NAVIGATION: Piloting Small Boats
4.2 (14 ratings)
Course Ratings are calculated from individual students’ ratings and a variety of other signals, like age of rating and reliability, to ensure that they reflect course quality fairly and accurately.
123 students enrolled

NAVIGATION: Piloting Small Boats

Learning small craft navigation techniques for use on ocean coasts, lakes, and rivers
4.2 (14 ratings)
Course Ratings are calculated from individual students’ ratings and a variety of other signals, like age of rating and reliability, to ensure that they reflect course quality fairly and accurately.
123 students enrolled
Created by Larry Prucha
Last updated 9/2015
English [Auto-generated]
Current price: $11.99 Original price: $19.99 Discount: 40% off
1 day left at this price!
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This course includes
  • 1.5 hours on-demand video
  • 10 downloadable resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
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What you'll learn
  • Pilot a small boat on coastal waters, lakes or rivers
  • Use navigational tools

  • Read Charts

  • Plan a route
  • Plot a position on a route
  • How to be safe while boating
  • No special skills are required
  • Students will need to acquire navigation tools (dividers, compass, protractor, parallel ruler) at a marine store

Navigation: Piloting Small Boats

As a Naval Officer I learned a navigation protocol that says do not rely on one method of navigation. So that would mean we should not rely heavily only on our GPS devices. Let's look at a couple of scenarios.

Scenario 1: You are just starting out in boating. Maybe you are a little unsure how to navigate to a port a short distance away and you plan on using your GPS to get there. You don't plan on using a paper chart since a chart is loaded onto your GPS. The problem with this scenario is that you are depending 100% on your GPS to get where you want go. If the GPS fails you will be in a dilemma. Once you leave port it is difficult to look at a surrounding shore line to determine your position.

Scenario 2: Maybe you have many years of boating experience. You plan to go to a destination in Open Ocean that is 30 NM away. You plan to use your GPS to navigate all the way. You do have charts and probably have them open on your navigation table, but you haven't been using the charts to correlate and verify your position with the GPS. You may have a very good idea where you are on the chart, but if the GPS batteries die, you are stuck with getting your positon updated on the chart.

In this course I will show you how to plot a course to your destination. Take the Lat/Long coordinates from your GPS and mark them on your plot. Take sights on landmarks to confirm your location on the plot. Use depth sounder data to confirm your position. Be able to dead reckon your progress on the plot.

The course will use charts from the New England coast. The skills I will show you will be easily adaptable to lakes and rivers of the USA and also to other international waters of the world. I will mention areas where differences may be an issue.

Who this course is for:
  • Any one needing navigation skills for small boats on open water
Course content
Expand all 24 lectures 01:28:59
+ CHARTS - Underwater
2 lectures 07:39

Outline of how underwater features are described in charts.

Preview 06:07

Walking through Woods Hole describing the under water features. Also describing danger areas.

Preview 01:32
+ CHARTS - Sign Posts
7 lectures 28:14

Description of shore side features and description of buoys marking channels and danger areas.

Sign Posts

Walking through Woods Hole again describing features along the shore. Also describing buoyage and approaches to the hole. Again danger areas are highlighted.

Walk Through - Woods Hole 2

Description of the different types of buoys and how they are used.

See attached CoastGuard 486 that has lots of additional decsriptions.

Buoys & Beacons

Description of how buoys are used to mark channels and show safe and dangerous areas.

Buoy Detail Usage

Description of complex channels showing day time and night time considerations.

Channel Buoyage

Description of Safe Water, Regulatory and other types of buoys.

Other Types of Buoys
  • A wrap up of other chart artifacts and chart organization.
  • See attachment that has descriptions of additional resources and where to obtain them.
Charts Summary

Quiz on charts usage

Charts - Sign Posts Quiz
3 questions
+ Navigation Tools
6 lectures 19:40

General description of the tools and usage to be described in the section.

Piloting Tools
  • More description of using magnetic variation and deviation.
  • There are several attachments that show how to calibrate your compass using various methods. These were obtained from the Ritchie Compass Co (with permission).
  • Attached also is a description of the adjustments to a compass from Ritchie Compass Co (with permission).
  • Note the difference between calibrating your compass and creating a compass deviation chart described in the video.

How to create an engine speed chart if a knot meter is not available.

Speed Discusson

Identifing the navigation tools.

Navigation Tools

To begin a list of tools and then a demonstration of how to use them.

Tool Use

Using dividers to measure distance on chart plot.

COURSE - Plot and Usage
Navigation Tools
3 questions
+ Piloting – Planning and Notation
2 lectures 10:09
  1. How to plan a course and layout a plot.
  2. How to account for currents and use them to advantage.
  3. This video shows how to do a detailed plot plan.

Planning a Course
  1. Learning and using Navigation notation.
  2. Attachment: Chart from Newport RI to Cuttyhunk MA.
  3. Piloting along shore attachment from ELDRIDGE (with permission).
  4. Demonstration of fix, estimated position, dead reckoning and bearing line.
Navigation Notation
+ Piloting - Point to Point
2 lectures 07:15
  • This video demonstrates a typical course run down a plot.
  • Includes showing dead reckoning "DR", getting a fix, sighting nav aids to get a fix.
Piloting - Point to Point
  • Added comments about the course run on the plot.
  • There are several added comments to clarify the plot in this video.
Piloting Follow Up
3 questions
+ Safety Essentials
2 lectures 09:59
  • Describes usage of rules of the road and navigation lighting systems.
  • Coast Guard Nav Rules
  • I could not attach the above link. It has a lot of great Nav information.
  • See attached Rules of the Road from ELDRIGE (with permission). As mentioned in the video.
Rules of the Road
  • Description of must have essential safety items.
  • This is a long list but I would not go out on a boat for an afternoon without them.
  • Weather precautions and responsibilities to crew.
Safety Essentials
Safety and Rules of the Road
3 questions
+ Wrap Up
1 lecture 03:32

Course wrap up. Descibes NAV AIDs and using your smart phone as a GPS.

Course Summary and Request for course comments.