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How Do I Choose the Best Navigation Courses?

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  • Written By: L.K. Blackburn
  • Edited By: Allegra J. Lingo
  • Last Modified Date: 01 November 2016
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Choosing the best navigation courses is a process that involves evaluating your current ability level, your budget, and the type of navigation skills you wish to learn. Courses are available to teach you how to navigate while sailing, boating, and hiking. Land and sea navigation courses teach entirely different skill sets, but both make use of instruments such as a compass and a global positioning system (GPS). Navigation classes are available that teach use of current technology as well as basic skills, such as map reading. Courses are offered in a variety of prices by professional services, colleges and universities, and through local interest clubs.

Navigation courses are available online, in the field, and in a traditional classroom setting. The type of material you wish to learn will determine what type of course you should choose. Online navigation courses teach material that does not directly need to be demonstrated in person, such as background information and map reading techniques. Individual and small group field navigation courses are taught in person with an instructor. In these courses, you will be shown how to read maps, chart progress, and use tools such as a sextant and compass.

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Map reading and the ability to chart movement progress using only hand tools and paper maps is usually the basic material in any navigation course. Courses will focus on different methods, such as nautical chart reading, celestial navigation, and topographic map interpretation. Each of these mapping systems uses a sophisticated longitude and latitude coordinate system that you will also need to learn.

When choosing the best navigation courses, you should also consider the instruments you wish to become proficient with. Boating and sailing often use radar to show the position of large underwater obstructions, such as rocks, coral reefs, and shallow shelfs. Both hikers and boaters use GPS to track positions, determine destinations, and set courses. Different navigation courses will offer different information regarding instrument use.

Price may be an important factor when choosing the best navigation course. The most expensive courses are those offered by private services in a one-on-one setting. Some of these courses are offered to individuals while on vacation in tropical environments and include costs such as renting a sailboat and hiring the instructor. Other courses that are available in a variety of price ranges include private group classes and outdoor excursion training events that demonstrate and test land navigation knowledge.

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