A Community Devoted to the Preservation and Practice of Celestial Navigation and Other Methods of Traditional Wayfinding
From: Frank Reed
Date: 2020 Oct 12, 10:51 -0700
Matt, you wrote:
"I'm thinking that H.O. 229 was compiled in the 30s and 40s and used en masse in WW2. This glut of navigators who were running the industry for the next 40 years had enough inertia to preclude the acceptance of anything new. "
The timing is a little off, but your sentiment is spot on. Pub.229 was launched much later, c.1970. The numbering of H.O. products I think creates the illusion that 229 is older than, for example, Pub.249. Someday perhaps we'll resolve the mystery of the H.O. numbers. During the 1970s there was a big push to use 229 in all celestial education. It was "the latest thing" and it had USN and USCG approval. When you yourself learned to use it in the 1980s, it was the "new and improved" system. But with GPS rapidly rising, celestial stopped dead in its tracks. The celestial that is taught today in the majority of maritime schools is mostly methodology from the 1970s. I call it "disco navigation". :)
"Still to this day, I was unable to interest my Kings Point CelNav instructor from 34 years ago to even look at this. His job as he stated is to train for the Coast Guard license exam. A test that is 80 years out of date. Mariners can be "old dogs" at times."
Have some sympathy for the poor guy! :) If your Kings Point instructor is still teaching there 34 years later, that's rather impressive, but just running the numbers he's probably close to retirement. I don't imagine he has any incentive at all to try "new" approaches to the subject.
And what he says is basically true. Navigation education falls mostly at two ends of a spectrum. On one end are people trying to learn, promote, and even advance celestial navigation for the sake of navigation. Those are celestial navigation enthusiasts and actual practitioners. Nearly all NavList regulars are in this category. At the other end of the spectrum are students trying to pass licensing exams because the world revolves around licenses today, and getting a certificate is a pathway to a better job. The folks who need celestial simply because they want to pass the test, get that license (and then, more likely than not, promptly forget everything they learned!) constitute a group that's probably ten times larger than the enthusiasts. Having taught such classes myself a couple of years ago, I can assure you it's a struggle to make it rewarding (rewarding for the instructor, that is). It's really rather a sad way to teach, but at least your old instructor is paying the bills, which is more than I am doing!
Clockwork Mapping / ReedNavigation.com
Conanicut Island USA