Coastal Navigation

Ocean Sailing Academy's Coastal Navigation course is the sailor's first step to complete self-reliance at sea. The course lasts six days and combines Coastal Navigation theory with practical application. Students sail the coastline exercising pinpoint navigation with and without the aid of electronic navigation devices. These skills are imperative for the aspiring sea bound traveler who is blessed with the technology of GPS and radar, yet aware of potential electronic malfunction and responsible enough to master the skills that will get the vessel and crew home safely. Graduates are certified Coastal Navigators, in addition to collecting their first salt in the path toward wearing the badge of being a "little salty".

6-Day Class Format. Knowledge and skill through Bareboat Cruising required. US Sailing Coastal Navigation certification available.

Enrollment package includes:

  • 3 Day Lecture


  • None, but previous navigational experience is strongly recommended

Available Certifications:

  • None
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Instructional cruises on Charleston Harbor

3 day classroom only course (lecture only) - $595

2 day lecture with 4 day live aboard practical - $1,800

Materials covered include:

  • Knowledge and skill necessary to navigate with and without the aid of electronic devices.
  • Advanced Navigation and Piloting: Operating a cruising sailboat in coastal waters while covering considerable distances.
  • Understanding the Chart Types and Corrections
  • Recognizing all Aids to Navigation
  • A thorough understanding of Tides and Currents
  • Skippering knowledge for prudent Passage Planning
  • Maintaining a Dead Reckoning Log
  • Sighting and Plotting Bearings
  • Obtaining a Conventional Fix
  • Utilizing Circular Lines of Position
  • Cross Referencing Depth Contours
  • Coastal Navigation Landfall and Departure Strategy
  • Navigating in Poor Visibility
  • Utilizing Clearing Bearings for Landfall and Departure
  • Utilizing Natural Ranges in Conjunction with a Chart
  • Creating a Vessel's Deviation Card
  • Understanding Radar Fixing Methods
  • Acquiring a Running Fix
  • Calculating Set and Drift for Estimated Positioning
  • Practical Application: Sailing a diverted course line around multiple waypoints with varying current and wind effects while accurately determining positioning throughout. You will spend 2 nights at anchor and 1 night at a marina. We suggest this class for anyone who is following their dream of chartering in the Caribbean or other sailing destinations!


Ocean Sailing Academy teaches Coastal Navigation with no more than four students per instructor, guaranteeing students a high level of personalized attention.

Upon completion of Coastal Navigation, the student is eligible to receive the U.S. Sailing Coastal Navigation Certification. To learn more about U.S. Sailings Requirements, please click here.

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