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Educational Department
- Offshore Navigation -

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Frequently Asked Questions
N09 Software


Following are some questions that are frequently asked regarding The Capn and Visual Passage Planner 2 software. If you have a question about something other than the N09 software, check the ONCom FAQ page.

Installation instructions (30KB, PDF) for The Capn program are included with N09 Student Kits, but are available here if needed. The instructions also contain important information on getting support for installation issues with The Capn.

Click a question to see the answer to that question. Click the question again to close the answer.

1. What are the hardware/operating system requirements for The Capn, Visual Passage Planner 2, and Celestial Tools that are used in N09? Does a 32 bit vs 64 bit operating system make a difference?

The hardware/operating system requirements are:

  • Windows XP, Windows Vista, or Windows 7, 8 or 8.1 (any version), or Mac systems using the WINE program (see instructions (445KB, PDF))
  • Super VGA (800x600) or higher monitor
  • Hard Disk Storage – at least 2 GB (10 GB is recommended if all Capn chart regions are to be loaded)
  • DVD reader
  • High-speed Internet connection
  • Printer
Sixty-four (64) bit operating systems are currently having trouble displaying the Graphic Tides or Graphic Currents screen in The Capn. Thirty-two (32) bit operating systems appear to work fine. See question 7 below.
2. I have tried to install The Capn, and have an ID number. How do I get a registration key?
You need to register The Capn software directly with CAPN Software LLC at their on-line site: When you get there, fill in the form with the information and submit the form. You will receive a Registration Key from them by return e-mail. Follow this registration instruction document (827KB, PDF) if you need help.
3. I am having trouble installing charts from The Capn program. It doesn't always get all the charts. What do you suggest?
CAPN Software LLC has an updated Chart Loader at their web site:, if you didn't already get it in your N09 kit. The Chart DVD Loader installs the utility needed to install The Capn Chart DVDs. After it's installed, click Start, then All Programs, then Capn Voyager, then Load Capn DVD Chart Regions. This is the proper way of installing the DVDs. The Capn Chart DVDs are NOT installed by opening The Capn and going to "Charts", then "Copy Charts from CD"; incorrect charts may be loaded this way if you try to selectively install individual charts. All other disks that are compatible with The Capn still install the old way, just not these DVDs. Be sure to load Regions 124, 125 and 126 initially. You may have to install other Regions later.
4. Can The Capn program be installed onto more than one computer, such as a desktop computer for planning and a laptop computer for cruising?
Yes. Two (2) installations are allowed. Each installation will require a separate registration, so you will need to go through the process twice and get a unique/different registration key for each installation. The system will not balk until you try a third installation.
5. My old laptop is failing so I would like to move The Capn and Visual Passage Planner 2 (VPP2) software to a brand new laptop. How can I move the software and maintain registration for the squadron?  Do I have to purchase new versions of Nav09 and/or The Capn and VPP2 to be able to move the programs or can I somehow remove the software from the old computer and reinstall it on a new computer?

You cannot move either program to a new computer—you need to re-install The Capn and VPP2 on the new computer. You can however, export your existing The Capn routes, waypoints and marks, tracks, and alarm zones to folders on another computer or to a traveler drive (see The Capn Help - Exporting). After exporting your data, uninstall The Capn software and then install The Capn software on the new computer using your installation disk. When you reinstall The Capn, you will need to access the CAPN Software LLC registration web site, just like you did on your original installation, providing them the Installation ID which will appear upon installation. Tell them that you uninstalled a previous installation and that this is an installation on a new computer. They will in turn send you the 7 or 8 digit number you need to enter to complete your installation. Follow this registration instruction document (827KB, PDF) if you need help. You can also copy the folder C:/BSBChart to the new computer, or install the needed DVD regions using your chart installer disk (if provided), or go to the CAPN Software LLC web site and download, install, and use the latest Chart Installer.

Next, go to the VPP2 web site at and download VPP2. You should be able to use the same registration key provided to your squadron on the blue sheet, or if you ordered the Instructor Version for $25, you should be able to use that key. The information in "My Passages" can be ported directly by copying to a traveler disk.

Also see Question 6 below.

6. I am moving to Windows 7 or 8 from Windows XP (using a custom or clean install), and I realize that I have to reinstall all my programs, including The Capn and VPP2. How should I proceed? (Note that this is the same situation if you do a custom or clean install from Vista to Windows 7 or 8. If you do an "upgrade" install from Vista to Windows 7, you should not have to uninstall/reinstall your N09 software, but it would be advisable to backup your data. If you do an "upgrade" from Vista to Windows 8, you will have to uninstall/reinstall your N09 software, as well as any other programs you have on your PC.)

You need to uninstall The Capn and VPP2 before changing your operating system to Windows 7 or 8, and then reinstall the software from your original installation disks. Here are the proper steps to take:

  • Export all your The Capn routes, marks, tracks, and alarm zones you may have. This can be done from the Routes/Marks menu, then choose Export. They will be Exported to the C drive in a folder named "Capn_Exported_Marks", for example. Note that you have to export Routes, Marks & Waypoints, Tracks, and Alarm Zones separately (four exports total).
  • Move these four folders to a flash drive or disk for safe keeping.
  • For VPP2, from the "My Documents" folder, copy the "My Passages" folder and all its files to a flash drive or disk. If you have saved your data to a different folder, you will have to adjust the folder name accordingly. Similarly, if you have modified the locations database (adding or deleting locations), you will also need to copy the locations database file (LOC2.BIN) to your flash drive or disk. For Vista or Windows 7, this file can be found at C:\ProgramData\Digital Wave\Visual Passage Planner 2, while for Windows XP it is at C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Digital Wave\Visual Passage Planner 2.
  • Uninstall The Capn by closing The Capn, and clicking Start, Programs, Capn Voyager, Uninstall Capn Voyager Version 8. Choose the CUSTOM option, and keep clicking Select All, then Next until you come to the Finish button. Click Finish. If asked if you want to remove shared folders, choose Yes To All. This will only remove the software, all your charts will still be intact. To remove your charts, delete the following folders (depending on which types of chart information you have loaded; you may not have all these folders):
  • Uninstall VPP2 using Control Panel, Add or Remove Programs.
  • After you have installed Windows 7 or 8, reinstall The Capn using your original installation disk, and register the software as you did originally, noting that you did a reinstallation after upgrading your operating system to Windows 7. Follow this registration instruction document (827KB, PDF) if you need help.
  • Copy any routes, marks, tracks, and alarm zones you may have had from your flash drive or disk to your hard drive and then Reimport them into The Capn using Routes/Marks, Import. Again, you have four imports to do, one each for Routes, Marks & Waypoints, Tracks, and Alarm Zones.
  • Install VPP2 as you did originally, using your squadron registration number.
  • Copy the files in the "My Passages" folder (or your own folder if you changed it) from your flash drive or disk to the "My Passages" folder in your "Documents" folder on your hard drive (or your own folder if you customized VPP2). Also copy the locations database file from your flash drive if you added or deleted locations to the VPP2 folder. For Vista or Windows 7 or 8, this file should be copied to C:\ProgramData\Digital Wave\Visual Passage Planner 2, while for Windows XP it should be copied to C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Digital Wave\Visual Passage Planner 2.
7. When using The Capn Tides or The Capn Currents, I cannot make the graphic display work. What should I do?
This appears to be an operating system problem with Vista 64 bit and Windows 7 and 8 64 bit installations, although some Vista and Windows 7 32 bit installations may also have a problem. CAPN Software LLC has a fix that can be downloaded here (141KB, ZIP). Instructions (106KB, PDF) are available to help with the installation of the fix.
8. My The Capn main installer DVD reads Version 8.3.20a, yet clicking The Capn's "Help", then "About The Capn" indicates Version 8.3.20. Am I up to date?
Yes. The latest release is Version 8.3.20. There are no newer releases at this time.
9. I've successfully passed the N exam, and would like to recover the space on my hard drive occupied by all of the charts I loaded for use with The Capn. Student Manual page 126 paragraph 52 says to follow directions in The Capn user manual to remove the charts, but I can find nothing on how to remove charts. Please advise how to do this.

This procedure will delete ALL charts used by The Capn, including those you may be using for real world boating. Do not use this technique if you wish to use this computer for actual navigation. If you only want to remove selected charts, keeping some for actual navigation, see the next question below about removing selected charts. On the computer which has The Capn installed, click the "Start" button, then click "Computer" or "My Computer" (depending on what version of Windows you are using). Double click on your drive "C" to open a window that shows all your folders/directories on that hard drive. Locate the folder "BSBChart", and RIGHT click it. Scroll down to the word "Delete", and LEFT click on Delete. You may be asked for confirmation, such as "Confirm Folder Deletion?" Click Yes. It may take a while since the computer is moving the whole folder and all of its contents into the Recycle Bin. Go back to the desktop and double click on your Recycle Bin icon, and click "Empty Recycle Bin". Alternatively, RIGHT click the Recycle Bin icon and scroll down to"Empty Recycle Bin" and LEFT click "Empty Recycle Bin". Until you have done this (emptied the Recycle Bin), the many megabytes of files will still reside on your hard drive.

Depending on what options you selected when you installed your charts, there may be other folders/directories that need to be removed. Remove them using the same procedure you used for the BSBChart folder. The other directories that may exist could include:


10. How can I remove only selected charts from my hard drive? I want to keep certain local charts for use in planning local trips, but don't want to keep all the charts I loaded in the Navigation course.
First, be sure to close all charting programs, such as The Capn. Then to delete charts you no longer want, click the "Start" button, then click "Computer" or "My Computer" (depending on what version of Windows you are using). Double click on your drive "C" to open a window that shows all your folders/directories on that hard drive. Locate the folder "Capn Voyager" and double click it to open the folder. Scroll down to find a file named "Manage_Charts" or "Manage_Charts.exe", and double click that file. Read the information in the Chart Management Introduction window and click OK. In the Capn Chart Management Utility window, select a level in the lower left corner (4 is recommended), and then click the "Search Drives" button at the bottom. Depending on the size of your hard drive(s), this could take a few minutes. Click the "How to Select Multiple Items" button for information on how to save yourself some effort in removing multiple charts. When it comes up with a list of charts, select the ones you no longer wish to have installed, then click "Delete Selected". The charts will immediately be removed; note that they will NOT be put into the Recycle Bin, so be sure to select only those charts you really want to remove. If you accidentally remove a chart and need it back, you will have to re-install that chart using the normal The Capn chart loading process. After you are done, be sure to refresh the list of charts available in The Capn.
11. I want to use The Capn for actual navigation onboard my boat. Are the charts provided with the program current?

All Navigation 2009 students are advised to update the raster charts used with The Capn if the program is to be used onboard for actual navigation on the water. The charts that are provided with The Capn are now out of date and MUST be replaced for actual navigation on the water. Further information is in this document (60KB, PDF).

In addition to updating the raster charts in The Capn, you must also update the Magnetic Variation file (WMM.dat) by following the procedures shown in this PDF file (108KB)

12. Recently I have gotten the following message whenever I start The Capn:  "WARNING - Based on your computer's date, you need to update the Magnetic Variation file (WMM.DAT).  Please contact Maptech, Inc." Since Maptech no longer owns The Capn, what should I do?

You may need to update the WMM.dat file by following the procedures shown in this PDF file (526KB). However, because of cost considerations, we have no immediate plans to change the Navigation 2009 course to accommodate the magnetic variation correction recently introduced in The Capn software program. That notice applies to mariners who use The Capn for actual offshore navigation. After a student has finished the course and is contemplating an offshore cruise, correction for the changed variation should be made. However, if the change is made during the Nav 09 course, answers for the cruise and exam problems may be quite different from those using the current The Capn values.

If you have already updated the software and need to revert to the original software for N09 purposes, right click and save this wmm.dat file to your Capn Voyager directory, overwriting the newer wmm.dat file.

13. I followed all the instructions and tips for installing The Capn on my Windows 8 PC, but The Capn doesn't run. It just appears to hang up when I try to start it. What's wrong?
Windows 8 causes a problem in seeing the initial warning window regarding the Magnetic Variation file while The Capn is running in the 30 day trial mode. This will prevent you from entering the registration code you get for The Capn from CAPN Software LLC. The warning window is actually underneath The Capn main window so you can't see it. To fix this situation, hover your mouse on the Task Bar (the bottom line of icons on your Windows screen) where The Capn icon appears, and you should see two icons — one for The Capn main window and one for the Magnetic Variation file warning window. Click the icon for the Magnetic Variation file warning window, and click OK to close that window. The Capn should now work properly. Note that this situation will occur until you enter the registration code you get from CAPN Software LLC, taking you out of the 30 day trial mode. From then on, the warning window will appear in plain view before The Capn opens its main window.
14. I can't seem to download Visual Passage Planner 2 (VPP2) from the web site. What's the problem and how can I fix it so that I can download VPP2?

It could be your firewall setting or your browser security setting that is preventing you from downloading the software. You should change these temporarily to allow downloading the software, and then return them to your normal settings for security purposes.

To change the browser security setting for Internet Explorer, go to Tools, Internet Options, then click the Security tab. Click the Local Intranet icon, and temporarily change the setting to Med-Low if it's not already set there. Now try to download VPP2. If you're successful, return your security setting to what it was before you changed it. If that didn't work, leave those settings where they are for the time being. Now use the Help menu for your firewall program to find out how to temporarily turn off the firewall. After turning off your firewall, try the download again. If successful, be sure to turn your firewall back on IMMEDIATELY and return your browser security setting to your previous setting.

If both these steps were still unsuccessful, turn your firewall back on, and return your browser security setting to your previous setting. Now contact the ONCom using this form for further assistance. You may have to run a free and secure program titled CrossLoop so that an ONCom support person can look at your PC to see what the problem may be.

15. I updated my copy of Visual Passage Planner 2 (VPP2) to the latest version, and in reading the license agreement, it says that I can install two copies of VPP2, such as one on my desktop computer and one on my laptop computer.  Yet the sheet that came with my N09 materials that had the class license says that only one install is allowed.  Which one is correct?
The USPS license (only one install per student, up to 20 students per class) is the prevailing license. The generalized license that appears during the update process applies only to fully licensed copies (such as the permanent license if one was purchased at extra cost by a student or for the instructor's use). The 180-day USPS license is limited to one install per student.
16. I downloaded and installed a demo version of VPP2 from the Digital Wave web site so that I could get some experience with the program before I installed the USPS version.  Now I can't install the USPS version because I get an error message.  What do I do now?
You need to contact Digital Wave (, and ask them for assistance in resolving the problem, since this is a licensing issue.
17. While preparing for my class, I had a second monitor hooked up and moved the report window to that second monitor so I could read it while working on other things. I then closed VPP2 with the report still displayed on that second monitor. Afterward, when I tried to generate passage reports without the second monitor hooked up, I was no longer able to view any reports for a VPP2 passage. The program froze when I tried. I have tried uninstalling and reinstalling the program, but to no avail. Any idea what might be wrong?
Windows remembers where it puts the report last and is trying to put the new report in the same place: off screen to the right. To move it back without having the second monitor connected, press Alt plus spacebar (simultaneously), then M. Hold down the left arrow key until the report window appears on screen. Press Enter to save the new location.
18. I have a problem with N09 software that isn't answered in these questions. Who do I contact for a resolution to my problem?
In order to keep the cost of The Capn and VPP2 low to USPS, the Offshore Navigation Committee (ONCom) has taken on the responsibility for technical support to USPS members. If you have a question that's not answered here, use this form to request assistance from the ONCom.


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This page last updated Saturday, January 11, 2020 21:48