Could someone please advise what would be a good home study book to get my foot in the door with Celestial Navigation? I plan on taking the course at Houston but would like to get a head start with said material. Thanks for any info.
Just use Bowditch or duttons to make sure you have gmt, gha etc mastered. That will make your life much easier when you get in the class.
Don’t forget to read the explanations at the end of the daily pages in the Nautical Almanac and in the front of the H.O. 229 (both books you should have if you don’t already, also make sure your H.O. 229 is 15˚ through 30˚ because that’s what the USCG uses for their questions). I’ve picked up some fairly decent thin paper back books on C-Nav explanations at places like Borders, Barnes and Noble, and West Marine. Hardly USCG approved reading but it’ll get you there.
Duttons and Bowditch are great, but its best to start with something simple in plain language that is easier to understand. Buy and use the course materials from whatever school you plan to attend. Since you are allowed to use the 1981 Bowditch Vol II during the USCG exam, you should buy a copy on Ebay. Also buy the 1981 Nautical Almanac reprint, and the HO 229 Volume for Latitudes 15 to 30. You are allowed to use these books on the USCG exam, and they have have some good diagrams and explanatory notes. You need to learn how to quickly find information in these books.
I recommend learning onboard. If you have a cadet or recent academy grad aboard, you probably have a pretty good tutor. You can learn to actually do basic celestial in one month of practice.
[QUOTE=tugsailor;106115]I recommend learning onboard. If you have a cadet or recent academy grad aboard, you probably have a pretty good tutor. You can learn to actually do basic celestial in one month of practice.[/QUOTE]
Learn something from a cadet!? Say it ain’t so! The apocalypse is upon us!
Most cadets are actually pretty good at the theoretical part of celestial navigation.
Study up on Chronometer time and be able to convert that into GMT before you enter any table. Make sure you can find the LHA of a body before the start of the class. Celestial Navigation is not that hard, it just involves a lot of steps that are easy to make mistakes on.
There was a thread on here not more than a couple of months ago having to do with the modern practicality of C-nav and it eventually evolved into a back and forth of celestial problems (if I remember correctly there were some pretty decent examples). It was mostly a lot of chatter but you might find some useful tips in there if you can dig it up with the search function.
I am thinking about the Starpath online and home study course, has anyone used this program?
Celestial Navigation for Yachtsmen, second edition, by Mary Blewitt is a very good, easy to read book on the subject.
Easy to read, easy to understand.
If you take a home study course you’ll have to take the exam at the USCG. If you go to a two week school, you take the exam there (and it might be a little easier).
If you need an oceans endorsement for an assignment or a pay bump, its cheaper and faster (two weeks) to just go to school. If you you are not in any hurry, you can buy Practical Celestial Navigation (no longer in print) on Ebay for about $10. Its a mixed text and workbook format with practice problems. I think celestial is better learned out of a book than online.
[QUOTE=OSVCaptain1977;106180]I am thinking about the Starpath online and home study course, has anyone used this program?[/QUOTE]
I used the celestial study guide from Hawsepipe.net, thenjust took the exam at the REC. No course
The celestial CD from Hawespipe actually teaches youcelestial, instead of sample questions and answers as many CD study guides are.
Having said that, if you are going to take the course, getting the CD from Hawsepipe (or anothercompany) is not needed. Take the verygood advice mentioned earlier. Just geta couple good books, read up on the process, and make sure you look at the frontpages of the Nautical Almanac (lots of good info there).
[QUOTE=tugsailor;106189]If you take a home study course you’ll have to take the exam at the USCG. If you go to a two week school, you take the exam there (and it might be a little easier).[/QUOTE]
Only if adding an ocvceans route to anexisting license for 1600 GRT or less. If it’s for an original license and/or for ann unlimited license, you have to take the Coast Guard exam.
The exams in approved course are supposed to be as difficult, if not more difficult than the exam from the Cioast Guard. Per 46 CFR 11.303© the standard for aspproving a course in lieu of a Coast Guard exam is that student who passes the course could pass the Coast Guard exam ON THE FIRST ATTEMPT.
[QUOTE=jdcavo;106202]Only if adding an ocvceans route to anexisting license for 1600 GRT or less. If it’s for an original license and/or for ann unlimited license, you have to take the Coast Guard exam.
The exams in approved course are supposed to be as difficult, if not more difficult than the exam from the Cioast Guard. Per 46 CFR 11.303© the standard for aspproving a course in lieu of a Coast Guard exam is that student who passes the course could pass the Coast Guard exam ON THE FIRST ATTEMPT.[/QUOTE]
Now that is some thing I did not know, see, learn some thing new everyday
For me, the Great Circle routes part of the exam at REC were a little hard, but the rest was not that difficult, But then again, none of the celestial exam is rocket science. I am inclined to think to many people worry about passing this exam/course.
Thanks for all the great advice everyone…
I used the Crawford Nautical school material along with some material the Mass Maritime Mates gave me aboard my last ship. The Crawford takes it step by step in very defined topics starting with time, sunrise, sunset, LAN, Lat by Polaris, star finder, etc., working up to 3 star fixes. I would work on this every night and then apply what I learned on the next watch I stood. After a month I was doing very well and the 2nd and 3rd Mate spent some time showing me how to adjust the sextant, and helped me refine my skills and my organization. The last two months aboard I stayed very busy going up off watch and doing as much as I could and then usually doing 2-3 Azimuths a watch, a 3 star and a planet fix, and ended up shooting a fair amount of sun-lines unless we were UN-Reping. Now that I am back at the Academy taking our C-Nav course, it’s pretty much a joke for me as I have already taught myself everything that is in our course at GLMA and then some. However, Im tutoring a few students and free lunch/dinner and beer isn’t to bad!
Check your email inbox OSV.
I have a peculiar situation upcoming. I’m due to renew my 1600 Master in Sept. I took my celestial in 1998 and submitted the certificate at next renewal. NMC lost everything, license sea time certificates etc. Renewed again in 2003 based on license in hand and sea time letters.
Never had oceans endorsement printed on license but always had certificate which was always ok. Renewed again in 2008 and everything was lost again. Cost me a few months work and celestial certificate. Problem now is no oceans endorsement on the license and the school has no more records from 15 years ago. No more proof.
Am I going to have to take this class again? Any ideas or help. Can’t pass the test since I’ve never even seen a sextant and don’t home study well. Don’t want to pay 5 grand either.
Your screwed. Not unless they can find your certificate in the federal archive. That is a mistake u will pay for now. Seems harsh but it is what it is. Sorry
Well how did you pass the class and get the certificate if you can’t pass the test? I suppose if you can’t do the calculations and can’t operate a sextant, maybe you don’t rate an Oceans Endorsement.
[QUOTE=Jeffrox;107002]Well how did you pass the class and get the certificate if you can’t pass the test? I suppose if you can’t do the calculations and can’t operate a sextant, maybe you don’t rate an Oceans Endorsement.[/QUOTE]
Maybe I’m just old fashioned but I agree. Why should anyone who can’t use a sextant to accurately fix their position hold an oceans endorsement? Some damn third world country is never more than a button push or two away from shooting down all our damn satellites. I would be extremely uncomfortable being more than a day’s sailing away from shore without a sextant and some tables on board.