An continuation of Junior Navigation in which traditional celestial navigation skills are extended to include the use of the moon, planets and stars.


Course Description: This is the second part of the study of offshore navigation, after Junior Navigation, further developing the student's understanding of celestial navigation theory. Navigation (N) deals with learning celestial positioning using other bodies, in addition to positioning using the sun (covered in the JN course). This course also deals with electronic software tools that can be used to plan and execute an offshore voyage. 

Students will first learn to reduce celestial sights by the Law of Cosines method. Later in the course, an additional method of sight reduction, the Nautical Almanac Sight Reduction (NASR) method, is introduced. Students also learn about sight planning techniques. With that knowledge, students will have the tools to take sights and complete the Navigation Sight Folder. 

The course also includes a chapter on using a software-based voyage planning tool and a navigation program. The final chapter of the course contains a Practice Cruise that ties the separate elements of the course together.

Chapter 1. A View of our Solar System. A simple overview of how the celestial bodies in the sky appear to us on earth.

Chapter 2. Sunrise…Sunset. Finding local mean time of solar and lunar phenomena and converting the time of these events to zone time.

Chapter 3. Taking Sights and Finding Ho, LHA, and Dec. Taking sights on the moon, navigational planets and stars; applying proper altitude corrections to these sights to obtain Ho; applying corrections for low altitude sights; and computing the LHA and declination of these bodies.

Chapter 4. Sight Reduction and Plotting by the Law of Cosines. Reducing sights of the moon, stars, and planets by the Law of Cosines method; and plotting lines of position (LOPs) for these sights to obtain an estimated position, a running fix, and a true fix.

Chapter 5. Sight Reduction and Plotting by the NASR method. Reducing sights on the sun, moon, stars, and planets by the Nautical Almanac Sight Reduction (NASR) method; and plotting the lines of position (LOPs) for these sights to obtain an estimated position, a running fix, and a true fix.

Chapter 6. Sight Planning. Planning your sights to achieve good 2- and 3-body fixes, using both traditional and electronic tools.

Chapter 7. Emergency Navigation. Provisioning an emergency navigation kit and constructing emergency plotting sheets; and determining destination coordinates mathematically from course and distance traveled.

Chapter 8. Electronics and Software for Offshore Navigation. Using a software-based voyage planning tool to plan an offshore voyage (Visual Passage Planner 2); and using a navigation program in executing the voyage (Capn).

Chapter 9. Underway. A review of the Navigator’s duties and USPS Plotting and Labeling Standards; and setting up and using a 900 series plotting sheet. The student will execute a leg of an offshore voyage using both electronic and traditional tools, including celestial positioning. This Practice Cruise is an excellent preparation for the open book exam. 

The course consists of two parts. There is a 10-12 week classroom component along with the requirement to obtain actual celestial observations using a marine sextant. The instructor will organize some "field trips" to get students started with their sight logs and to provide hands-on training with the sextants that the squadron will provide. 

NOTE: Field work for this course requires a significant time commitment and must be done outdoors. Students are strongly encouraged to complete their celestial observations during the warmer parts of the year! To facilitate this, Finger Lakes instructors will organize sight-taking sessions during the summer months prior to the classroom sessions.