Navigation The Easy Way: A Self-Study Guide, published in 1984 by The Sea School,
St. Petersburg, FL.
originally wrote Celestial
Navigation The Easy Way: A Self-Study Guide to
provide myself with a carefully structured textbook with which I could teach
the subject of celestial navigation. At the time, I was a Loran-C instructor
at the Sea School, a commercial business whose primary focus was helping recreational
boaters obtain their Commercial Captain's License. One branch of the school,
however, offered courses for commercial seamen, such as captains of commercial
tankers, freighters, shrimpboats, and the like.
of the most popular commercial courses was the Celestial Navigation course.
That was because skippers of tankers and freighters were required to pass
a ten-question exam on celestial navigation before the Coast Guard would certify
them as competent to take their vessels more than 200 nautical miles offshore.
For example, without the celestial endorsement on his or her license, a professional
freighter captain could not take his boat from the U.S. to Japan to pick up
a load of Toyotas. Nor could a tanker skipper travel to Kuwait to pick up
a load of crude oil. In other words, for professional ship drivers the celestial
endorsement on their commerical licenses was extremely important to their
maritime careers and livelihoods.
Celestial Nav test was widely regarded as one of the most difficult required
by the Coast Guard. It consisted of ten questions, and only one wrong answer
was permitted. The challenge in teaching the course was to sufficiently cover
in a two week-long preparatory course a very complicated subject. The exam
covered not only the theory of navigating by celestial sightings, but required
the test taker to work a series of complicated plotting problems in which
celestial sight data was provided and from which the test taker had to calculate
his or her position with great accuracy. Adding to the difficulty of teaching
the subject was the fact that many of my students had only finished high school
and often had limited math and conceptual skills.
I was unable to find an existing text that was suitable for the unique way
in which celestial navigation had to be taught so that we could almost guarantee
that students would pass the Coast Guard test, I was forced to write the textbook myself...from scratch. With it, we passed an average of 92% of our students
on their first attempt at the Coast Guard exam. Nearly all those who failed
the first sitting passed on their second try.
textbook, and the Celestial Navigation The Easy Way: A Self-Study Guide book
that grew from it, approached teaching the convoluted subject from the standpoint
of enabling each student to study and proceed at his or her own rate. Concepts
were carefully defined and exhaustively illustrated, and each chapter ended
with a written examination consisting of ten questions which mimiced those
students would encounter on the Coast Guard exam.
all modesty, I believe Celestial Navigation The Easy Way: A Self-Study
Guide is the most effective, understandable and usable introduction
available for not only passing the Coast Guard test but also for learning how
to navigate by the sun, stars and planets in the real world — aboard one's own vessel, and as a backup skill to using today's ubiquitous satellite and GPS navigation systems.
Complete Loran-C Handbook and Piloting
I took the majority of the photos for the book and hand-drew all of the illustrations.
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I am currently writing my fifth book, which is provisionally titled Living In The Cosmic Neighborhood. The subject of the book is the natural morality that grows out of a deep awareness on the part of a human being of his or her intimate connection with everything in the Cosmos, and the impact such an awareness has on a person's life. I am about three-quarters of the way to completion of writing the initial text.
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For a number of years I have also been a frequent contributor to a number of commercial maritime publications, including:
Sailors Gazette magazine
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