Advanced Navigation - (Chief Mate/Master Courses)


I am preparing for the advanced navigation classes at RTM Star Center starting on the 26th of November. Brushing up on the basics. I wanted to know if anyone has taken this class recently and if so what were some of the highlights? Was there anything in particular that was more difficult? All the sign off Sheets for this class are pretty basic, but I looked at some tests for Terrestrial for Chief Mate (on Lapware) and it more resembled a celestial test. I am curious if the advanced Navigation goes into these areas or just sticks to the Assessment Sheets. I am hoping these new areas are covered in class.


Lee, I took the class at STAR center a few years back. Hopefully you know that the course is not required by the coast guard, actually it’s the only class listed that’s not required. That said it’s a difficult class and is based soley on celestial navigation (no Terrestrial), a few guys in my group even failed the exam. Again, no worries about passing since you don’t need the class in the first place.

It was a 6 day class when I took it and covered everything on the exam but I hear they have since cut it down to 5 days so I doubt they still cover every topic. Also of note they hit the ground running, meaning that it’s a good idea to understand the basic material before going. I firmly believe the best way to study is to do a few sights backwards.

Of particular difficulty are backsights, exmeridians and lower (?) transits.



This is advanced navigation (STCW UPGRADE NAVIGATION). I think you are thinking about the Celestial upgrade refresher. (1 week) The Advanced Navigation is required and has 16 assessment sheets that has to be completed either onboard or by the instructor. It looks pretty basic. Planning a voyage and conducting navigation, Determine a Position- Terrestrial Navigation, Compass Errors, gyro compass, steering systems. Stuff like that. I was looking at the Terrestrial Test for Chief Mate and it has mercator sailing, ZT of arrival, ZT of sunset, Azimuth of the sun, amplitude of the sun, 1 bearing problem (Maneuvering board), distance abeam (Bowditch), A consumption and a slip. I guess it isn’t too bad. Looking back at the 3rd Mate terrestrial test, it is a joke compared to this one. Has anyone recently taken the Navigation class. If so how was it?


Oh, ok. I took it at PMI where they call it Voyage Planning & ECDIS. Not too difficult if I remember correctly but the great circles were the most challenging. The ECDIS was a breeze. Actually I lie, I failed the final but it was for BS reasons. The Brit ( Capt. Captain John Scragg ) they had teaching the course was an unforgiving SOB. The test consisted of 10 problems (great circle, mercator…) and plotting a route into the Chesapeake Bay. I had sketched out my initial ideas and penciled in a small emergency anchor position… soon after I discovered the entire entrance was a WWII ordinace disposal area so I outlined this danger and wrote “Do not anchor” within the zone… but I forgot to erase the initial sketch so he failed me. I ended up having to retake the exam and missing my flight home. Not that I was the only one who got sc$#@, one guy found out he made a mistake in the GC and got so pissed at Scragg’s “Proper British” reaction that he launched his pub across the table and stormed out saying “I DON"T NEED THIS SHIT”.

Anyway no worries as I hear the STAR center’s course is not as hard and makes more practical sense since you’re not required to sketch out 100 different things (turn bearings, danger zones, danger bearing, call-in points, pilot pick-up points, emergency anchor areas, backup emerge…you get the idea).


John, I had Capt. Gary Kohlbach in shiphandling at Star Center and he was pretty intense. Definitely by the book, but his whole point was to take advantage of the simulator time and make sure you understand what you were doing. I do not know about the other schools, but I was very impressed by the professionalism of Star Center. I can see how emotions could run a-muck in these courses. I originally took Celestial at Delgado in New Orleans and one guy in there started crying and talking about his mother giving him tylenol when he was a kid and he was allergic to tylenol and that is why he can’t learn how to do celestial. CoooCooo. I bet I am going to see some more of that, because at the end of the 2nd week of one of these classes everybody just wants to be done. I don’t think Star Center spends a whole lot of time on ECDIS, but it was in the bridge simulator and I have to tell you that is an impressive piece of equipment. I don’t think vessel owners in the gulf realize how useful it is. If we had it on my boat it would be used extensively. I guess I fell in love with it because I had never seen one. I am a sucker for new equipment. Maybe I should get my wife the upgrade she’s been asking for.


I kicked myself in the ass for not taking the class at mitags since they do it in a week but after hearing horror stories I was glad I went to STAR. Not something to worry about Lee.

John, How’s PMI’s new facility? How was their ECDIS class?


Ya know Lee…being that I’m one of the most helpful posters on this board, and you seem very comfortable displaying your secrets to the general public, I will give you the hand that you need. How did you put it? “Maybe I should get my wife the upgrade she’s been asking for.” Now, before I render any services, rest assured that there may be hundreds out there that you might consider to be an actual upgrade, even over me(anything is possible). So I’ll just sit out and play the waiting game, but I will gladly help you out as a second to last resort because I wouldn’t want to take your spot. Your BEST Friend, Anchorman


I’m with the anchorman. As Big Joe at the used car depot once told me… why dump money into new parts when you can just trade her in for a younger model?!

Jeff… I took the class at the old location in Belltown, no simulator their but lunch at Pedro’s made up for it’s faults! I I opted for the shorter 3 day ecids class at [Marine Safety](" title="Marine Safety).



I want you to know that I truly appreciate your offer, but I can not ask such a favor from such a close friend. Considering your stature compared to my own endowment you would have to do everything twice (OR EVEN 3 Times) for her to get the same satisfaction and enjoyment that she currently receives from my affections. So even though your offer is acceptable, the quality of services are not equal. Therefore I will have to respectfully deny your offer with many thanks.



You were awake and asking for an upgrade for your wife (not me). Now, your sleeping and watching the Dream channel again. Wake-up!!..Snap-out-of-it!! We’re only here to help. Your suggestion that you have seen my…well, ya know…is kinda…GAY!!!..EVEN IN A DREAM.



Can anyone suggest a self study course for the 500/1600/3rd Unl test. I just dont have the time to go sit in a school for the 2-3week prep classes


Go online to Sandwich Ship Supply and order the Murphy Books. It comes in a package deal and has all the Q&A. Also on this site you can go under tools and there are three links,

[li][<strong><font color="#556574]Captain Murphy - Paper Based Study</font></strong>
[/li] [li][URL=" target=“mainFrame]<strong><font color=”#556574]Lapware - Internet Based Study</font></strong>
[/li] [li][URL=" target=“mainFrame]<strong><font color=”#556574]Captain Joe - CD Based Study</font></strong>](" target="mainFrame)

[<font color="#0000cc]<strong>Sandwich Ship Supply</strong>, Inc.: Capt. Murphy’s deck officer study <strong>…</strong></font>](

one for and the other for for Joe Lobo’s program. lapware is internet based Q & A and the other is windows based for when you are out of internet ability, but you should use both. The following is a list of training manuals you will need to work some of the problems. Coast Pilot/Light List, Tides and Currents Book, Nautical Almanac 1981, Bowditch Pub No 9, Stability Reference Training Manual, Some Maneuvering Boards #5090, Universal Plotting Sheet for Celestial. You can order the training charts for Long Island, Block Island, and Chesapeake. That is about it. Enjoy!


You are going to need a Calculator also. The one I have found to work best for me is a TI-36 X Solar (around 15-20 bucks at Walmart or Circuit City). It is easy to use and has all required functions. The wrong calculator can make your life miserable! I suggest buying 2 or 3 when you find them, because sometimes they are not easy to find.


Did you guys hear about the guy sitting for Ch. mate/master who brought a Backberry with internet access into the testing center and got busted. All I can say is Brass Balls!


I didn’t hear about that, but that is about the dumbest thing I ever heard. What happend to writing formulas on the inside of the anckle under the pants leg, then assume that 'ol cross leg position and look down?..that’s what Lee said anyway.


Ankles? You guys are amateurs. Right them right on the top of your thigh then slowly jack up your shorts when you need to take a peek. BONUS: If the examiner catches you just give him a wink and he’ll leave you alone!


Advanced Navigation was ridiculous. A complete waste of 2 weeks. The best thing about the entire class was the instructor (Dave Greenhouse). He is a good dude. It went over crap for 3rd Mate/2nd Mate. I was under the impression it would help prepare to take the Chief Mate Test. Well one good thing is I won $3900 at the Hard Rock Seminole, so it wasn’t a complete waste. It helped cover costs. A lot of companies are paying entirely for the classes and expenses and even paying the persons day rate while in classs, not mine. Snff, Snff boo hoo. ANy way I have SHip Management and Marine propulsion plant in February. I should say I am on the commercial Stand by list to confirm 2 weeks prior to the class starting. The new Union school rules for commercial mariners.


Dave Greenhouse was my first Chief Mate out of the acadmy… If you see him again be sure to say John from the Cape Mohican says hi!


I’ll tell Dave Greenhouse today. He’s teaching Cargo, but we have a guest speaker for LNG today (Greg Musk).



Has anyone done chief mate classes at Mid Atlantic Maritime Academy ?