Piloting is the first of the advanced navigational classes focusing on techniques for piloting a boat in coastal and inland conditions. The course emphasizes planning and checking along with the use of GPS for determining position, and introduces digital charting along with traditional charting, compass and dead reckoning skills. Plotting, labeling, use of the compass, aids to navigation and a host of related topics are included in this all-new approach to coastal and inland piloting.
Note: The insignia for completing both Seamanship and Piloting is two bars, as shown to the right. The awardee is called a USPS Pilot as well.
Although Piloting embraces GPS as a primary navigation tool it covers enough of traditional techniques so the student will be able to find his/her way even if their GPS fails. The course includes many in-class exercises, developing the student’s skills through hands-on practice and learning. Ten classes of two hours each normally are scheduled for presentation of this course. In addition the students have seven days to complete the open book exam. Topics covered include:
- Charts and their interpretation
- Navigation aids and how they point to safe water
- Plotting courses and determining direction and distance
- The mariner’s compass & converting between True and Magnetic
- Use of GPS – displays, waypoints, routes, etc..
- Pre-planning safe courses and entering them into the GPS
- Determining position via GPS and traditional techniques
- The “Seaman’s Eye” – skills for checking that one is on course.