Celestial Navigation

Learn to Sail by the Stars, Sun and MoonStudent using a sextant for navigation

This four-day Celestial Navigation course is taught in conjunction with the Offshore Passage Making Course in a program called Fast Track to Offshore Passage Making.  The first four days are taught ashore, using sextants and other aides to master the art of navigating as seamen and women did on ocean passages when there were no paper charts and electronic instruments. So why learn it now? Because when you are far out at sea, your electronics may fail and your only back-up will be navigating by the stars, planets, sun and moon. It’s an art you will thoroughly enjoy learning.

Five Nights/Four Days of Learning with a Master Seaman

This course is taught over four days with an expert master seaman skilled in all aspects of long distance sailing and navigation. Plan to arrive the night before so you can get started immediately the first day of the course. You will spend five nights in accommodations ashore at South Seas Island Resort, You may take this course alone without the six days of Offshore Passage Making which follow. If you intend to test for Offshore Passage Making, you must also take and pass the Celestial Navigation course.


DAY 1 – Introduction to the Course, Tools and Selection of Navigator Teams

  • The Earth and its coordinates
  • The Heaven and its coordinates
  • The history of Celestial Navigation
  • The Nautical Almanac
  • The Sextant

Day 2 – First Steps in Celestial Navigation

  • In classroom – Time and noon sight for latitude
  • Outside – Sextant adjustment and taking a noon sight
  • Position lines and plotting
  • Sight reduction tables
  • Sun sights

Day 3 – Planets, Moon and Stars

  • Outside – Sun sights
  • The planets, moon and stars
  • Taking planet/star sights
  • Start identification

Day 4 – Refining Your Celestial Navigation Skills

  • Practice sight reductions
  • Polaris, the Pole Star
  • Offshore Passage Making chart work and log keeping
  • Review in preparation for the Offshore Passage Making Course
  • Use of sextants and other navigation books and aides
  • Celestial Navigation textbook by David Burch
  • Five nights accommodations at South Seas Island Resort in a Harbourside Room
  • Celestial Navigation test and US Sailing Celestial Navigation certification if pass the test
  • Certificate of Achievement

See “What You Learn” tab


Start Navigating Now!

Call 888-415-7015 or 239-454-1700
Email Sail@OffshoreSailing.com