Starpath School of Navigation
3050 NW 63rd Street, Seattle, WA 98107-2521
tel (206)-783-1414 — fax available on request

About Starpath School of Navigation
The school facilities are located in Seattle's historic Scandinavian community of Ballard, about halfway between the Government Locks and the Shilshole Bay Marina (see How to get here). This is where we coordinate worldwide online training in all areas of marine navigation and related subjects as well as the production of navigation software and books, both printed and electronic (Starpath Publications). The school had more than 26,000 classroom students (in several locations over the years) between 1977 and 2002, at which time we switched to online training. The instructors are practicing navigators with years of teaching experience and thousands of miles of sea time. Most sailors in the Northwest and thousands around the world know of the school and its fine reputation for high quality instruction and teaching materials.

David Burch is the Director of the school and author of much of the course materials used at the school.

Classroom instructors in coastal and celestial have included Bruce Minturn, Bob Levy, Will Lesh, Michael Gropp, Debra Rigas, Pamela Hom, and Robert Reeder. Marine weather has been taught by NOAA Cmdr. Ken Lilly, Jr. (ret.), and Pam Hayes (NWS). See also our list of Online Instructors.

In the past we offered our full set of classroom courses four times a year, sometimes with concurrent courses going on. As of about year 2000, we have focused on the development of our online courses, now in full swing in all areas of navigation, with online participants from around the world. We are pleased that several nationwide training agencies have chosen the Starpath courses for their Instructor certification training and We occasionally teach classroom courses out of town (organized by the schools or individuals requesting them), and periodically we conduct special seminars and present public talks.

About our Online Home Study Courses

The same materials we use in our classroom courses are now available for home study and online training. Learn at home or underway with these comprehensive packages for coastwise and ocean navigation, as well as radar and marine weather. We also offer training in the Navigation Rules and other special topics. Our materials and procedures are developed from experience with thousands of students during the past 30 years. With so much help, we have learned most of the questions that arise and answer them in the texts. Each of the many exercises has outlined or detailed solutions provided.

Course types. We refer to "Online Home Study courses" and "Self study materials packages." Our main training programs are the Online Home Study Courses. They include all of the printed and electronic training materials, plus online content, interaction with the instructors and other students as desired, along with at least one quiz at the end of each lesson that you submit online to be graded and commented on by an instructor. Details are covered elsewhere.

The "Self study materials packages" are for those who do not wish to use computers and the Internet in their training. If that is the case, you can still purchase all of our training materials to work on your own. This would be typically a text book and the associated work book for that topic, and perhaps some associated software. These materials are itemized elsewhere.

How the Online Home Study courses work: We use the name "online home study" rather than just online courses or home study courses, because our products are really a combination of these two formats. You have all of the printed and electronic materials at hand, so if you cannot get online for some time, it does not interfere with your progress. The printed materials include a syllabus and practice exercises as well. In that sense, the packages make up complete "home study" courses, quite independent of the Internet—and we have in fact had thousands of students learn the subjects this way before "internet" was a household term. You only need to go online to get the next assignment or quiz or to ask questions of the instructor. But these are indeed also "online courses" because we offer all the power and convenience on online training as well. The internet allows us to keep all of the materials up to date, and to add to them easily. It provides a place to ask questions of the instructor and to search our full website, which included a tremendous amount of resources. You can also post general comments and discussions without having specific questions in mind. Most of the work, by far, however, is done away from the computer and internet. Read Course Instructions

Each course includes a detailed syllabus based on our experience from the classroom courses. It breaks the materials up into some 8 to 11 sections, each having assigned reading throughout the materials along with assigned practice exercises. Do the reading assigned, work the practice exercises, and check your answers with those provided. If questions arise at any point in the process, just go online and post a question—or search the extensive archive of discussion of over the past nineteen years. Chances are very good you will find your question answered there. If you do not find an answer, just post a question and we promise to answer it or show where it is already answered. We promise to respond no later than 48 hours, but as a rule this is much quicker.

Course Certification. We offer several ways to document your course completion and achievements. The certificates provide written record of your work and they also ensure that you are prepared for the certification tests of any other agency. Please see certification details.

About our books and other products
Most of the books and software we sell are products of Starpath. Other products are ones that we recommend because they supplement our course materials in some way and are thus called for often enough that we stock them. In short, we only carry products in our online catalog that we specifically recommend in our courses and about which we are thoroughly familiar.

Gift Certificates. Starpath offers a unique way for visitors to purchase and actually print out a gift certificate of their design online. Thus you can create an instant, last minute (or next year) gift for a friend or family member. See Gift Certificates.

Bosun's Locker. Used books and equipment as well as other specials and sometimes free materials are periodically available in the Bosuns Locker.

Starpath in the News

Articles about David Burch and Starpath can be read here.

Dogwatch Blog Interview, Jul 2022
Interview in the 2019 Fischer Catalog, Jan 2019
Bluewater Sailing, May 2011
48 North, Aug 2009
Dockside, Mar 2005
Sunset, Mar 2004
Metropolitan Living, Jun 2000

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