We offer classes from traditional navigation with paper charts through cutting-edge Pilothouse Simulation courses—our goal is to make you a better, safer and more confident mariner. Class sizes are small and are designed to be hands-on, so that you are learning while doing—whether it’s Radar or Dead Reckoning. If you have a group or club that would like to schedule a private class, please contact ace@nwmaritime.org to make arrangements.


Pilothouse Simulator at the Northwest Maritime Center

Pilothouse Simulator Classes

Introduction to Radar Navigation

Learn to interpret the images your radar is displaying in hands on radar exercises in our Chart Room. This class includes an introduction to true and relative motion, range, bearing, and what that means to you and your vessel. You will also learn how to mark targets and track other vessels. This class has a four-person minimum.

[Register online] [Download current schedule]

Radar & Night Navigation

Build on your basic radar skills with simulated collision avoidance exercises. Use vectors, bearing lines and range rings to navigate safely. You will learn to recognize other vessels, aids to navigation, harbor entrances, and hazards at night. The class features our state-of-the-art marine simulator, which accurately demonstrates the lights of Puget Sound and the vessels you might encounter. This class has a four-person minimum.

[Register online] [Download current schedule]

Custom Pilothouse Simulator Classes

Get a group of 6-8 folks together and we’ll schedule a class for you on your schedule! Please contact ace@nwmaritime.org to make arrangements.


Paper chart for navigation classes

In the Classroom

Essentials of Safe Navigation

An 8 hour course that introduces you to all of the basics of navigating safely in our Pacific Northwest waters: paper charting, rules of the road, aids to navigation, vessel lights, electronic navigation and radar. This course is taught in a single 8-hour class on a Saturday, and has a four-person minimum.

[Register online] [Download current schedule]

Navigation & Piloting

This classroom based program focuses on chart reading, navigational aids, navigational tools, compass use, latitude and longitude, dead-reckoning, triangulation, tides and currents, trip planning, boating resources for the Puget Sound and San Juan Islands, and how to safely cross the Strait of Juan de Fuca!

[Register online] [Download current schedule]

Surprise! You’re in Command

NEW IN 2017! A 3-hour class on what you need to know if you are suddenly in command of your powerboat. Learn the basics of communication, helm, and navigating safely home.

[Register online] [Download current schedule]

Powerboating Electronics at the Helm

NEW IN 2017! A 3-hour class on the navigation electronics at the helm of your powerboat. Learn what you need to know about your instruments, chart plotter, and radar to navigate with confidence.

[Register online] [Download current schedule]


Marine Weather Fall Series

Understanding the Wind

October 16 | 6:00-7:30 PM
Wind affects all boaters whether power or sail, on inland waters or offshore. A boat’s course and speed, lee shores, and safe anchorages are all determined by the wind. This introduction to the nature of wind, from global circulation to local patterns, will help you factor the weather into your boating plans.

The Barometer: An Essential On-Board Forecasting Tool

October 23 | 6:00-7:30 PM
When you’re underway and internet weather data is beyond reach, the barometer on the bulkhead remains an essential tool to understanding and predicting the weather. Along with on-board observations of wind direction and speed, clouds, temperature, and precipitation; the barometer will identify trends in these key weather factors to help you avoid uncomfortable and possibly dangerous conditions afloat.

Clouds: A Sailor’s Telltales in the Sky

October 30 | 6:00-7:30 PM
Clouds tell us a lot about the weather to expect very soon and over the next few days. Will it be fair or rain, warm or cold? Will winds be strong or light and from what points of the compass? Will the wind be steady or gusty?  Learn the basic cloud types and the weather they foretell; how to judge cloud movement and growth; and what weather data you can use to decipher the message in the clouds.

Coastal Winds: Sea Breezes, Corner Effect, Dirty Air, and More!

November 6 | 6:00-7:30 PM
Learn how to use your knowledge of local terrain to better interpret and apply the general area forecast. Land affects wind speed and direction over coastal and inland waters in predictable ways. Use a few basic weather principles to predict the winds and their effect on sea state for your next race or cruise.

About the Instructor:

Dave Wilkinson holds a MS in Atmospheric Science from Oregon State University, is member of the American Meteorological Society and the American Sailing Association where he is a certified marine weather instructor. Dave is the marine weather instructor at the Northwest Maritime Center, and teaches for Washington Sea Grant, at Seattle Sailing Club, and is an on-line weather instructor at the Starpath School of Navigation. His sailing experiences in Mexico, the Caribbean, and New Zealand, as well as the Pacific Northwest, provide realistic context for describing key weather concepts.

[Register online] [Download current schedule]