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Educational Department
- Inland and Coastal Navigation -

Lamp of Learning

Advanced Piloting Manual Cover

 

Advanced Piloting

This site is provided as a means of communications with the USPS National Inland and Coastal Navigation Committee (ICNCom).  We welcome your questions and comments on our modules, Guides, and associated materials.

R/C Eric Pearson, SN
Stf/C Burt H. Pearson III, SN
Stf/C Ken Scherz, SN

 

 

Topics

  • News  (12 Mar 16)

 


News

 

Overview of OpenCPN

The Advanced Piloting course is now using OpenCPN for digital charting. All references to previous digital charting software in the course material should now refer to OpenCPN. A chart file for Bowditch Bay may be downloaded at BOWDITCH BAY digital chart (290KB, ZIP-KAP) or BOWDITCH BAY paper chart (2712KB, PDF). A 1210 TR chart may be downloaded at NOAA chart 1210TR digital chart (5102KB, ZIP-KAP) or NOAA chart 1210TR paper chart (74157KB, ZIP-PDF). Squadrons and individuals can download a copy of the OpenCPN information from the Piloting page of the USPS web site under "Downloadable Material", or directly at Piloting - Appendix B Replacement (PDF, 621KB). (12 Mar 16)

New Errata Sheet Available

Several errors are corrected in this errata (56KB, PDF) dated 19 November 2015. (19 Nov 15)

On-The-Water Component to the AP Course

A very useful lesson plan for an On-the-Water component addition to the AP course is now available for download and use by squadron instructors. It is not part of the course exam, but will aid in extending the classroom learning experience. See the download section below. (11 Jan 12)

Updated 2011 AP Manual

The updated Advanced Piloting Manual (2011 Edition) is now available for ordering. The manual includes four Bowditch Bay charts. This number of charts included was reduced from previous printings because of the increasing cost of printing and including fold out sheets in the manual, and indications that not all were always used. Additional charts can be ordered from the America's Boating Course 3rd Edition section of the on-line catalog. Charts can be erased and used more than once. They also can be reproduced.

USCG District 9 Charts for Use in Coastal Explorer Express Program

The previous (February 3, 2010) CD version of Rose Point's Coastal Explorer Express viewer program may have a corrupted zip file for the charts of USCG District 9. If you have a problem loading USCG District 9 charts from your CD, download a good copy of the zip file (254,458KB) and install it in Coastal Explorer. (22 Nov 11)

Two Weekend Navigator Editions In Existence

The Advanced Piloting course materials contain numerous references to the Weekend Navigator. Two editions of Weekend Navigator now exist. The recently issued edition has the words “Second Edition” on the cover. The Second Edition contains the chapters in the original, with an additional new chapter 19 on the subject of AIS. This results in the material covered in the original chapters 19 and above now being in chapters numbered one higher—20 and above.

When using present course materials with the Second Edition of Weekend Navigator, take into account the change in chapter numbers. The next revisions of the AP manuals will be updated to reflect this change in chapter numbers. (22 Nov 11)

Celestial Tools Use by Advanced Piloting Students

There is a Windows computer tool/program with several applications, some of which are suitable for use by Inland and Coastal Navigation students as well as Offshore Navigations students. See the Downloadable Material section for details. (28 Sep 11)

Alternate Tide Prediction Form

The form “Prediction of High and Low Tides (AP2005, Fig 7-4) is used very satisfactorily for predicting tides when the duration of rise or fall is about six hours. For predicting tides of other durations an alternate form is available for download from the Downloadable Material section under Forms and Standards below. (24 Jul 11)

How to Pass the Final Exam

A short PowerPoint presentation is available on the instructor CD and also under Downloadable Material. It covers many of the most common mistakes made by students that lower their scores on the final exam. We strongly suggest you present it to your class just before you hand out the final exam. (02 Dec 10)

Latest In Navigation Tools and Techniques, Chapter 6 of the Advanced Piloting Course

The AP course manual indicates that optional material for this chapter will be provided through downloads available from the USPS web site. It is available under Downloadable Material. It may be downloaded by anyone interested. Instructors may print and provide it to students if they desire. Exam questions will not be based on material in this chapter. (05 Jan 10)

Speed Precision Standard

The standard for labeling speed was revised from “two significant digits” to “tenth of a knot.” That standard should be observed throughout this course and final exam. (16 Jun 11)

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Advanced Piloting Description

Advanced Piloting is the second in the sequence of USPS courses on navigation. It continues to build coastal and inland navigation skill, allowing the student to take on more challenging conditions – unfamiliar waters, limited visibility, and extended cruises. GPS is embraced as a primary navigation tool while adding radar, chartplotters, and other electronic navigation tools. As with Piloting, the course includes many in-class exercises, advancing the student’s skills through hands-on practice and learning. Ten 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:

  • Review of skills learned in Piloting
  • Advanced positioning techniques such as advancing a line of position
  • Other electronics:  radar, depth sounders, autopilots, chartplotters, laptop computer software, etc.
  • Hazard avoidance techniques using electronics (e.g., “keep out” zones in GPS)
  • Collision avoidance using radar and GPS
  • Working with tides: clearances, depth, effects of current
  • Piloting with wind and currents
  • The “Seaman’s Eye” – simple skills for checking that one is on course

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Downloadable Material

 

Overview of OpenCPN

The Piloting Appendix B Replacement (PDF, 621KB) provides the information required to change from the Rose Point Coastal Explorer CD to OpenCPN software for the Advanced Piloting course as well as the Piloting course. Download the Bowditch Bay chart (290KB, ZIP-KAP) for use with OpenCPN. A 1210 TR chart may be downloaded at NOAA chart 1210TR digital chart (5102KB, ZIP-KAP) for use with OpenCPN. (12 Mar 16)

 

New Errata Sheet Available

Several errors are corrected in this errata (56KB, PDF) dated 19 November 2015. (19 Nov 15)

On-The-Water Component to the AP Course

A very useful lesson plan (110KB, PDF) for an On-the-Water component addition to the AP course is now available for use by squadron instructors. It is not part of the course exam, but will aid in extending the classroom learning experience. Course instructors can start using it right away to add to the boating fun and share the learning experience with their students. (11 Jan 12)

USCG District 9 Charts for Use in Coastal Explorer Express Program

The previous (February 3, 2010) CD version of Rose Point's Coastal Explorer Express viewer program may have a corrupted zip file for the charts of USCG District 9. If you have a problem loading District 9 charts from your CD, download a good copy of the zip file (254,458KB) and install it in Coastal Explorer. Note that this is a rather large file and may take some time to download depending on your Internet connection speed. The procedure to download and install the file is as follows:

  • Click on this link to download the zip file, browse to your "C:\Charts" folder/directory, and save the zip file to this folder/directory.
  • Start Coastal Explorer Express.
  • Click on the menu icon to "Access program options, install charts, and configure electronics.", and select "Install Charts..." from the pull-down menu.
  • In the resulting window, click on the "Install charts from a ZIP file..." option.
  • Browse to your "C:\Charts" folder/directory if it doesn't come up automatically.
  • Click on the file you just downloaded, which should be named "09CGD_RNCs.zip", then click "Open" or "OK". You should get a message that the charts are being installed and that it may take a little while to complete.
  • Close the window after the charts are installed. You can then check that the charts are installed by using the Chart Portfolio to see all the charts you have installed. (22 Nov 11)

Celestial Tools Use by Advanced Piloting Students

Celestial Tools is a Windows program intended primarily as an aid for sight planning and rough checking of sights for celestial navigation courses. Celestial Tools also incorporates components that will assist in performing DR calculations, 60D=ST, Distance to Horizon, TVMDC, and current calculations. These elements will be helpful to students of Piloting and Advanced Piloting to verify calculations. Get Celestial Tools from the ONCom Tools and Software web page. (28 Sep 11)

How to Pass the Final Exam

A short PowerPoint presentation (543KB) is available on the instructor CD and also here (PPT, 543KB). It covers many of the most common mistakes made by students that lower their scores on the final exam. We strongly suggest you present it to your class just before you hand out the final exam. (02 Dec 10)

Latest In Navigation Tools and Techniques, Chapter 6 of the Advanced Piloting Course

Optional material for AP chapter 6 is provided here. This downloadable PDF version (1372KB) is available for anyone who desires it. Instructors are welcome to download and print this material for their AP students. (05 Jan 10)

Forms and Standards

The following AP forms and standard may be printed for use by USPS members by clicking on the form or standard name.  They must be viewed or printed using Adobe Acrobat Reader.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Following are some questions that are frequently asked of the committee.

1.  QUESTION:  Why does our Advanced Piloting (AP) instructor continually remind us to show all calculations when solving problems?

  • ANSWER:  The reason for requiring calculations is to establish good habits.  Doing each calculations on paper enhances understanding of Advanced Piloting and tends to produce results that are more accurate than those obtained using "mental" calculations.  The documentation of the calculations allows the exam reviewer to give partial credit for solutions to both Open Book as well as Closed Book examination problems even when the answer is incorrect.  By showing one's work or the method used to solve a problem, the reviewer can determine whether an incorrect answer resulted from a misunderstanding of the subject or from an "I knew that" arithmetic error.  On determining that the AP candidate does, in fact, understand the subject material, the reviewer may add points to the exam score.  In some cases exams that examiners have determined were "did not pass" exams become "pass" exams.
2.  QUESTION:  The AP course demands we plot and label our charting problems in great detail.  When operating my boat I do not have the time to indulge myself in this activity.  Why does the AP course demand such detail?
  • ANSWER:  The plot provides a record of where you intend to go and then a record of where you have been.  Without the labels on the bearing and track lines on a chart or plotting chart, the boat's operator will very shortly be unable to tell what the various lines mean especially on a detailed plot.  Along with showing all calculation methods in the exam problems, the labels affixed to a plot allow the exam reviewer to judge the AP candidate's understanding of the AP course material.
3.  QUESTION:  What happens to my examination when I complete it?
  • ANSWER:  Typically your exam administrator sends the entire examination package to USPS Headquarters in Raleigh, NC. The examination papers are then forwarded to an examiner who determines if the answers are correct.
  • The examiner grades the exams, reflecting partial credit for showing work that demonstrates the AP candidate's "ability to do AP", and then prepares a detailed critique of the Open Book examination for examinations that achieve a grade of 50% or higher.
  • The examinations and critique sheets are sent to your Squadron Educational Officer to be returned to each AP Candidate.  The student will find the numerical grade on the front page (in the upper right corner) of the exam paper.
  • The record of the grades is sent to Headquarters for recording on the student's records.
4.  QUESTION:  May I make copies of the forms included in the AP Student Manual?
  • ANSWER:  The material in the AP Course Student Manual is protected by copyright, however copies may be made for USPS member use only.  This permission does not include or extend to commercial uses or distribution.

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Questions or Comments?

If you have any questions or comments about the Piloting course, please contact the National Inland and Coastal Navigation Committee chairman by e-mail, phone or postal service mail.  Please be sure to keep your SEO and/or DEO advised of any correspondence you may have with the National committee. Addresses for the National ICNCom chairman are listed in The ENSIGN and on the Committee Chairpersons page.

We will try to answer your questions as soon as possible, but please allow 5 working days for an answer.

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This page last updated Saturday, March 12, 2016 20:17