Courses

OCSC's

This course requires Navigation I

Even in the age of electronics and global communication, Celestial navigation remains one of the most fundamentally useful and respected skills a sailor can possess. This course is taught by Doug MacPherson who originally learned it as a deck officer in the United States Navy. This course is designed to teach members to find their position anywhere on the globe using only Polaris and the Sun.

On the first evening, students will work through determining their location using sights taken from Polaris. On the following day, after calculating Local Apparent Noon, the class will again determine their locations by taking ‘sights’ on the sun.

Successful completion prepares you to:

  • Confidently use celestial navigation tools and publications.
  • Take sights of celestial bodies
  • Fix your location using the sun and the North Star

TOPICS COVERED
  • Using a sextant

    The main tool for celestial Navigation.
  • Understanding Celestial Coordinates

    Similar to latitude and longitude on the map.
  • Universal Time and Local Apparent Noon

    Time zones are cheating! Learn to predict the solar time.
  • Locating and Sighting the Sun and Polaris

    Learn to calculate the position of heavenly bodies.
  • Using Nautical Tables to determine Location

    Much of the footwork is already done for us! Learn where to look for help with calculations.
  • 2
    2 Sessions

    Friday evening from 7pm-10pm followed by Saturday from 9am-5pm. Both days will have a combination of classroom time and practice in the field.


  • OCSC will provide the following and/or loan out the materials.
    • Binder with course materials
    • Plastic protractor
    • Wooden Ruler
    • Hand Bearing Compass
    • Sextant, plastic or metal is fine
    • Current copy of the Nautical Almanac (commercial edition)
    •  We will provide photo-copied daily pages and older almanacs for use as an alternative

      Please Bring with you the following items:
    • Calculator (phone calculators are fine)

This Course Prepares You For