Starpath Emergency Nav
Course Overview


    On average about 4 Weeks, when doing approximately 5 hr per week of study. Total time depends on how much optional materials you wish to cover or practice with.


    Start at any time; work at your own pace.

Course description

    This course covers all aspects of navigation with limited instruments and aids or none at all. It is intended for power, sail, or paddle driven vessels, or even backcountry travelers — indeed, many if not most of the techniques are much easier on land than they are at sea.

    All of the background knowledge and procedures that were assumed or taken for granted in our other courses must now be mastered. Without our conventional instruments, we must get by on our knowledge alone.


How the course works

    Please read the general description of How the Courses work. Those notes apply to all courses. You can sign up for a course anytime.

    This course is much like a "reading group." We will go through the book Emergency Navigation, chapter by chapter, adding commentary and practice exercises for each section. The course is moderated by the author of the book among other instructors.


    There are no formal prerequisites for the Emergency Navigation course, although a basic understanding of navigation in general would be helpful, such as covered in our Inland and Coastal Navigation Course, and completion of the Celestial Navigation Course would lend a deeper insight into many of the techniques we use, although the course is not at all required for this application. Each of the celestial techniques (steering by the stars, etc.) are explained on their own, without a need for previous training.

Student Objectives

  • Understand what is needed to be prepared for emergency navigation
  • Understand the role and practice of dead reckoning
  • Know how to find directions from the sun and stars, any time, any place
  • Ocean dead reckoning with limited or no instruments
  • Know how to find position at sea (or on land) without conventional tools
  • At the end of this course, you should be able to find your way to any port from mid-ocean with nothing more than a watch and knowledge of the destination.... and we go over what to do without a watch.


    This course will prepare you for the certification tests offered from most organizations. Please see our Notes on Certification.