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Coastguard Boating Education Coastal Skipper Certificate

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The full New Zealand Coastal Skipper Certificate course is designed as preparation for a mariner wishing to make a recreational coastal passage outside immediate harbour limits. It covers weather, passage planning and coastal passage making in detail. Prerequisites for obtaining for obtaining the certificate are a the obtaining of a Boatmaster certificate; at least 200 hours of boating experience; and a VHF radio operator's qualification. The full course, and the examination, is in three modules: Coastal Navigation; Coastal Weather and Coastal Passage Making.

The Coastal Navigation Certificate is awarded to candidates who pass the Coastal Navigation module and exam, and have not completed the other prerequisites.

The teaching modules are available as evening classes, block courses and as weekend courses. The modular examinations can be taken in any order and may be sat individually or at one sitting; however the Coastal Passage Making exam is an assignment followed by an oral, which can only be taken after the other two papers are completed.


Module 1.
Coastal Navigation.
Time allowed 3 hours; total marks 200; pass mark needed 140 (70 percent).

1. The Chart. Information on the chart, chart symbols, lights, chart corrections, measurement of position, distance, height and depths.

2. Courses and Bearings. The relationship between compass, magnetic and true courses and bearings. Relative bearings.

3. Water Track and Ground Track. Wind and tide effects on course. Estimating position and course to steer.

4. Fixing Position. Methods of fixing position; position lines, ranges, GPS and radar.

5. Tides. Finding heights and times of tides. Heights above water at a given time. Meteorological effects on tides. Use of he Rule of Twelfths.

6. The magnetic Compass. Magnetic compasses. Steering compasses. Flux gate and lubber-line compass. And bearing compass.

7. Magnetism. Variation and deviation. Principles of magnetism. Areas of magnetic anomaly. Heeling error.

8. The Deviation Card. To establish the compass error and deviation from a known true bearing or transit bearing. To construct a table or curve of deviations.

9. Marine Radar. Basic principles of radar. The function and operation of radar controls. Interpretation of he radar picture. The errors, limitations and precautions associated with marine radar navigation.

10. Global Positioning System (GPS). An appreciation of the basic principles of GPS. The setting up and modes of readout of GPS. The major errors of GPS. Information provided by GPS. Waypoint navigation and precautions.

Module 2. Coastal Weather.
Time allowed 1 hour; total marks 100; pass mark 70 (seventy percent).

1. Air Masses and Fronts. Tropical maritime and polar maritime air masses over New Zealand. Warm front, cold front, occluded fronts.

2. Pressure Systems. Anticyclones and depressions. The isobaric patterns for high, low, trough and ridge. Seasonal movements of the systems.

3. The Weather Associated with the Passage of the following over or close to New Zealand. Fronts, occlusions, anti-cyclones, depressions. Secondary depressions. Tropical cyclones.

4. Surface Wind. An understanding of pressure gradient and isobar spacing. Effect of isobar curvature. Diurnal variation of wind speed.

5. Fog. Radiation and advection fog.

6. The Effect of Topography on wind and weather. Land and sea breezes. Katabatic winds. Effect of mountains and hills.

7. Sea, Waves and Swell. Sea and swell. Fetch. Effects of wind and tide combined. Relationships of wind and waves.

8. Interpretation of Weather Maps. Interpeting a simple weather map and a series of maps.

9. Weather Forecast Information. Types of marine forecasts. Terminology used in marine forecasts. Content of forecasts. Modification of a forecast when given prevailing conditions and time.

10. Aids to Local Forecasting. Typical weather cycles. Use of the aneroid barometer. Cloud interpretation. Local knowledge.

Module 3.
Coastal Passage Making.
There is a written passage plan produced I the candidates own time, together with an oral exam lasting approximately one hour. The first two exams must have been taken prior to concluding this module.

1. Passage Planning. Publications required. Choice of route. Laying off safe tracks. Alternative routes and shelter. Making a landfall. The use of GPS waypoints. The use of radio.

2. The Collision Regulations. A working knowledge of the International Regulations for the Prevention of Collisions at Sea as they affect a New Zealand coastal passage.

3. Legal Knowledge. A knowledge of the Maritime Transport Act with respect to: obligations relating to distress, collision, and dangers to navigation and accidents. Salvage. Keeping a log book. Skippers responsibilities relating to the Maritime Transport Act.

4. Stability. A non-mathematical treatment of stability, shifting, adding or removing weights. Reserve buoyancy; stiff and tender characteristics. List, heel and loll. Down flooding.

5. Equipment. Lifesaving and firefighting. Provisioning of food and water. Stowage and care of equipment.

6. Instruments. Depth finders and logs. Position fixing equipment. Weather instruments.

7. Ship Handling. Manoeuvring. Berthing and leaving a berth. Buoyage. Anchoring. Heavy weather sailing. Sea anchors.

8. Emergencies. Firefighting stranding; collisions; heavy weather damage; control of leaks. Jury steering gear systems. Distress procedures; abandoning ship; life rafts. Search and Rescue. Man overboard. Towing and being towed. Assisting a vessel in distress and rescues. Serious illness or injury to a crew member; danger of exposure. Source of outside assistance.

9. Responsibilities of a Master. Crew selection and management. Crew watchbill and crew's responsibilities. Legal responsibilities.

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