About this course

This course will provide you with the practical understanding and knowledge of celestial navigation, including the ability to fix the vessel's position and determine compass error using celestial observations. 

See career progression chart for this course

What you'll study

Using celestial bodies to fix position 

  • Identify and select the most suitable celestial bodies in the twilight period 
  • Determine the time of visible rising and setting of the sun 
  • Use acceptable methods to calculate altitude and azimuth 
  • Accurately plot lines of position obtained from a sight-to-fix position 
  • Use the nautical almanac and calculator or nautical tables to find a position line from an altitude obtained by a sextant and time obtained from a chronometer. 

Determining latitude by celestial means 

  • Calculate the latitude by Polaris 
  • Calculate the latitude by meridian altitude of the sun or planet 
  • Calculate the time of meridian altitude of the sun or planet. 

Determining compass error by celestial means 

  • Determine compass error by amplitude of the sun or a planet 
  • Determine compass error by azimuth or the sun 
  • Determine compass error by azimuth of a star or planet. 

Useful tips

  • Read through the exam syllabus
  • Your pass certificate is valid for one year. 
  • You do not need a Notice of Eligibility (NoE) to attend this course. However, you will need an NoE for your MCA oral exam. Download the application form. Allow at least six weeks (currently even more) for the NoE to be processed by the MCA. 
  • Do the ‘proper’ PSCRB course instead of ‘Advanced Sea Survival for Yachtsmen’. The latter has not got an STCW Code which has the following implications: Not all flag states recognise the Advanced Sea Survival, meaning you might have to do the PSCRB later anyway. Your certificate will have a negative endorsement (‘not to be used on vessels with davit-launched life rafts’). There is also no updating course available for the Advanced Sea Survival. 
  • Pre-study makes the difference. That’s why we send you the course notes as soon as you book.  

Notice of Eligibility (NoE) and oral exams guidance

When you have accrued sufficient sea time to sit an oral exam with the MCA, you are required to apply for a Notice of Eligibility (NoE). 

This form can be downloaded from the MCA website and must be returned with original copies of your supporting documentation (sea service testimonials, STCW certificates, exam pass certificates and ENG1) to prove you are eligible for an oral exam. 

Once you have your NOE you can book your oral exam at any of the MCA offices throughout the UK. The MCA office you have chosen will not confirm your booking until you have received your NOE. Be aware they do have busy periods, so it is best to book your oral exam well in advance to ensure you get your preferred date. 

A Notice of Eligibility is valid for five years from date of issue, and for three years after a successful oral exam. You must apply for your NOE well in advance of your anticipated exam date as they can take up to six weeks to be processed. 

Course Information

  • Next available date

    N/A

  • Duration

    N/A

  • Price

    N/A

  • Approvals

    MCA

  • Career progression

    Master Yachts

  • Prerequisites

    None

Course availability

Please contact admissions for course availability and to book.

Contact us

Please contact the admissions team if you require more information about this course.

Online bookings will be confirmed with joining information within one working day of the booking being made. Confirmation of payment should be received in the normal way.

Please ensure that you follow the booking process and do not enter payment details more than once, unless you are booking more than one course. If you experience any issues, please email warsash.admissions@solent.ac.uk.

Admissions Team


Normal office hours are (UK time):

08.30 - 17.00 Monday to Thursday
08.30 - 16.30 Friday

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