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post #1 of 11 Old 10-18-2017 Thread Starter
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ASA 105 Coastal Navigation Exam

Just passed the test last night for the ASA 105 Coastal Navigation class. For those that are thinking of taking the course or studying for the test, I figured I'd post what I can remember and how I approached it.

First, I found kansascitysailing.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/ASA-205-Navigation-test-review-questions-Version-D2.pdf. This practice plotting test invaluable. Make sure you go through it 2-3 times and UNDERSTAND everything on it.

Pay attention in class and try to do the work ahead of the class, so you can ask questions. This is important, do not get behind or you will either drop out or fail the test.

If I had to do it over again, I would have purchased a couple extra 1210 TR training charts for $6 each. paracay.com/store/nautical-books/for-boat-owners/instructional-text-books/noaa-training-chart-1210-tr-marthas-vineyard-to-block-island. The one I had got pretty ratty with holes in it.

Here is what I remember from the test:

You will be using a fresh 1210 TR Martha's Vineyard training chart with the symbols on the back. Figure out where the bulk of your plotting will be and draw Latitude and Longitude reference lines across the chart, to aid with locating items on the chart. A lot of time can be wasted taking measurements to find a damn buoy as a starting or waypoint, when some reference lines would get you quickly in the general area.

Chart symbols - your asked to identify a series of symbols, all of which are on the back fo the chart you are given with which to take the test. Take your time but not too much time. The best thing to do is study the back of your chart before the test, so you know where blocks of items are located. Again, you can waste a LOT of time here if you don't know where to look.

Aids to Navigation - identify buoys/markers. You need to memorize the following chart. All of the questions on this subject were covered by this chart.
webapp1.dlib.indiana.edu/virtual_disk_library/index.cgi/4302894/FID1851/BOATCREW/files/ch13/ch13x.htm

This was barely covered in class and the only other person to pass the test almost failed because he hadn't brushed up on this.

You are asked where you would find charts locally. Seriously. I was taking the class in a different city but luckily remembered a place. Online is not an answer.

Who is responsible for updating US Nautical charts? NOAA is responsible for updating charts

Name four instruments (other than charts & publications) necessary for coastal navigation

Name four pieces of information found on chart title block

Name four navigational publications other than charts important for coastal navigation

To obtain max detail while sailing close to land which chart would be used? Circle correct answer.

What publication do you use to know when to update your charts?

Then you have plotting questions (drawing on the chart) and tide/current problems. The instructor suggested (thankfully) that you skip the plotting and complete the tide/current questions first. Thankfully I took his advice. They're worth a lot of points for the amount of time taken, compared to the plotting. You need to have tide/current down cold. Seriously. Do every practice problem you can get your hands on. Once you have it down, it's pretty easy but if you don't, you will screw these up.

Last are the plotting questions.

You are given the 1210 TR Martha's Vineyard training chart and asked to plot a bunch of courses on it, to cover dead reckoning, time speed distance, current, leeway, position fixes, running fixes and danger bearings. Essentially, everything you covered in class for plotting is covered in a question, one way or another. Thankfully, everything is done as of 1985 so you don't need to add Variation other than what's posted on the chart. You will know how to add and subtract East or West Deviations.

It goes something like this:

Find two buoys (given Lat & Long) - Plot A to B.
Depart red buoy #12 on a course at 0730 & proceed at a speed of 4 knots.
What is your true course, magnetic, compass course?
What is the position of your 0930 DR?
Continue on the compass course established above. You see this buoy, what is your bearing per steering compass?
At 1000 hours, the following bearing obtained is (3 bearings given).
What is your 1000 fix (Lat & Long).
Assuming the difference between your 1000 Fix and 1000 DR is caused by current
What is the Set & Drift?
Then you're asked to make more plots in different areas and asked to solve a running fix problem, drift and wind problems.

A Danger Bearing problem is given.

You need to be able to work quickly through the plotting problems. If you don't know how to do them you will run out of time and will fail. Period.

Again, do the practice exam listed at the beginning of this post. It's invaluable to prepping you. You need to be able to complete it within 1.5 hours to leave time for the other questions.

Hope this helps. Nothing I've posted here should give anything away. You need to know all of this to pass. This is by far the most difficult ASA course, IMO.
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post #2 of 11 Old 10-18-2017
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Re: ASA 105 Coastal Navigation Exam

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Originally Posted by SCFoster View Post
This is by far the most difficult ASA course, IMO.
Try 107, Celestial Navigation.....


105 is like any course one would take. If you take it seriously and prepare yourself, you will pass the test.
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post #3 of 11 Old 10-18-2017
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Re: ASA 105 Coastal Navigation Exam

Great opening post. I'm going to recommend something here but it's not meant to diminish the gist of this thread.

The ASA 105 was fun and a bit of a challenge. Having been a boater in N.E. for a long time, I already understood something of currents. However, who knows how many massive curves I had been taking before affordable GPS.

If one is after more knowledge and adding to your ASA passport then this is a nice course to take. I would suggest taking a OUPV course in addition to, or instead, even if one does not ever get the license.

Most of us don't use paper charts any more, may not ever again, who knows? What the 105 (and OUPV) class does is help get your head around what is happening to your vessel as you navigate, AND what the other guy is doing.

If you have time and money, take them both. And prepare to do lots of studying but it's fun study.
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Re: ASA 105 Coastal Navigation Exam

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Originally Posted by RobGallagher View Post
If you have time and money, take them both. And prepare to do lots of studying but it's fun study.
I agree. I'm working on the sailing ratings but do plan on going the powerboat route as well.

I'm sure the Celestial Navigation class/test will be challenging as well. I'm planning on taking that over the winter months.

I had an advantage over the other students as I'm also a pilot and started flying back when VOR/Loran and INS (Inertial Nav System) was all you had. And, with two complete electrical failures in the cockpit, being able to navigate on 'old school' principles is something I want to be able to do, whether in aircraft or surface vessels.

The main reason for my post is to encourage others to take the course, while making sure they realize it's a commitment of serious time.
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post #5 of 11 Old 10-19-2017
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Re: ASA 105 Coastal Navigation Exam

Weekend sailor, cruiser, racer, our biggest fear is collision.

FWIW, the OUPV course is about navigation, it does not matter what your form of propulsion is. Lots of Radar and deeper understanding of the ColRegs. All of OUPV relates to both sail and power. Most importantly it taught me what the other guy might be thinking and how accidents happen.

Take them both
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post #6 of 11 Old 10-19-2017
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Re: ASA 105 Coastal Navigation Exam

Sounds like a typical stupid test that is more interested in crap than in the function it is testing for! I got the corse way back for the knowledge but didnít take the test that was really just above it getting some more $$$$$$$ out of me.

Don't blow air up my rear, be useful and blow it at the sails!
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post #7 of 11 Old 07-27-2018
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Re: ASA 105 Coastal Navigation Exam

I concur with the above and passed the test first try.

Recommendations:
1. Check YouTube - there's excellent training online including from Tom Tursi himself (one of the two authors of the official ASA books) about what you need - running fixes, etc.

2. You'll need to actually understand everything. The instructor will give you a few degrees leeway, but you'll need to get the problems right, but if GPS were to go down due to war, your electronics were fried due to lightning strike, etc. you're going to want to actually know this.

3. Read carefully, I got 2 things I got wrong were so easy I breezed by them and misread them.... i.e. leaving harbor not returning.

4. One actionable tip: know what danger markers are including "rocks awash" looks like on a chart.
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Re: ASA 105 Coastal Navigation Exam

First off Congrats on passing. I have recently taken ASA up to 106 so I know the challenge. I had taken my OUPV last year and found that it helped me immensely in preparing for the ASA courses having had to plot over and over again. I currently have the celestial navigation course work and am going to start self study soon. Again Congrats.
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Re: ASA 105 Coastal Navigation Exam

Congratulations! I just passed the US Sailing Coastal Navigation class, which sounds like pretty much the same course. How much time did you have to finish the exam? I didn't feel rushed at all, so maybe we had a lot more time. I did study a lot! So there's that. I agree about wishing I had several 1210 TR charts. Mine had holes in it, too, with some of the lights/buoys so overused during homework that I was guessing at the actual point. Again, congratulations!
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Re: ASA 105 Coastal Navigation Exam

Hello, the link to the Kansascitysailing.com practice test no longer works. Do you have a PDF you could email me??

Thanks!

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