentation
Chapter 26: Connecting It All Together

Weekend Navigator (WN) Class Schedules

There are currently no scheduled classes for this curriculum.