A Community Devoted to the Preservation and Practice of Celestial Navigation and Other Methods of Traditional Wayfinding
From: Byron Stembridge
Date: 2015 Feb 16, 17:43 -0800
I am an active duty Quartermaster First Class Petty Officer in the U.S Navy. I've been using celestial and honing my skills for approximately 17 years. I am a dying breed unfortunately as the majority of QM's are no longer competent in celnav with the advent of ECDIS. I learned most of what I know during my first 5 years at sea on the USS Thach FFG-43, USS Gary FFG-51, and. USS Vicksburg CG-69. Just limited stuff was taught in A School at NTC Great Lakes, Illinois at that time including amplitudes and azimuths of the sun, computation of sunrise /sunset /moonrise / moonset. About a year after arriving onboard my first ship I did receive formal Navy training on the now disestablished 2 week celnav course. I had a good first leading QM that taught me most of what he knew.
With what I was taught in the first couple of years laid the foundation for a now lifelong interest in the subject. I have read several books on celnav and practiced just about all of what is in Bowditch and Duttons. If I don't get my lop's within 0-3 nm of a my gps position, I consider it a fail. I love to teach it to someone who is receptive and coachable, but if I sense an officer is not I will make their head hurt on purpose. It's sad that the Navy is reducing its competency on this crucial backup, but expected.
Fortunately I will continue my love and development past my Navy career soon as a Third Mate. I'll continue to shoot my moonlines, get my amplitudes of Mars, and take a lunar or two every once in a while.