Coastal Navigation Course

Chris Riley by Chris Riley Updated on August 15, 2019. In nauticalknowhow

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This course will prepare you for the navigation portion of the U.S.C.G. captain’s license exam. It will also prepare you for the Coastal Navigation Standard Exam (ASA 105). And, it will show you how to get your boat to your favorite waterfront restaurant, safely and on time.

The navigation course is a combination of a printed text/workbook for home study, sample and real time chart work, online animated demonstrations and solutions to the problems in the workbook.

Coastal Navigation Course

Topics covered in the course include:

  • Introduction to Navigation
  • Understanding Latitude & Longitude
  • Reading the Nautical Chart
  • Finding Latitude, Longitude & Distance
  • Finding Direction
  • Distance, Speed & Time Calculations
  • Getting to Know Your Magnetic Compass
  • Dead Reckoning
  • Two & Three Bearing Fixes
  • Running Fixes
  • Finding Set & Drift
  • Estimated Position
  • Finding Course to Steer
  • Finding Relative Bearings
  • Tide and Current Calculations
  • Publications: Coast Pilot, Light List, Local Notice to Mariners
  • Publication Excerpts
  • Putting It All Together
  • Final Exam

The course includes all the above listed chapters, excerpts from Tide and Current Tables, the Coast Pilot, Light List and Local Notice to Mariners. This material is bound in a Nautical Know How Coastal Navigation Course loose-leaf binder. Sample and full size training charts are included. There is additional online information, tips, tricks and tools and online answers with step-by-step explanations for each chapter’s charting exercises.

To see actual pages from the workbook, click on the thumbnails below.


Page from workbook Page from workbook Page from workbook 

You will start with 7 simple charts to learn the basics of reading and plotting on a nautical chart.

Simple charts

You will then progress through 11 detailed mini-charts (sections from full-size charts) as your navigation skills grow.

Mini carts

By completing the exercises in the workbook and practicing your charting skills, you will be ready to “put it all together” on a full-size 1210 TR chart.

The course includes text/workbook, sample charts, color mini-charts, a full size 1210 TR training chart and access to the Navigation web site for registered students.

We can no longer answer specific navigation questions by email, but all the information is available online.

We are very pleased to announce that this course has been chosen for use as a textbook by the Faculty of Maritime Studies at Vestfold College, Tonsberg, Norway.

Some comments from students about this course:

“Thoroughly enjoyed the course and learned a lot. Material was very good and lessons lent repetitive practice on skills covered in earlier chapters. I’d highly recommend this to any yachtsman.”
Michael, KY

“Great course – we bought the hard copies of Coastal and Basic and found them both to be very well written from an instructional point of view. As a commercial pilot I thought the manuals were excellent!!”
Errol, MA

“Thanks for a great course! I learned more than anticipated. Now I’m off to find a location to take the captain’s license exam.”
Johanna, ME

“I am, of course, very pleased to have passed the final exam. More importantly, I both enjoyed taking the course and learning an important element of boating safety. The course materials, both written and online, were easy to follow and made understanding clear. I particularly liked the graphic illustrations and sample charts.”
Michael, NJ

“Great Course! Challenging! Need certificate to challenge ASA & do planned Advanced Coastal Cruising course in 2 weeks. Thanks.”
Charles, TX

“I have thoroughly enjoyed this course. My learning does not stop here; it is just the beginning. I appreciate your mentoring. Thanks.”
Judy, CO

“This is the first step to a Captain’s license for me. It has been enjoyable and informative.”
Tom, NH

Purchase the Coastal Navigation Course now:

Optional Tool Set

An optional Navigation Tool Set is available in the event that you do not already have the necessary plotting tools. This mix of plotting tools is a very good value and was created by Weems and Plath specifically for the Nautical Know How Coastal Navigation Course.

Features: Ultralight Dividers, Parallel Rulers, a Nautical Slide Rule, and a navigator’s pencil.

Set comes packaged in a durable plastic storage pouch. $49.50 – shipped free with the Navigation Course.

About Chris

Outdoors, I’m in my element, especially in the water. I know the importance of being geared up for anything. I do the deep digital dive, researching gear, boats and knowhow and love keeping my readership at the helm of their passions.



  • Denny Michaud on November 15, 2019

    I started the course 15 years ago but never finished due to family issues. I presently have the workbook but need the maps that correspond with the course. How can I get these?


  • Don Doggett on January 23, 2020

    Is this course still for sale?


  • John A Medeiros on March 20, 2020

    I would like to purchase the Coastal Navigation Course, but I do not see where to purchase it?


  • Armistead Dudley on April 2, 2020

    I need the answers ro the coursework. I purchased this years ago , but never finished so I’m starting again.


  • Janelle McPoland on April 16, 2020

    I want to order the course. Are you able to share with me how to order?


  • Tim Donovan on June 28, 2020

    Is this site still supported. I purchased it some years ago and wanted to review.


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