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Coastal Navigation


To be able to demonstrate the navigational theory required to safely navigate a sailing or power cruiser in coastal or inland waters. The concepts are introduced in the Intermediate Cruising and Power Standards.

A course offered in a hard-copy home-study format giving you the benefit of learning in your home environment.  There is no pre-requisite required to enroll in this course. It will be of benefit to everyone who operates a sail boat, power boat, kayak or fishing boat.  Anyone who works or plays on the water and needs to know how to read a chart, determine their position, and use the Tide and Current Tables will find this course useful.  Personal assistance is available by telephone or e-mail.

The exam was more challenging than I expected. I found it to be a very thorough course and your examples and exercises were invaluable.

Mike Broadhurst
North Hatley, Quebec





NEW!  Complimentary Introduction to Coastal Navigation delivered to your In box over five days. You will receive periodic emails containing tips, news and product information. You will be able to unsubscribe at any time.

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To whom it may concern,

I took the coastal navigation course from Bruce Stott at Gulf Islands Cruising School Ltd. The final exam went well.

Bruce was helpful and professional. I would recommend this school to anyone wishing to take the Coastal navigation course.

Richard Coquet
St Brieux, Sask.

The course was developed in 1986 and revised in 2007, 2009, 2011,2017, 2021 and 2023.  Upon completion, you will be able to demonstrate the navigational theory required to safely navigate a boat in coastal or inland waters. The concepts are introduced in the Intermediate standards.  In 2017 Sail Canada split the former Coastal Navigation Standard into Basic & Intermediate Coastal Navigation.  This course covers both standards.  Successful completion of this course leads to Sail Canada Basic & Intermediate Coastal Navigation certification.

The final exams are taken in front of a invigilator.  This person can be any dis-interested third party, not a family member.  The exams would be mailed to your invigilator along with a letter explaining the exam process.  After completing the exams, the invigilator would mail it back to me for marking.  After marking, I would contact you either by phone or mail to review the exams. 

Order your Coastal Navigation course today:

Gulf Islands Cruising School Ltd.
10191 Third St Sidney BC  V8L 3B7
Phone Number:       250-656-2628

Contact Us

The course teaches you:

  • the symbols and conventions on Canadian Hydrographic charts  
  • the characteristics for lighted aids and the buoyage system  
  • the publications and instruments required for prudent navigation  
  • the purposes of Notices to Mariners  

   How to

  • use the Tide Tables to find times and heights at reference and secondary ports  
  • use the Current Tables to find direction and rate of current at reference and secondary stations   
  • convert courses and bearings between true, magnetic and compass  
  • check compass deviation by means of a transit  
  • plot a dead reckoning position on a chart and allow for the effect of current and leeway to plot the estimated position  
  • determine a heading which counteracts known current and leeway  
  • plot a position by two or more bearings at one time,  
  • bearings at different times,  
  • one bearing and a transit,  
  • bearing and a distance.  


The course package includes:

  • soft-cover spiral bound Basic & Intermediate Coastal Navigation texts, written by Gillian West who wrote the Basic Cruising manual 
  • additional notes and exercises,    
  • three official full size charts of the Gulf Islands,  so you learn different scales 
  • excerpts from the Tide and Current Tables,     
  • navigation protractor and dividers, 
  • mechanical pencil and eraser. 

home study navigation course materials

You will need to download the Canadian Aids to Navigation booklet and map,
this booklet is no longer available in print, only available on-line.
  You will also need to download Chart #1, Symbols and Abbreviations, now only available online The Safe Boating Guide is also available for download. 

"You are an excellent instructor, thank you for that, and I"ll recommend your company!

Have a great sailing summer.

Jennifer Wyma
Thunder Bay Ontario






The course consists of reading assignments in the text and notebook followed by exercises to be completed. The answers to the exercises are included so that you may verify your work immediately.  When all exercises are completed the exams will be mailed to an invigilator for you to write.

Time Required

There is no time limit on completing the course. Most students indicate that it is taking approximately 40 hours.

Students achieving 70% or better on the final exams will receive Sail Canada
Basic & Intermediate Coastal Navigation Certification.


$425.00 person. For a second person sharing the materials, the cost is an extra $200.00 which includes another set of three charts and exams. If you wish certification and you do not already have a Sail Canada International Cruising Handbook there is an additional $30.00 charge for the book.

Shipping & Handling by Expedited Parcel is $25 for a single course, $30 if two people are sharing in most cases.


The charts and instruments, $97, are subject to 7% PST, $6.79 in addition.
For two people sharing, $157 is subject to 7% PST, $10.99 total.

Order your Coastal Navigation course today:

Gulf Islands Cruising School Ltd.
10191 Third St Sidney BC  V8L 3B7

Phone Number: 250-656-2628

Contact Us


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Bruce Stott
Bruce Stott
President/Chief Instructor
Nautical Experience

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