Marine Navigation (currently offered as Piloting) is the first course in the sequence of USPS courses on navigation, covering the basics of coastal and inland navigation. This course focuses on navigation as it is done on recreational boats today and embraces GPS as a primary navigation tool while covering enough of traditional techniques so the student will be able to find his/her way even if their GPS fails. The course includes many in-class exercises, developing the student's skills through hands-on practice and learning. Seven classes of three 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:
Charts and their interpretation
Navigation aids and how they point to safe water
Plotting courses and determining direction and distance
The mariner's compass and converting between True and Magnetic
Use of GPS - typical GPS displays and information they provide, setting up waypoints and routes, staying on a GPS route.
Pre-planning safe courses and entering them into the GPS
Monitoring progress and determining position by both GPS and traditional techniques such as bearings and dead reckoning
The "Seaman's Eye" - simple skills for checking that one is on course.
The course includes many in-class exercises, developing the student's skills through hands-on practice and learning.