MCA Celestial Navigation Refresher Course & Exam
Course 411

MPT is the most complete full service private maritime school in the country and has been training mariners since 1983. Our Fort Lauderdale based campuses host over 45,000 square feet of classrooms, deck and engineering training labs, the Ship's Store, and student service facilities.

Preparing for MCA Celestial Navigation Refresher Course & Exam

Course Description

MCA Celestial Navigation Refresher Course & Exam.

The MCA have introduced a Celestial Navigation exam, which will be required for issue of a Master (Yachts) CoC after 1st January 2014, as per MIN 473.

The MCA examination paper will have 100 marks and the student must obtain an overall percentage of 65 to pass including specifically in question 1(using celestial bodies to fix position). The following examination topics are included:

Topic 1: Using celestial bodies to fix position:
             a) Can identify and select the most suitable celestial bodies in the twilight period
             b) Can determine the time of visible rising and setting of the sun
             c) Can use any acceptable method to calculate altitude and azimuth
             d) Can accurately plot lines of position obtained from a sight to fix position
             e) Can use the nautical almanac and calculator or nautical tables to find a position line from an altitude obtained 
                 by a sextant and time obtained from a chronometer 

Topic 2:  Determining latitude by celestial means
             a) Can calculate latitude by Polaris
             b) Can calculate the latitude by meridian altitude of the sun or a planet
             c) Can calculate the time of meridian altitude of the sun or a planet

Topic 3:  Determining compass error by celestial means are included in the syllabus
             a) Can determine compass error by amplitude of the sun or a planet
             b) Can determine compass error by azimuth of the sun
             c) Can determine compass error by azimuth of a star or a planet

In these courses, it is important to note that there is not time to cover all celestial navigation theory and practice from the beginner level in the 4-5 days designated for refresher training. It is therefore key to take sufficient pre-study before attending the course to improve your results and ensure success. Some candidates will do this in their own time by obtaining their notes in advance and some will choose to retake longer celestial classes first or simply study their notes and books from previous courses whilst referring to the MCA Syllabus to guide them and help identify their weak areas.

The 5 day course is optional as the exam is all that is required by the MCA, but MPT wish to assist candidates in preparing for the material prior to the exam for those people who wish to obtain a refresher on their Celestial Navigation/Astro Nav skills.

PLEASE NOTE: This is a short refresher course designed to give an overview of the material that will be on the MCA exam syllabus and to facilitate the examination. You MUST be proficient in celestial navigation and the use of a sextant when entering this course to have an expectation to pass the exam. This is NOT a celestial navigation training course. MPT offers an extensive celestial and oceans navigation course which is NOT based on the MCA exam but rather is used to train candidates from all maritime administrations in celestial navigation. That course is #201 and is three weeks in length and includes practical sights using your sextant. It is USCG approved in lieu of the American exam. It can be undertaken before this MCA course if desired to learn celestial navigation techniques. 

NOTE: Candidates who hold a valid MCA Master 500 ton CoC who are upgrading to MCA Master 3000 and who have previously submitted their Oceans Certificate will NOT be required to take this examination.


MCA Approved Yachtmaster Oceans CoC

5 day class in Fort Lauderdale

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Required Materials

Sextant (rentals are available) Plotting Tools Scientific Calculator Pencil Eraser Note pad