I think it is negligent to go to sea and not have at least a basic understanding of navigating without electronics. The ocean is featureless, and dangerous, it isn't like you can just pull over and ask for directions if you can't find your way.
The argument has been raised that you can always have enough redundancy for GPS that you don't need to know the basics, but that doesn't make any sense because it presumes that having a fix is all there is to navigation, and it isn't.
Go look at Bowditch, it devotes 5 chapters to electronic navigation, only one of which is for GPS, and another for chart plotting, 6 chapters are devoted to celestial navigation ... Gosh, I wonder what the other 26 chapters of the book are about ?
Yes I think you need to be accomplished in both. A we age we cannot fight the fact tha tecnology increases faster than we age and sometimes it means moderating our staid ideas of what is better/ right. Modern means using electrontics make help increase safety in leaps and bounds. It has its limitations and as some say false sense of secutiry built into using it, but if you recogize that, the prudet moder sailor can be adept in both.
BTW for most of us celestrail navagation is worthless and will continue to be IMHO and yes I was taught and once used it when crossing the Atlantic 37 year ago.
While I aree with the first couple of paragaphs, the Bowditch example is not really a good one. Theier last major change was 1995. hardly modern
The present volume, while retaining the basic format of the 1958 version, reorganizes the subjects, deletes obsolete text, and adds new material to keep pace with the extensive changes in navigation that have taken place in the electronic age.
This 1995 edition of the American Practical Navigator incorporates extensive changes in organization, format, and content. Recent advances in navigational electronics, communications, positioning, and other technologies have transformed the way navigation is practised at sea, and it is clear that even more changes are forthcoming. The changes to this edition of Bowditch are intended to ensure that this publication remains the premier reference work for practical marine navigation. Concerted efforts were made to return to Nathaniel Bowditch’s original intention "to put down in the book nothing I can’t teach the crew." To this end, many complex formulas and equations have been eliminated, and emphasis placed on the capabilities and limitations of various navigation systems and how to use them, instead of explaining complex technical and theoretical details. This edition replaces but does not cancel former editions, which may be retained and consulted as to navigation methods not discussed herein.
The former Volume II has been incorporated into the primary volume to save space and production cost. For similar reasons, the book is now published on a larger page size. These two changes allow the publisher to present a single, comprehensive navigation science reference which explains modern navigational methods while respecting traditional ones. The goal of the changes was to put as much useful information before the navigator as possible in the most understandable and readable format.