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Passage Making & Coastal Sailing Course

Coastal Passage Making with Coastal Navigation

If your goal is to accomplish blue water sailing, head over the horizon beyond sight of land on long voyages, the Coastal Passage Making Course helps you decide whether long distance sailing is for you.
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How the Coastal Sailing Course Evolves

When you enroll in our advanced sailing courses, we send you two textbooks to study – Coastal Navigation and Coastal Passage Making. You also receive a comprehensive list of what to bring and what to expect as you master Coastal Navigation, theRodney_Harris_700x465 precursor to Coastal Passage Making Certification and then Coastal Passage Making. Underway you stand watches, practice crew overboard recovery methods at sea, navigate throughout, review safety procedures, cook pre-planned meals, and experience sailing after dark. You also practice anchoring, med-mooring, learn about crew management, passage planning, weather routing and more.

“Offshore Sailing School gave me the confidence to take on the world!”

Rodney Harris – New York, NY
Read more testimonials here

Your Safety Comes First

During a Coastal Passage Making Course we take four to six participants – one instructor for four participants, two instructors for six participants. Our experienced Coast Guard licensed instructors are with you at all times. Your learning experience includes quality night hours under sail, learning about watch systems, navigating at night.

Here is what you study in the Coastal Navigation portion of the Fast Track to Coastal Passage Making course:

  • Charts, chart types and corrections
  • Aids to navigation
  • Navigational inputs
  • Piloting
  • Deviation and variation
  • Plotting set and drift
  • Bearings
  • Running fixes
  • Lines of position

    • Ranges
    • Tides and currents
    • Speed, time and distance
    • Log procedures
    • Electronic navigation
    • Inshore piloting
    • Learning about navigating in fog
    • Learning about navigating in heavy weather

    Depending on weather conditions, the Coastal Passage Making section of this course covers the following

    • Vessel inspection for passages
    • Passage inventory needed
    • Passage planning
    • Safety and emergency equipment check
    • How to stow food and secure galley
    • Emergency procedures
    • Sail inventories for passages
    • Leadership underway
    • Open water seamanship
    • Use of GPS for passage making
    • VHF radio operation
    • Rules of the road
    • Proper use of ship’s log
    • Explanation of 406 EPIRB
    • Simulated deployment of life raft
    • Tide and current tables
    • Light list and coast pilot

    • Navigation underway including running fixes, way points, danger bearings
    • Watch systems
    • Heavy weather procedures
    • Use of safety harness and jacklines
    • Proper use of boom preventer
    • Crew overboard recovery procedures at sea
    • Cooking underway
    • Conservation underway
    • Towing or stowing dinghy underway
    • Anchoring techniques
    • Anchor watches
    • Weather forecasting and strategy
    • Impact of high and low pressure systems
    • Making landfalls
    • Navigating inlets, shoals and bars
    • Lee shores
    • Stopping leaks and holes underway

    Prerequisites: If you are seeking certification, you must have all lower US Sailing certification levels including Basic Keelboat, Basic Cruising and Bareboat Cruising; if no certification desired, skills must equal those achieved in the Offshore Sailing School Live Aboard Cruising or Bareboat Charter Cruising courses

    Certifications: US Sailing Coastal Navigation and US Sailing Coastal Passage Making

    Fast Track to Coastal Passage Making Courses

    All rates are per person. Double occupancy means two people are signing up to take the course together and sharing a room ashore and a cabin on the boat. Single means private room ashore and private cabin aboard the boat. FTCPM refers to the complete Fast Track Course which includes Coastal Navigation. CPM rates assume you already have Coastal Navigation certification and are taking just the Coastal Passage Making course.

    From Captiva Island, Florida

    • November 5-12, 2016: On Jeanneau 439 monohull – FTCPM $4965 double occupancy, $5270 single; CPM $4220 double occupancy, $4320 single
    • January 7-14, 2017: On Leopard 48 catamaran – FTCPM $5340 double occupancy, $5790 single; CPM $4495 double occupancy, $4645 single
    • January 21-28, 2017: On Jeanneau 439 monohull – FTCPM $5225 double occupancy, $5675 single; CPM $4380 double occupancy, $4530 single
    • May 13-20, 2017: On Leopard 48 catamaran – FTCPM $5475 double occupancy, $6055 single; CPM $4540 double occupancy, $4730 single
    • November 4-11, 2017: On Jeanneau 439 monohull – FTCPM $5080 double occupancy, $5385 single; CPM $4330 double occupancy, $4435 single


    From Scrub Island, British Virgin Islands

    • August 26-September 2, 2017: On Moorings 545 monohull – FTCPM $5670 double occupancy, $6285 single; CPM $4755 double occupancy, $4960 single

    Fast Track to Offshore Passage Making Courses

    The Offshore Passage Making portion of this course includes sailing for longer periods and standing watches.  When “off watch” you will be sleeping in a bunk just vacated by the student who is going on watch, so cabins are not “private.” Rates below are person. Double occupancy means two traveling together to take the course and sharing room ashore. Single means private room ashore. FTOPM is the full course with four days of Celestial Navigation ashore prior to setting sail. OPM is just the on-water portion of the course, available if you already have taken a Celestial Navigation course. CELN is just the shore-based Celestial Navigation course and may be taken without doing the Offshore Passage Making course.

    From Captiva Island, Florida

    • November 9-19, 2016 – On Jeanneau 439 monohull – FTOPM $5735 double occupancy, $6240 single; OPM  $3850 double occupancy, $3955 single; CELN $2460 double occupancy, $2965 single

    Book Now!

    Your Fast Track to Coastal Passage Making Course package includes:

    • Coastal Navigation refresher course tuition and certification – two day classroom course while staying ashore (full four-day navigation course for May course)
    • Coastal Passage Making Course tuition – 6-days nearly non-stop sailing
    • US Sailing Coastal Navigation and Coastal Passage Making textbooks
    • Offshore Sailing School Workbook with answers (8-day courses)
    • Offshore Sailing School Workbook with plotting overlays (8-day courses)
    • Chart 1210TR (8-day courses)
    • First two nights accommodations ashore at the resort where course starts (five nights accommodations ashore for May course)
    • Daily resort fee and tax, allowing access to all amenities, free WiFi and more
    • In-depth boat and gear check-out aboard, then passage preparation including stowing provisions for entire passage
    • Sun-up to sundown sailing and at least one overnight passage
    • All meals and beverages aboard during the passage
    • All use of navigation materials including charts, parallel rules and dividers for Coastal Navigation course
    • Offshore Logbook
    • Certification stickers sent from US Sailing after course for each certification earned, if tests are passed
    • Course Diplomas

    You will need pencils and erasers and these plotting tools for the Coastal Navigation Course home study program (available from Amazon): parallel rules and dividers. Packages above are subject to change and do not include meals ashore, food or purchases you choose to make, travel or other expenses you may incur.

    Please see the “What’s Included” tab for Fast Track to Passage Making Courses schedules and rates. Itineraries are given to you at start of course and may change as courses progress, subject to weather and sea conditions. Boats are also subject to change. If you already have US Sailing Coastal Navigation Certification, you can take just Coastal Passage Making Course on most itineraries. In this case, arrive the night before, stay ashore that night, and board the boat the following morning. Please call 888-454-7015 to confirm costs for each passage. Since time of arrival at final destination may vary, plan to depart the following day.

    Sample schedule, subject to change, for Florida Fast Track to Coastal Passage Making Courses in Florida

    Arrival day – no instruction

    Saturday Coastal Navigation Ashore
    9:00-12:00 – Classroom lecture and exercises
    1:00-2:00 – Lunch break
    2:00-5:00 – Classroom lecture and exercises

    Sunday Coastal Navigation Ashore
    10:00-1:00 – Open house study hall
    1:00-2:00 – Lunch break
    2:00-5:00 – Open house study hall continues

    Monday – Start Passage Making Course
    9:00 – Move aboard cruising boat and get boat ready for sea; safety briefing and boat show, complete pre-departure check list
    11:00 – Or as soon as preparation finished, set sail, drills underway
    5:00 or sunset – Anchor practice, prepare for offshore passage early next morning, dinner and anchor watches

    Tuesday-Friday – Sailing and instruction sunrise to sundown
    Breakfast – at anchor or during passage; instruction under sail while standing watches
    Lunch – generally underway, dinner at anchor on scheduled overnight stops
    After lunch – Quality night hours sailing, all meals prepared underway, instruction continues throughout, watch systems practiced
    Friday – Coastal Passage Making Certification test administered

    Sunrise-noon – Breakfast, boat clean up, set sail for final destination
    Noon – Return boat
    Rest of day – Take or retake Coastal Navigation test (optional); depart for home or stay aboard or ashore until next morning

    Offshore Sailing School knows we cannot thrive without great employees and products. All graduates are asked to fill out an evaluation at the end of the course. The following testimonials come from those evaluations and individual correspondence with recent graduates of the Fast Track to Coastal Passage Making or Coastal Passage Making Course. Many are happy to correspond by email or phone with you. If you would like us to put you in touch with anyone below, please call 888-454-7015 or email

    What our graduates have to say about the Offshore Sailing School Fast Track to Coastal Passage Making course:

    I wish more women of my age and stature could feel as alive as I’ve felt since we started this quest. We are two of Offshore’s biggest fans and love to recommend you and your organization. These last two courses peaked my sailing confidence with real challenges and practice. Multiple man overboard drills, using the boson’s chair to go up the mast, navigating narrow entrances to harbors and marinas, and many hours of sailing after dark all contributed to a perfect learning experience.

    Mimi Amerson – Springfield, GA

    Jim and I just got off the catamaran from our Passage Making course. We had an invaluable experience. No matter what your skill level in sailing, no matter how much you think you know or you know you don’t know, there is more to learn. Because of the instructors, I have the confidence in any situation to say to myself, this must be done and I can do it.

    Meg Atkins – Ft. Myers, FL

    There’s an old proverb that says “to travel is better than to arrive – it’s the journey, not the destination.” My time with Offshore endowed me with more than just a lifelong skill: I came away from this experience with a renewed sense of purpose and a desire to live life better.

    Tyler Cowan – Oakville, ON

    I was a student in the Fast Track to Passage Making course based out of Captiva in May 2009. This was my third course from Offshore. I found the course to be challenging, packed with useful practical information and very enjoyable. I think the course fits very well at Captiva, the route we took was perfect for what we were being taught. I also expect that there are many potential students who think about Southwest Florida as a place to cruise in their future and the location of this course at Captiva gives them a chance to apply the skills they are learning to this area. Overall, the course exceeded my expectations in what I had hoped to learn and I found it very rewarding and fun. I would recommend the course to anyone who has reached the level of experience necessary for the course and who wants to advance their knowledge of cruising skills. However the key to the success of any such intensive course is the quality of the instructors. I give Kevin and Andy the highest marks in this regard.

    Jeff Linstrom – Glen Ellyn, IL

    My wife and I enjoyed the entire experience. It was challenging and exciting to acquire new sailing skills through hands-on experience in the classroom and on the passage. We are looking forward to Celestial Navigation and Offshore Passage Making courses in the future. As an experienced sailor, watching my wife develop her sailing skill and confidence made for a great outcome. Thanks for helping us to sail as a couple.

    Thomas Flynn – Epworth, IA

    With Mark’s and Bart’s assistance, my confidence soared and I now feel very comfortable with my sailing skills. I have shared with my friends that the Fast Track to Coastal Passage Making experience was one of the most personally challenging, thrilling and fulfilling educational experiences of my life. Now I am able to confidently and competently practice my sailing skills and share my husband’s love of sailing. For me, it brings to mind a timeless quote by Mark Twain, “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” Offshore Sailing School has given me the skill and confidence to do just that. Thank you for a wonderful experience.

    Jane Flynn – Epworth, IA

    Mark was very supportive and helped me to improve my existing skills and taught me new skills. He did this in a supportive and enthusiastic manner. This was a fabulous learning vacation experience which taught me more about sailing and myself.

    Robert McPherson – Jersey City, NJ

    Appreciated real-world pragmatism. The instructors had great ability to teach a lot of material in a short time without any feeling of pressure.

    Dani Pletter – San Francisco, CA

    Kevin and Mike were excellent instructors. They let the students try many new things by themselves that increased our confidence level. They were very patient and reassuring. We had a tough passage from Miami to Captiva via Key West in bad weather. The sailing was difficult, and the learning experience was outstanding.

    Jacques Mayo – Lima, Peru

    Start Passage Making Now!

    Call 888-454-7015 or 239-454-1700


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