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Weekend Navigator

Weekend Navigator is designed to provide both a basic and advanced navigation course that includes the use of GPS and charts, parallel rulers, dividers, and compass to ensure safety if your electronics go out.

It provides students with the rudiments of navigation by using GPS along with the back-up skill of navigation using charts, plotting tools, and dead reckoning. The intent is to provide the student with a solid foundation with emphasis on technique without a blind reliance on electronics.

Basic Navigation Topics Included

  • What is navigationThree steps of navigation and piloting without electronics
  • Fundamental of waypoint navigationPractice using a sample cruise exercise, GPS, avoiding hazards, and using landmarks
  • The tools of navigationUse of nautical charts including scales, chart symbology, ATONs, plotting tools, GPS, compass, and other electronics

 Advanced Navigation Topics Included

  • Planning with GPS and paper charts – Planning and paper charts, chart plotting, and entering waypoints into your GPS *
  • Planning with digital charts – Using digital charts, cruise planning software, chart planning software, working with digital charts, chart plotters, and PDA’s
  • Planning to avoid danger – Defining the area, marking obstacles, and marking landmarks
  • Underway with GPS and paper charts – Steps in waypoint navigation, staying on course, navigating a route with GPS, navigating in a region, marking objects, and keeping track
  • Underway with digital charts – Using a chart plotter underway, PDA’s and pocket PC’s, and the future of onboard computers
  • Double-checking with instruments – Making quick observations and more accurate bearings
  • Eye of the mariner – Use of headings, ranges, bearings, collision bearings, and rules of the road
  • What to do if the GPS quits – Knowing when to stop and regroup, plan before proceeding, and navigating without GPS
  • Planning as you go with GPS – Finding where you are and how to plot a safe path to a new destination
  • Tides, winds, and currents – Knowledge of tides and tidal currents, adjusting for tides and tidal currents, and winds, waves, and other unpredictable events
  • Navigating with radar – Range settings for recreational boaters, the radar display, collision avoidance, and navigating with radar
  • Using depth in navigation – Using depth sounders versus sonars and fish finders, and navigating with depth sounders
  • Using the radio in navigation – How to use a radio in an emergency, use of the weather radio, and fixed versus handheld VHF
  • Using an electronic compass – Types of electronic compasses and using the electronic compass for navigation
  • Using an autopilot in navigation – How to navigate with an autopilot
  • Navigating harbors and channels with electronics – Importance of good visibility and operating under limited visibility
  • Navigating under adverse conditions – Operating under limited visibility and influence of the wind and seas
  • A last word in avoiding danger – Importance and use of electronic alarms and visual observations
  • Other instrumentation in navigation – Use of weather instruments
  • Connecting it all together – Basic electronic interconnection and high-speed connection