Advanced Grades

Advanced Grade classes are designed to be taken in sequence (but do not need to be) after America's Boating Course (ABC3), beginning with Seamanship and continuing with Piloting, Advanced Piloting, Junior Navigation and Navigation.

Seamanship Grade: S

Building on the basics of recreational boating presented in the public boating courses, Seamanship adds foundational information for continuing boater education. The course contents should facilitate knowledge development for increased safe operation of recreational boats and provide the basis for completion of USCG licensing examination. Emphasis within the course has been placed on higher level boating skills, rules of the road, and marlinspike.  This course provides an introduction to the USPS educational program and a strong foundation for the other Advanced Grades courses, and the Elective Courses Cruise Planning and Basic Sail.
Piloting Grade: P

The Piloting course is the first in the sequence of USPS courses on navigation, covering the basics of coastal and inland navigation. This all-new course focuses on navigation as it is done on recreational boats today and embraces GPS as a primary navigation tool while covering enough of traditional techniques so the student will be able to find his/her way even if their GPS fails. The course includes many in-class exercises, developing the student’s skills through hands-on practice and learning. Topics covered include:

  • Charts and their interpretation
  • Navigation aids and how they point to safe water
  • Plotting courses and determining direction and distance
  • The mariner’s compass and converting between True and Magnetic
  • Use of GPS – typical GPS displays and information they provide, setting up waypoints and routes, staying on a GPS route.
  • Pre-planning safe courses and entering them into the GPS
  • Monitoring progress and determining position by both GPS and traditional techniques such as bearings and dead reckoning
  • The “Seaman’s Eye” – simple skills for checking that one is on course.
  • Chapter 7 includes what to do when the GPS fails.
Advanced Piloting Grade: AP

This all-new course continues to build coastal and inland navigation skill, allowing the student to take on more challenging conditions – unfamiliar waters, limited visibility, and extended cruises.  GPS is embraced as a primary navigation tool while adding radar, chartplotters, and other electronic navigation tools.  As with Piloting, the course includes many in-class exercises, advancing the student’s skills through hands-on practice and learning.   Topics covered include:

  • Review of skills learned in Piloting
  • Advanced positioning techniques such as advancing a line of position
  • Other electronics:  radar, depth sounders, autopilots, chartplotters, laptop computer software, etc.
  • Hazard avoidance techniques using electronics (e.g., “keep out” zones in GPS)
  • Collision avoidance using radar and GPS
  • Working with tides: clearances, depth, effects of current
  • Piloting with wind and currents
  • The “Seaman’s Eye” – simple skills for checking that one is on course


Junior Navigator Grade: JN

Junior Navigation is the first in a two-part program of study in offshore navigation, followed by the Navigation course.  It is designed as a practical "how to" course.  Subject matter includes:

  • Precise time determination
  • Use of the Nautical Almanac
  • Taking sextant sights of the sun
  • Reducing sights to establish lines of position
  • Special charts and plotting sheets for offshore navigation
  • Offshore navigational routines for recreational craft

Navigator Grade: N

After Junior Navigation, this course is the second part of the study of offshore navigation, further developing the student's understanding of celestial navigation theory. This Navigation 2009 course deals with learning celestial positioning using other bodies, in addition to positioning using the sun (covered in the Junior Navigation course). This course also deals with electronic software tools that can be used to plan and execute an offshore voyage. You will first learn to reduce these sights by the Law of Cosines method.

Later in the course, you will learn an additional method of sight reduction, the Nautical Almanac Sight Reduction (NASR) method. You will also learn about sight planning techniques. With that knowledge, you will have the tools to take sights and complete your Navigation Sight Folder.

The course includes a chapter on using a software-based voyage planning tool and a navigation program. The final chapter of the course contains a Practice Cruise that ties the separate elements of the course together.






Courses Offered

ABC3


Advanced Grades

Elective Courses

Seminars

Learning Guides


Educational Calendar

Course Calendar


Directions to Course Venues

Mariner Square Drystack & Marina - Alameda



Peninsula
Yacht Club


San Leandro
Yacht Club