River Navigation Book

River Navigation from paper to plotter          book & course

The Towboat Tour Division of NavCal Marine Services, LLC is developing a RIVER NAVIGATION course. Persons completing this mid-level course and passing a proctored exam will receive a Steersman River Navigator certificate certifying successful completion.

The book for the first level training and certification is under development now and includes the following sections:

  1. IntroductionWith purpose of the book and course plus the author’s qualifications
  2. TerminologyWith emphasis on the marine useage of important terms
  3. Vessel handlingCovers how vessels react to steering and twin screw maneuvers
  4. Basic navigational informationCovers Latitude, Longitude, datum and true and magnetic courses and bearings
  5. Charts, paperPaper charts and their carriage requirements plus their limitations
  6. Charts, electronicTypes, conventions and sources for electronic charts
  7. ChartplottersCovers how to setup, test and properly use electronic chartplotters
  8. River facilitiesExplains the river facilities that are available and what services they provide
  9. Time, speed, distanceCovers how to make rapid TSD calculations for trip planning and ETA estimation
  10. Passenger vesselsIs an explanation of passenger vessels from six-pact to 1,000 plus passenger H boats
  11. Tows & towboatsExplains towboats and tows with excerpts from An Introduction to TOWBOATING and the towing industry
  12. Vessel identificationExplains how to recognize vessel types both day and night and estimate their course 
  13. Rules of the roadProvides a practical expansion on the navigation rules with reference to NAVIGATION RULES International-Inland
  14. VHF radioExplains installation, setup, testing and use of VHF marine radios
  15. AISCovers both AIS A and B installation, setup, testing and use
  16. RadarExplains the practical use of modern marine radar for river navigation
  17. Safety & Security – Gives suggestions of safety in the marine environment and vessel security plans.

Each section will have a set of review questions on this website and on a CD included with the book. Questions about any of the course material can be emailed to captfarmer@navcal.com. After you have studied the course material thoroughly and satisfactorily completed the section review questions you can apply for a final proctored exam.  There may be a small fee charged by the proctor to administer the exam. The exam will be mailed directly to your selected and approved proctor. He or she will administer the timed exam and return it for grading to Towboat Tour for grading and possible certificate award.