Free Online Nav Course


Vanderbilt University is offering a free online course in celestial navigation fundamentals. The course-developed in collaboration with PS Technical Editor Ralph Naranjo, made possible by the Blended & Online Learning Design (BOLD) Fellows Program, and hosted by Vanderbilt-covers the basics for completing a sight reduction form to obtain a line of position (LOP). Using videos and an online worksheet, the course includes an overview of celestial navigation (astronav) concepts, the mechanics of plotting an LOP, and examples of using a sight reduction forms to obtain values to plot the LOP of a celestial body. According to Vanderbilt, this course serves to address the lack of widely available instruction in celestial navigation.

For more information, visit

Those wishing to further their celestial navigation skills also can take a course taught by Naranjo, author of The Art of Seamanship, at the Annapolis School of Seamanship. For course dates and details, visit www.annapolis

GLCC Webinars

The Great Lakes Cruising Club (GLCC) and the Cruising Club of America (CCA) recently announced that their Safety for Cruising Couples seminar-and others-will now be available online through the GLCC Schools live webinars.

The GLCC School is focused on helping couples and short-handed crews safely enjoy their cruising experience. The online webinars are taught by industry specialists and GLCC-accredited sail- or powerboating colleagues, and cover everything from weather to maintenance, provisioning to navigation, safe boating to anchoring techniques, and regional cruising guides to locking skills. If you can’t make a scheduled live webinar, there are opportunities to view and register for a recording of the live event on demand after initial live broadcast.

GLCC School sessions typically run 60 to 90 minutes, and registration runs about $15 to $20, depending on whether youre a member of the GLCC or the U.S. or Canadian power squadrons.

For more information, visit or check the the website for updated webinar offerings.

Marine radio course

The US Power Squadrons and the Boat US Foundation have teamed up to offer a new online course on using the marine VHF radio. All About Marine Radio, offered at, teaches participants how to use standard VHF radios as well as newer Digital Selective Calling (DSC) VHF radios.

The course offers advice on choosing the best radio for your needs and how to get the most use out of it. It covers basic VHF usage rules, how to make and receive radio calls (including which channels to use), how to obtain and use a Maritime Mobile Service Identity (MMSI) number, how to call for help in an emergency, and how to ensure that your transmissions are understandable.

The online course costs $20 for members of BoatUS, the U.S. and Canadian power squadrons, the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, and the Great Lakes Cruising Club; it costs $25 for non-members.

For more information, visit

Practical Sailor has been independently testing and reporting on sailboats and sailing gear for more than 45 years. Supported entirely by subscribers, Practical Sailor accepts no advertising. Its independent tests are carried out by experienced sailors and marine industry professionals dedicated to providing objective evaluation and reporting about boats, gear, and the skills required to cross oceans. Practical Sailor is edited by Darrell Nicholson, a long-time liveaboard sailor and trans-Pacific cruiser who has been director of Belvoir Media Group's marine division since 2005. He holds a U.S. Coast Guard 100-ton Master license, has logged tens of thousands of miles in three oceans, and has skippered everything from pilot boats to day charter cats. His weekly blog Inside Practical Sailor offers an inside look at current research and gear tests at Practical Sailor, while his award-winning column,"Rhumb Lines," tracks boating trends and reflects upon the sailing life. He sails a Sparkman & Stephens-designed Yankee 30 out of St. Petersburg, Florida.


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