On Water Ocean Skills: Navigation

navigation chartLearn how to use a chart and compass so you can plan your own trips and find your way on the ocean. Get real life experiences finding your way in the Ocean.

The bread and butter of this trip is chart reading and compass work. We will begin with a refresher on nautical charts and using a compass. Students will then use the chart and compass on the water to determine their location, plot a course, and avoid hazards while underway. We will discuss piloting, dead reckoning, navigating in fog, and what to do if you’re lost.

In addition, we will discuss how to predict tides and currents using tide and tidal current tables, the effects of wind and waves on kayakers and how to plan your trips to decrease these effects, planning escape routes in case of emergency, and using a chart to select a landing site.

This clinic is designed for those who have taken both our Ocean Skills and our Introduction to Navigation (or have the equivalent experience). Paddlers should be able to perform assisted rescues and paddle six miles over the course of the day. We’ll also do plenty of paddling between our instructional sessions. The trip is held at a number of locations, including Gloucester, Marblehead, and Cohasset, and the location of your trip will be decided by the guide depending on weather and tide.

Ocean Skills: Navigation Full-Day Trip meets at the Newton Historic Boathouse and travel by van to the day's destination. We plan to return approximately 9 hours after the trip departs.
$139 includes full-day trip with expert guiding (max. 5:1 student:instructor ratio) using your own boat.
$155 with a composite or plastic sea kayak (model depends on availability).
Pre-Requisites & Requirements:Before signing up, you must have:

  • Formal instruction in bracing and rescue skills on the ocean, like our Ocean Skills or equivalent.
  • Previous practice of a wet exit, where you flipped a kayak, removed the sprayskirt, and exited the kayak while underwater.
  • Previous practice of an assisted rescue, where you wet-exited the kayak in deep water and were rescued by another kayaker.
  • Ability to paddle 6 miles in an outing.

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Cancellation Policy

  • Full payment is due upon registration for a class, clinic, or trip.
  • For cancellations received 7 days or more before your scheduled activity, we will issue a refund less a 10% registration fee.
  • For cancellations received fewer than 7 days before your scheduled activity, we are unable to offer any refunds.
  • Classes, clinics, and trips always run unless the weather is extreme.
  • A minimum number of registrants is required for any event to run. If we cancel an event due to low enrollment, we will provide a full refund.
  • Each participant will be required to sign a waiver of liability. To save time, you can download this waiver and bring it with you.


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