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 robin@nwmaritime.org to make arrangements.


Pilothouse Simulator Classes


Introduction to Radar Navigation

Apr 14, May 12, Jun 9, Sept 15, Oct 13, Nov 10
9:30 AM – 12:00 PM  |  $75 Non-member  |  $65 Member

Learn to interpret the images your radar is displaying with 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.

Radar & Night Navigation

Apr 14, May 12, Jun 9, Sept 15, Oct 13, Nov 10
1:00 – 3:30 PM  |  $75 Non-member  |  $65 Member

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.

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 robin@nwmaritime.org to make arrangements.

In the Classroom


Essentials of Safe Navigation

Mar 17, Apr 21, May 19, Jun 23, Jul 7, Sept 29, Oct 20, Nov 17
9:00 AM – 5:00 PM  |  $150 Non-member  |  $135 Member 

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.

Navigation & Piloting

Apr 10, 12, 17, 19  |  5:30 – 8:00 PM  |  $150 Non-member  |  $135 Member
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!

NEW IN 2018! Yachts and Small Craft Survey Course

Apr 16–20 |  8:30 AM – 5:00 PM  |  $700 Non-member  |  $650 Member 
This is a week long introduction to marine surveying, focusing on yachts and small craft. The course is taught by John Baird, NAMS and ABYC certified Marine Surveyor. In addition to being an introductory overview to marine surveying, the class will cover: corrosion; hull types; fasteners; hull piping and sea connections; deckhouse, rigs, sail and spar inspection; fuel and engine systems; navigation systems; HVAC; marine asset valuation; and report writing.

NEW IN 2018! Outboard Workshop: Getting Ready for Spring

March 24 |  9:00 AM – 12:00 PM  |  $40 Non-member  |  $36 Member 
This 3-hour class in the Boatshop will prepare you for the upcoming boating season. Small outboards are a critical component of safety gear and neglect can result in a variety of expenses. This is a hands-on workshop, so plan on getting dirty!

Topics include the basics of simple and routine small outboard motor maintenance, including changing the oil, fuel, lubrication, electrical inspection, and diagnosis of common problems. The class will focus on two and four-stroke gas engines 15 hp and less. Several small engines will be available as a training aids during the workshop.

NEW IN 2018! Intro to Timezero Navigator by Nobeltec

March 27 |  6:00 PM – 9:00 PM |  $40 Non-member  |  $35 Member 
This class will cover how to use Timezero Navigator From Nobeltec, for local cruising to off shore sailing. This class will focus on route planning utilizing onboard tide and current data, from cruising the Salish sea to maybe a not so impromptu inside passage trip…. We will also cover off shore routing using our onboard weather software, advanced route planning tools with an introduction to Polar files, isochrones and route variability. This class is taught by Daniel Joram, the West Coast Representative for Nobeltec, Partner in the ketch Ariel of Victoria, long time wooden boat owner and captain.


NEW IN 2018! Weather Series: Working With the Wind

6:00 PM – 7:30 PM  |  Non-member: $150/entire series or $50/class  |  Member: $130/entire series or $45/class 
Gain a firm grasp of the invisible but powerful force of the wind! In this series of seminars you will first learn the basic forces that cause the wind and then see how the influences of land and water create their own special types of wind. Then it’s time to think about winds aloft, when they descend to the surface, and how they affect our course, speed, and even sea state. Along the way you will learn where to find wind data and use it to set a course and sail plan or select the perfect anchorage. Your sailing performance and cruising efficiency will grow as you learn to anticipate the ever changing wind.

OCT 8 Understanding the Wind

A boat’s course and speed, lee shores, and secure 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. Learn to read a weather chart as we examine the basic forces that cause the wind. True to apparent wind conversions are demonstrated and applied to wind forecasts to determine point of sail and an appropriate sail plan.

OCT 15 Coastal Winds: Sea Breezes, Corner Effect, Dirty Air and More!

Land affects the wind over coastal and inland waters in predictable ways. Use a few basic weather principles to understand how local terrain will modify the general area forecast. High resolution weather forecasts will be used to develop an initial forecast along a selected course. Localized land effects will be systematically evaluated along the route to further refine forecasted wind direction and speed.

OCT 22 Clouds: A Sailor’s Telltales in the Sky

Clouds tell us a lot about the weather to expect very soon and over the next few days. 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, growth; and to anticipate changes in the wind. Evaluate weather data for cloud types, what they tell us about the wind, and how it will change.

OCT 29 Gusts and Lulls: Helm and Trim Response

The wind is ever changing, sometimes chaotically and sometimes in more predictable ways. The atmosphere holds clues as to the strength of a gust, what direction it will come from, or if there will be any gusts at all. Fore knowledge of gusts lets us optimize boat speed and course while avoiding dangerous jibes and knock-downs. The changing wind direction and speed in gusts and lulls is evaluated for effect on apparent wind, sail trim, and helm response.

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 teaches marine weather at the Northwest Maritime Center, for the Washington Sea Grant Program, and sailing schools in Seattle and Portland. His sailing experiences in Mexico, the Caribbean, and New Zealand, as well as the Pacific Northwest, provide realistic context for describing key weather concepts.

Presentations are organized and presented to help sailors build a fundamental understanding of the weather and its effects on the ocean. The focus is on the practical application of weather to build the knowledge and confidence to sail anywhere in the world and to make the boating experience safer and more rewarding.

Sign up for one class or the entire series!