American Practical Navigator - Bowditch, 2017 ED

The 2017 edition of Bowditch is available on-line.

Here: American Practical Navigator

The American Practical Navigator, first published in 1802, was billed as the “epitome of navigation” by its original author, Nathaniel Bowditch. The text has evolved with the advances in navigation practices since that first issue and continues to serve as a valuable reference for marine navigation in the modern day.

The publication describes in detail the principles and factors of navigation, including piloting, electronic navigation, celestial navigation, mathematics, safety, oceanography and meterology. It also contains various tables used in typical navigational calculations and solutions, including the formulas used to derive the tabular data. Many of these solutions can also be found using the on-line calculators located in the Nautical Calculators section of this Web site.

The 2017 edition of the American Practical Navigator returns to a two-volume format, which can be downloaded as complete PDF documents by selecting one of the hyperlinks below. Individual chapters, tables and sections can be viewed and downloaded from the Chapters pull-down list.


Finally! It’s been seriously overdue for an update seeing as how it’s been 15 years since the last version was published.

It’s also interesting to note that it’s in two volumes again. I’m curious if they’re going to update the exam room publications to the new version instead of continuing to use the 35 year old edition.

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Looks like that’s a no…

From the Foreward and Preface of Bowditch 2017:

“The extensively revised 2017 edition is a “digital” one with the official version in continuous maintenance and hosted on NGA’s maritime safety information web portal. As with NGA’s other nautical publication, the digital edition eliminates the need “to print” new editions in order to get new information out to the marine navigation community.”

“I do understand the desire for a hard copy Bowditch, but publishing costs have served to actually decrease our ability to include all of the information we wanted to make available to the mariner (this electronic version has 2 full volumes!). Needless to say, we are justifiably proud of this 2017 edition and equally honored to continue such a note- worthy legacy of the navigational expertise first introduced by Nathaniel Bowditch 215 years ago. Wherever you may sail, I trust this fine resource will assure your safe passage. I wish you all fair winds and following seas.”

I’m just waiting for them to release a free digital edition of the Nautical Almanac one day soon. That… would be nice.

They could always print a few for each REC.

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I retract my whining about the lack of a digital edition of the Nautical Almanac. There is one… though not NGA published, but they are downloadable PDF’s.

Caveat emptor. I downloaded one of those and couldn’t figure out why my calculations were off until I compared it to a hard copy of the almanac and realized that the negative (-) sign was missing from some of the ‘d’ corrections.

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refraining from making a c.captain-ish comment about Norwegians (Norwegian writer) and “the d”

I believe the official nautical almanac is a joint production of NGA and Her Majesties Hydrographic Office so the NGA can’t just release it free.

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You mean you people can’t even write your own Almanac and make your own damned misstakes.
Well, glad that a Norwegian could come to the rescue. (Again)