Seattle, WA   December , Number 23

M/V Beluga getting a lift
Sail assisted cargo vessels

Do a Google search Beluga Skysails to learn the details of their successful maiden voyage. Also covered at


Gouge showing on the hull
Cosco Busan navigation errors

The Cosco Busan that hit the SF Bay bridge with subsequent oil spill was charged today for navigational negligence on several areas we discuss frequently in class. One is not using radar properly as they approached the bridge, even though it was pea soup fog; not using GPS properly; and this unique one that we discuss often: not clarifying the distinctions between echart symbols and those more commonly used on traditional paper charts. This has long been a pet peeve of ours (why is there more than one system of symbols?), and here is maybe an actual consequence, though we have not yet clarifed this detail. Do a search on Cosco Busan in Google news or at for more details.


NIMA upgrade now available
NIMA Nav Calculators

Some time ago we packaged up the NIMA nav calculators into a nice small indexed package and offered as freeware. We just noticed that on some Win XP systems the file downloads fine but will not run. No idea why. It is a standard MS Windows Html Help file format. So some people may have been missing this great tool. We use it over and over in the online courses. We have now packaged it up in a zip file and that seems to pass through all downloads now. Find it in our downloads section.


Google goes mathematik

Did you know you can type, for example,

24.125 x cos((301 - 185) degrees)

into the Google search engine, press Search, and get out

24.12500 x cos((301 - 185) * degrees) = -10.5757039

...or essentially any mathematical expression. The trick is to learn their format, which is not explained anywhere we know of. Note, for example,the way we wrote degrees above. If you do not do that, it will think the input angle is in raddians. Play with it. You will like it. It is faster than breaking out Excell or the scientific caluclator in many cases. The example above is a short cut trick for finding a correction term to automatically advance any cel nav Line of Position — just replace a with a + da, where da = distance run x cos (Zn - course run), then plot from the original assumed position along the orginal Zn using the new a-value and you have an automatically advanced LOP.

Here is a link to the Google calculator support page.


Chapman School of Seamanship Celestial Courses.

If you are looking for a Celestial Navigation course and can travel to Stuart, Florida, Chapman School of Seamanship offers a fine Celestial course. The course is taught by Steve Miller who also is a moderator in the Starpath Celestial Course Online. Chapman's course uses the Starpath Celestial Course materials. They cover traditional methods as well as StarPilot calculator solutions, with calculators provided.

They also have dormitories and moorage for out of town visitors.
Click here for more details. Their courses are also listed in our calendar.

Their next course meets Feb 13, 15, 18, & 20. ASA 107 Feb 21 & 23 (Exam). If these dates do not work for you, they can schedule other courses provided they have a minimum of 3 students.


They have new content every year.
A great gift for yourself and others

The Mariner's Book of Days has long been the favorite calendar and datebook for anyone involved with boats—who happened to know about it. Though we have used it ourselves for years, we just now started selling it.


Print on demand certificates
Give the gift of safe, efficient navigation...

Don't know what Starpath items a mariner in your life might like... or need a thoughtful gift at the last minute? Our new do-it-yourself gift certificates will do the job.

We have designed our gift certificate program so you can create your own Starpath gift certificates and print them on demand. The procedure is purchase the gift amount of choice, receive the serial number online that documents the purchase, then print the certificate and fill in the serial number, and it is ready to be presented. See Starpath Gift Certificates.


Gale and storm warning flags and lights
Storm warnings are back!

Though not that well known, for the past 18 years there have been no official displays for small craft, storm, and hurricanes warnings. They were removed from official use after 100 years or so in 1989. Now they are back, as of June 1, 2007, in essentially the same form they left in. We are pleased to see this obvious addition to boating safety re-instated. For details see Warning display announcements.


NGA logo, formerly NIMA
Short link to NGA NIMA Pubs

There are many wonderful resources on the NGA website, formerly NIMA, formerly DMAHTC, formerly DMA, formerly HO, formerly NO etc... ie the home of Bowditch and many other important navigation references. And with each new change in the agency it gets harder to find these valuable references, so we have made a short link to get there: Save this link, it is a valuable one


MSC 1, Eastport, ME to Montauk, NY
Printed Marine Weather Service Charts Now Available.

Lists all sources of marine weather for the region covered, including frequencies, schedules, and product descriptions, along with graphic definitions of the forecast regions needed to interpret wireless broadcasts. A must have product for all mariners who care about the weather, but these printed editions are not available in many chandleries. See Printed MSC charts.


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