You ask this on April 1st?!
I've heard that the USCG will be dropping their celestial navigation testing portion, and there fore the maritime academies would also be dropping it from their course requirements. Has anyone else heard anything about this? Can you site your source? I'd like to see some stuff in writing somewhere official.
CMA 2012, deck
You ask this on April 1st?!
You are crazy. Celestial Nav. is not going anywhere. You better start studying! Does CMA really need to get any easier?
This rumor has been going around since 1996, the year the US Naval Academy dropped celestial from their course list. They did this mostly because officers don't do celestial anyway in the Navy (VERY competent enlisted Quatermasters do it).
Not saying the CG will keep CelNav on the books forever but it's highly unlikely this will change in the next few years.
Taking that test separates the men from the boy's! And that goes for you guys who go to a "school" and have it added to your license. Everyone should have to sit down and enjoy that little slice of heaven at the REC! I was very proud of myself when I passed that test both times, and wish that feeling of relief on everyone.LOL
Put it this way: it's 2018; you're out in the middle of the ocean, LORAN has long been shut off due to budget cuts, and then some rogue nation blows up the GPS sats and all of those boxes on the bridge are blinking and beeping. How are you going to get to port?
Once Loran goes, there will be exactly two mid-ocean navigation systems (and I'm stretching LORAN for this purpose): GPS and Celestial. So, given the electronic nature of the first, you had at least know how to shoot Sunlines.
I think they're slowly removing some of the aspects of it - they took off backsights a couple years ago.
Considering the date, I'm very tempted to say yes, it's going away.
But it ain't going away. It's part of STCW, and it's specified in the CFR. Both will have to be changed to get rid of it.
The two times I've been to CMA for audits cadets have asked me this. Who there keeps this rumor going?
James D. Cavo
U.S. Coast Guard
Mariner Credentialing Program
Policy Division (CG-5434)
Something more useful would be Ship Management and Maritime Law. Celestial is easy if you compare it to that.
I don't think that Celnav should be done away with, as was obvious from my previous post, but the celnav can certainly be reduced in scale and difficulty. For example how many of us have needed to shoot any of the following (all part of my CM/Master exam):
1) High altitude sun lines (the kind that form circles)
2) Ex-meridians (completely useless as regular LOPS give the same line and take less time)
3) Lower transits (why would we do this, and who sails regularly in these latitudes?)
4) ID of a minor star
I had that ex-meridian, lower transit of Acrux question. It was rediculous, and I love Celnav!
BTW, backsights still exist to a limited degree with Hs-Ho questions.
All I'm saying is that Celnav should be limited to sunlines, star fixes, and perhaps LAN. They need to be rid of the very obscure sights that no one but an afictionado would even think to shoot.
To their credit, they did get rid of the moon stuff, especially moonrise/set.
Forever hopeful?! haha I suppose it's just one of the things the rumor mills keeps going and going. But with your guys' help here today, the INTERNET may put an end to the rumor. I haven't taken cnav yet, but I can say so far, I'm a big fan and really looking forward to the class Spring 2011. You'll have to ask me again after the course if I'm still a "big fan."
I really liked the post about there only being two techniques of deep ocean navigation: cnav and GPS. Seems crazy to be totally relied upon GPS. Might put yourself out of a job real fast should GPS kick the bucket.
Thanks for all the thoughtful replies.
Well I hope that you enjoy it. Most people don't like the tabular look ups that are required to pass the USCG exam. In reality at sea, on the big ships, you are using a calculator or computer to do the math so all you need to remember is your shooting and plotting skills. The tabular look ups (and there are several versions of them) as well as slide rules (which you probably won't see) are available in extreme cases. This is really only useful for sailboats as any such problem on a merchant ship will render it immobile so using celenav won't matter much.
In the interest of full disclosure, there are indeed other methods of deep sea navigation, but most of them have been turned off (RDF, OMEGA) or are not available on merchant ships (inertial navigation.) I general, you will only see GPS on ships you may sail on. The Europeans are supposed to launch their own "GPS" type system but it has been long delayed.