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post #3 of Old 01-26-2002
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USPS Courses--Issues

I haven''t taken a power squadron course since 1964. (I was 14 at the time and they did not allow kids in their but Dad was freinds with the guy teaching the course and so they let me ''audit the course'', but that''s another story.) At that time they emphaisized that they were trying to give us, who were new to the sport, a foundation on which to build other skills. I would think that even if the courses had not changes and seemed focused on the arcane and anachronistic, (in this electronic age) it is important to understand basic navigation in order to really navigate using a GPS.

Beyond that, as amazingly reliable as my little Garmin GPS has been. There was a night when for no reason that I was aware of, it suddenly could not aquire any satellites. One minute I had a position and the next it was trying to locate a signal. It was no big deal to navigate my way back home, especially here on the Chesapeake, but I used basic navigation skills that I was glad to have.

Like so many things in sailing today. You can elect to only learn a topic superficially or you can elect to learn it in depth. Most times you can get by with a superficial knowledge, and a lot of people do, but then there is that one time when only that piece of esoteric trivia can get your butt out of the sling.

I thought that USPS had added an electronic navigation course to its long list of courses, but even if they haven''t, if you understand navigation, using a GPS is pretty intuitive. I learned how to use my Garmin without ever looking at the instructions because it was so well designed to be innately intuitive.

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