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Offshore Sailing School Tip: Have your sailboat all ready to go? Whether you purchased a new or used boat, you probably took your time picking out just the right one for your needs. Even if you can't wait to get out on the open water and give it a try, consider taking a proper coastal navigation course. If you operate a boat, you are required to follow certain rules. If you read books or go online to learn about coastal navigation, you'll soon find that the rules you are required to learn are vast and seemingly complicated. Additionally, boat navigation rules change frequently as new laws are made at the state and federal level.
One way to make learning these rules easy is to take a coastal navigation course. Before you sign up, check them out thoroughly. To learn how they work, choose a school that has a good reputation for teaching coastal navigation courses. That school should have a long history teaching, be operated by certified instructors and have curriculum that go beyond basic minimum standards. Most schools combine some classroom time with on-the-water time but look for a coastal navigation course that gets you on the water as much as possible.
Here are some basic topics that should be covered in any coastal navigation course: GPS navigation techniques, navigational inputs, piloting, plotting set and drift, deviation and variation, log procedures, inshore piloting, navigating in bad weather and fog, and how to handle tides and currents.