New to Nav

Hello folks, I’m a deckhand on a towboat and am wanting to start working towards my mates license and have no nav experience. Any tips to help a guy get going in the right direction

Get a book called “Dutton’s Nautical Navigation.” Current edition is 15th, I believe. That will pretty much walk you through everything you’ll need to know for traditional navigation (and pass USCG exams) and is a precursor to understanding ECS or ECDIS navigation properly. For electronic systems (radar, ECS or ECDIS), read the manuals for your boat’s specific system.

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What type of tug? What area of operation?

Puget Sound don’t necessarily need to know it yet just want to get a jump on it

Ship assist? Barge moving? Offshore towing based out of Puget Sound?

Reach out to the Captain on your rig. He will, if he’s worth his salt, will try to help you as long as you did a good job for him.Your best asset. There are other avenues,but start with being valuable to your crew. Good things may follow. not overnight, but get his confidence first. Don’t kiss his butt, but be polite. We have very advanced radar for that. Just do your job, and stay focused.

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Moving oil barges, Bunkering

First, be in the wheelhouse as lookout when underway and you don’t have other duties. Learn the waterways and how the boat is run. If they don’t eventually offer to let you steer ask to learn. A deckhand I could trust to steer was invaluable. (I had a few where their only instructions if I had to leave the wheelhouse to pee were, “if something’s wrong pull back to idle and I’ll come running”. They couldn’t steer and couldn’t be taught.)


Agree Capt_Phoenix. Had a few of both. All being the same,many of us had a feel for who wanted to get ahead, and who was willing to make a bit more effort. We hated to lose those guys moving up that made our jobs easier, but had a clue.

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