Piloting Course

Boating Classes locally

Piloting Course Description

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 can 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. Ten classes of two hours each are typically scheduled for the 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.


Course Outline

Session 1             Chapter 1 Introduction to Navigation – with class exercises

Session 2             Chapter 2 Tools of Piloting – with class exercises

Session 3             Chapter 3 Plotting & Planning Techniques – through Bearings with class exercises

Session 4             Chapter 3 Plotting & Planning Techniques – Relative Bearings, Pre-planning Safe Paths to end with class exercises

Session 5             Chapter 4 On The Water – with class exercises

Session 6             Chapter 5 Beginning GPS Navigation –using GPS as a navigation tool

Session 7             Chapter 5 Beginning GPS Navigation -with class exercises, start a cruise

Session 8             Chapter 6 Monitoring Progress – with class exercises, continue the cruise

Session 9             Chapter 7 Manual Piloting – with class exercises, continue cruise

Session 10           Chapter 8 Review and hand out open book exam