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US Coast Guard Approved License & Merchant Marine Training, Free Videos & View Books for Marine Personnel, and Private Yacht Education

the practical navigator

Located at Seattle WA, The Practical Navigator is dedicated to improving the understanding of marine navigation and USCG Licensing for mariners. Practical Navigator Training also helps Active Duty Coast Guardsmen and US Navy Personnel achieve their merchant marine credentials and improve their understanding of the art and science of navigation.

The Practical Navigator also has a series of videos available on several topics such as celestial navigation which gradually builds up knowledge from basic to advanced level over the course of 11 films. In the Celestial Navigation for Cuttermen series, we learn how to solve all of the tasks from the USCG Navigation Standards for cutters required to maintain proficiency in celestial navigation.

In the General Navigation Section of videos, we explore topics useful to mariners for professional development or general knowledge. The topics include - Maneuvering Boards, Paper Plotting, and more. Practical Navigator also offers free workbooks such as Cutterman's Guide to Navigation Problems, Cutterman's Guide to Basic Celestial Navigation, Cutterman's Guide to Maneuvering Boards, and Bridge Refresher Guide.

uscg training

Training Programs



USCG License / Long Courses

  • 100-Ton Master (84 hours): This USCG approved course is in lieu of testing at the Coast Guard Regional Exam Center.  If you have completed one or two aboard tours in the USCG or US Navy, or about 3 years of sea-time as a civilian, this course covers all the testing requirements for a USCG Merchant Mariner's license. Topics include Rules of the Road, Deck Seamanship, Navigation Fundamentals, Navigation Plotting, Deck Safety, and Vessel Management.
  • Operator of Un-inspected Passenger Vessels (7 days): This USCG approved course is for those looking to get their initial merchant marine credential.  Upon completion of this course and requisite application, you will be certified to take paying passengers out to sea upon uninspected vessels. 
  • Celestial Navigation (500/1600 ton Oceans) (84 hours): This USCG approved class is in lieu of testing at the Regional Exam Center.  This extremely challenging course allows you to upgrade from Near Coastal licenses to the Oceans level. It also provides applicable sign-offs for Officer in Charge of a Navigational Watch.

USCG Short Courses

  • CPR & First Aid (6 hours): These USCG approved courses are offered through Emergency First Response, an authorized course provider and the medical training arm of PADI, the professional diving organization.  CPR and First Aid currency is required for USCG licenses. 
  • Rules of the Road (2 days): This USCG approved courses is offered as a standalone for those who need to learn the Nautical Rules of the Road from a professional, or those who need to renew their ROTR qualification as part of a license renewal.
  • Towing & Sailing Endorsements (4 hours): These USCG approved courses (for qualified students) are in lieu of testing at the Coast Guard Regional Exam Center.  These courses provide endorsements to your 100 ton or OUPV license allowing you to engage in commercial assistance towing or sailing operations.

Yacht Programs

  • Private Yacht Education & Delivery: This course is conducted aboard your vessel on your schedule. It can be as long or short as you like. Common topics include - docking, navigation, voyage planning, leadership, deck maintenance, and engineering.

LAST UPDATED ON Sep 25, 2018

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