Register now for the 2022 virtual and in-person classes! Stay up to date by signing up for our email list.

Offering virtual navigation & seamanship classes in 2022—register now!

Our virtual classes are taught live by Ace Spragg, our Sailing School Manager. Presentations are engaging, interactive, and come with resources and references to download and keep. Students will have the opportunity to ask questions during the class to maximize learning. In addition, subjects are presented with good humor and humility (I made this mistake so you don’t have to!). These online classes are designed to make you a better, safer, and more confident mariner—all while learning from home via Zoom. NWMC members enjoy a 10% discount on virtual classes. Read class descriptions on this page, then register online via the button below.


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Second household registration is half price!

If two people from the same household are taking the same class, take half off the second registration. Please contact us at registrar@nwmaritime.org for the discount code.


Radar, Collision Avoidance, and Night Navigation – Virtual Class

Mar 1 & 2, May 10 & 11, Nov 29 & 30 | 6:30–8:00 PM | $85
Learn to interpret the images your radar is displaying with video radar exercises from our simulator. 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. Then, build on your basic radar skills with simulated navigation exercises in fog and darkness. 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 video from our state-of-the-art maritime simulator, which accurately demonstrates the lights of Puget Sound and the vessels you might encounter. This class is offered via Zoom from 6:30 to 8:00 pm on two consecutive evenings. Please watch for class details, including the Zoom link, to be sent via email. The class has a four-person minimum.

Charts and Dead Reckoning – Virtual Class

Jan 4 & 5, Mar 8–9, Sept 20 & 21 | 6:30–8:00 PM | $85
Navigation without a GPS! You’ll learn to use latitude, longitude, compass bearings, transits, and your paper charts to know where you are. This is an introduction to the traditional art of dead reckoning.

You will need the following materials to participate in class, they are available for purchase in the Chandlery on the NWMC campus, but also through our virtual store:

  • Chart 18471 “Approaches to Admiralty Inlet”
  • Dividers
  • Parallel Ruler
  • Pencil and eraser
  • Optional materials:
  • Hand bearing compass
  • Chart No. 1

This class is offered via Zoom from 6:30 to 8:00 pm on two consecutive evenings. Please watch for class details, including the Zoom link, to be sent via email. The class has a four-person minimum.

Charting 201: More Charts and Dead Reckoning – Virtual Class

Feb 15-17, Oct 25-27 | 6:30–8:00 PM | $100
A deeper dive into the world of using paper charts and dead reckoning to navigate safely. This class will involve more advanced charting problems, as well as a little homework between classes. We will include set and drift into our dead reckoning calculations and learn more about variation, deviation, and compass error. You’ll have more chances to practice your skills with a compass, chart, dividers, and parallel rules—because the reality is that the riskiest scenario is when your electronics go out! Charts & Dead Reckoning is a prerequisite. This class is offered via Zoom from 6:30 to 8:00 pm on three consecutive evenings. Please watch for class details, including the Zoom link, to be sent via email. The class has a four-person minimum.

No Impact Docking – Virtual Class

Jan 18 & 19, Mar 22 & 23, May 17 & 18, Oct 11 & 12 | 6:30–8:00 PM | $85
How to dock without fear (or damages)! No yelling! No leaping! We’ll see slides, handouts, and tips for successful docking strategies for keelboats and trawlers, and how to practice them. We’ll learn how to use prop walk, winds, and spring lines to your advantage…the finer points of docking without bow thrusters or twin screws. This class is offered via Zoom from 6:30 to 8:00 pm on two consecutive evenings. Please watch for class details, including the Zoom link, to be sent via email. The class has a four-person minimum.

Tides & Currents in the Salish Sea – Virtual Class

Jan 11 & 12, Mar 15 & 16, May 24 & 25, Sept 27 & 28, Dec 6 & 7 | 6:30–8:00 PM | $85
Tides and currents are a huge part of boating in the Salish Sea. Knowing the forces at work, the resources available, and the boat skills needed to safely operate is paramount to a successful on-the-water adventure. Kayak, inflatable, sailboat, or powerboat—all are affected by the rise and fall of the tide. Whether a day trip on Port Townsend Bay or a trip up the Inside Passage, this class will help you with safe boat-trip planning. This class is offered via Zoom from 6:30 to 8:00 pm on two consecutive evenings. Please watch for class details, including the Zoom link, to be sent via email. The class has a four-person minimum.

Rules of the Road & Aids to Navigation – Virtual Class

Feb 1 & 2, Apr 12 & 13, Nov 8 & 9 | 6:30–8:00 PM | $85
Lights, sounds, right of way: know the rules!
Who has right of way? Where’s the channel? By the end of this class, you’ll understand the maneuvering rules, lights, sound signals, and buoys that allow us to navigate safely around hazards and other vessels. This class is offered via Zoom from 6:30 to 8:00 pm on two consecutive evenings. Please watch for class details, including the Zoom link, to be sent via email. The class has a four-person minimum.

Electronic Navigation & VHF: What are my electronic instruments and what are they telling me? – Virtual Class

Feb 22 & 23, Apr 19 & 20, Nov 15 & 16 | 6:30–8:00 PM | $85
This is an introduction to the many electronic tools and instruments that can help us navigate safely: Depth Sounders, GPS, Chart Plotters, AIS, Radar and VHF radios. The class features a discussion of the common errors associated with each system and what they can and can not tell you. Includes video from our Simulator and a chance to practice mayday calls. This class is offered via Zoom from 6:30 to 8:00 pm on two consecutive evenings. Please watch for class details, including the Zoom link, to be sent via email. The class has a four-person minimum.

Anchoring & Anchorages – Virtual Class

Jan 25 & 26, Apr 5 & 6, Jun 14 & 15, Oct 18 & 19 | 6:30–8:00 PM | $85
Learn the fundamentals of anchoring—deploying, setting, scope calculations, and retrieval—and what to do about anchoring in storms or high winds. Then learn about specific anchorages in the San Juan and Gulf Islands—where to drop the hook in fair weather and where to hide in a storm. This class is offered via Zoom from 6:30 to 8:00 pm on two consecutive evenings. Please watch for class details, including the Zoom link, to be sent via email. The class has a four-person minimum.

Radar & Collision Avoidance – In-Person Simulator Class!

Jan 22, Mar 26, May 21, Oct 15 | 10 AM-12:30 PM | $100
Learn to interpret the images your radar is displaying with hands-on radar exercises in our Simulator 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 utilizes our state-of-the-art simulator to create radar collision avoidance scenarios to practice and learn from. This class is in person, at the Northwest Maritime Center campus.


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About Our Adult & Youth Programs Instructor:

Carolyn “Ace” Spragg grew up on the Chesapeake Bay, messing about in boats. She built her first raft at age 6, learned to sail at age 8, and has spent more than 35 years teaching on the water. She taught swimming, sailing, canoeing, and waterskiing at summer camps back east, and was the Waterfront Director and Program Director at Camp Wayne for 15 years. After moving to the Pacific Northwest in 2000, she started teaching sailing and cruising skills on her Yorktown 39, S/V Fraid Knot, which she lived aboard for 15 years. Ace has her USCG 50-ton Master’s License, International Sail and Power Association Yachtmaster Offshore teaching certification, US Sailing teaching certification, and is a US Maritime Academy Captain’s License Instructor. In 2006 she skippered her boat to Hawaii and back with all-women crews. She was the Program Director of the Northwest Maritime Center from 2011-2017, and also speaks at various seminars on Docking, Anchoring, Navigation, Tides and Currents and Trip Planning. After exploring other adventures for a couple of years, Ace has returned to the NWMC as our Sailing School Manager.