How to Read a Nautical Chart is a three-hour course that will help you unravel the mystery of charts.

When navigating on land you use a map. It depicts the various thoroughfares, their directions and names. Major landmarks such as parks, lakes etc. are also shown. By identifying with each of these landmarks and following printed routes, you would be able to reach a desired destination. At sea there are no equivalent landmarks, and no routes. And, if you are far offshore, with no land mass on the horizon, everything looks the same. For navigating at sea, we use a chart, and we navigate by reference to what we can see, and often by what we cannot.

Nautical charts give us the “landmarks of the sea” – buoys, markers, shoreline features, water depth, bottom type, magnetic compass variation, and the latitude and longitude of these features. By knowing our latitude and longitude, we can locate our position anywhere on earth. Charts also warn us of dangerous areas, enabling us to determine safe passage – if we know how to read the chart and use the information we find there.

This course will provide the navigator with the knowledge to interpret a chart’s contents to navigate safely to his or her destination and return to port. Practice chart is included and used with practical problems that are reviewed as part of the class.

A public education course presented by the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, Flotilla 054-22-07 and the Havre de Grace Maritime Museum.

Course Cost: $35.00 (Free to Active Military and First Responders)

To register, contact Abe Spergel by email: or call: (443) 504-3880.