Courses

Coastal Passagemaking

This course requires Bareboat Cruising

This course requires Coastal Navigation

This course requires Navigation III

OCSC's Coastal Passagemaking course, like all of our courses, is intensive, challenging and incredibly rewarding. The work is hard, you will be very tired by the end, and you will leave with great new skills and a full appreciation for the rigors of long coastal passages.

California's coast is notorious for fog, navigational challenges, mercurial weather, and the dangers of its stark and rocky shore – and that's all good because if you can master sailing on the coast here, you can do it almost anywhere. Even the Golden Gate is superb training venue because it's one of the most challenging port entrances in the country. You will spend your time in this course learning the skills peculiar to coastal passages, where preparation, situational awareness, communication, team skills, problem-solving ability, and leadership are at a premium.

You will transit the Golden Gate several times, undergo a passage, of which at least 20 miles will be at night and learn how to quickly assess and work with the specific set of skills and attributes your crew bring to the trip. The last two days of the course include the practical evaluation for all certification candidates.

This course rewards sailors who attend with the full package of prerequisite skills and knowledge as well as lots of recent experience.

Coastal Passagemaking certification means you possess skills and knowledge that the vast majority of sailors have yet to acquire. The certification that you receive means that you have a substantial set of cruising skills and have demonstrated those in a challenging environment. It is also your ticket to confidence when handling the more challenging coastal passages of the world where the conditions and distances call for more than Bareboat Cruising skills.

Successful completion prepares you to:

  • Plan, organize and execute a safe, efficient coastal passage along most coasts in the world.
  • Sail from Seattle to Los Angeles; Bar Harbor, Maine to Norfolk, Virginia; or Boston to Miami – and make many other coastal passages that demand excellent seamanship, leadership and navigational skills.

TOPICS COVERED
  • Passage planning

    Develop a plan for long coastal cruises with contingencies for bad weather, optimal arrival times at distant anchorages, measuring against food, water, diesel supplies.
  • Managing crew watches

    Learn the secrets to keeping crew fresh, lookouts aware and helms persons on course. dealing with sleep deprivation, motion sensitivity, and off-watch discipline.
  • Determining provisioning package

    Choosing food that is best for cruising, stable, easy-to-prepare, healthful and easy-on-the-stomach.
  • Practical application of all advanced navigation skills learned in Coastal Navigation

    Danger bearings, current triangles, estimated positions, running fixes, keeping a navigator’s log.
  • Emergencies at sea drills

    Dismastings, crew overboard, uncontrollable flooding, fire on board, striking underwater objects-training on coordinating efforts of crew in all emergencies.
  • See All
  • Preparing the vessel

    Distance cruising specifics, such as jack lines for harnesses, radar checks, importance of double checking all major systems, engine filters and bottom cleaning for fuel efficiency and boat speed.
  • Proper techniques for Golden Gate transit

    When to go and when not to go. Where is it safest — south, middle or north? And when? Dealing with a current set into the wind, protecting vessel and crew from the South Bar, shipping and the "potato patch."
  • Leadership and decision making

    Keeping crew happy and collegial, communicating plans and intentions properly and thoroughly, applying safety and seamanship templates to all decisions, learning to manage and minimize risk.
  • Entering port in reduced visibility

    Radar, GPS, advanced coastal navigation skills in concert to find a narrow entrance without seeing it well. Learn to factor sea state, wind, wind driven water current, tidal current, tide level, etc.
  • Reefing underway in a seaway

    Learn how to manage wind driven ocean waves and swells while engaged in sail handling or while in charge of the vessels direction and speed while reefing is performed.
  • Night navigation and helmsmanship

    Learn to cope with the disorientation of losing view of the shore, horizon, and city lights, and still stay on course. Protect night vision, learn increased importance of radar and lookouts.
  • Applying Bareboat Cruising skills in a new environment

    Close quarters maneuvering, rafting, reefing, heaving to, etc. Use your skills in a less forgiving environment than the usual Bareboat Charter cruising area provides.
  • 7
    Seven Consecutive Days

    Monday–Sunday (Tues–Sun nights are spent aboard the boat)


  • Here is a list of the materials that are included in your Coastal Passagemaking course:
    • US Sailing Passagemaking text.
    • Use of OCSC foul weather gear and personal floatation device during the course.
    • Provisioning for the course.
    • One shoreside day for classroom training, vessel orientation and stowing of provisions.
    • Six days and five nights aboard.
  • Here are items you should bring to class:
    • Personal deck harness
    • Hand bearing compass
    • Personal motion sensitivity remedy

    All of the above items are available at the OCSC Pro Shop (at a 10 percent discount for club members) and at any marine supply store. If you choose to purchase from us, please call in advance of the course to purchase them so we can ship them to you or have them set aside for you to pick up.

This Course Prepares You For