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OCSC's

This course requires Celestial Navigation

This course requires Coastal Navigation

This robust celestial navigation class teaches the theory and practice to determine latitude and longitude at sea using the stars, planets, moon, and Sun. You will learn the same methodology utilized by the post-WWII U.S. Navy, Coast Guard, Merchant Marine, and Air Force. The instructor will also review the history of this important position-finding technique.

Class activities will include taking sights of the sun at noon to find your latitude and taking sights of the stars and planets in the evening to determine your position. On the final day of instruction, students will be given the opportunity to take the U.S. Sailing Celestial Navigation Qualification Exam.

The text used: Celestial Navigation using the Sight Reduction Tables Pub. No. 249 by Dominique. F. Prinet, (Victoria, B.C. Canada: FriesenPress, 2017)


Doug MacPherson:
Instructor specializing in Celestial Navigation

Doug grew up in New England learning to sail there on the coast and local lakes. His first introduction to celestial navigation was as a deck officer in the United States Navy. That initial training has turned into a lifetime hobby and Doug loves to introduce others to the fascinating art of finding one’s way across the world’s oceans with the sun, moon, stars, and planets. He has two grown children and resides with his wife of 35 years in Sacramento CA. When he is not sailing with his wife and friends, Doug enjoys playing the violin.

Doug has a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Mass. Institute of Technology and an MBA from the University of California at Davis. He holds a USCG Master’s 100-ton sail and power license.

  • 4
    4 Sessions

    Saturday’s: 09:00 AM to 07:00 PM with breaks for lunch and dinner. Sunday’s: 09:00 AM to 05:00 PM


  • OCSC will provide the following and/or loan out the materials.

    Students keep these items:

    1. 101 Problems in Celestial Nav by Leonard Gray
    2. Celestial Navigation Using The Sight Reduction Table Pub No 249 by Dominique. F. Prinet
    3. Course Plotter P-72
    4. Ultra-Light Dividers
    5. Star Finder 2102-D
    6. Mechanical Pencils, yellow and magenta highlighters
    7. Binder with Doug’s slideshow and printed materials  

    Students can borrow these items:

    1. Sextant
    2. Pub 249 Vol. 1&2 
    3. Davis Work Forms for Pug 249 
    4. Universal Plotting Sheets