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NAUT101 Nautical Studies 1

A theoretical and practical introduction to nautical studies. Students will gain an understanding of, and develop a critical approach to, issues such as maritime law and regulations, in-shore navigation, and maritime communications. Practical issues such as health and safety at sea, and seamanship will also be covered.

The sea is a complex and challenging environment for the scientist. This paper will help the student to

  • Understand how to cope with the physical challenges involved in working at sea
  • Understand how to avoid legal pitfalls
  • Understand how seafarers approach their professional responsibilities
  • Understand how to work as a team at sea
  • Use basic maritime navigational equipment

Paper title Nautical Studies 1
Paper code NAUT101
Subject Nautical Studies
EFTS 0.15
Points 18 points
Teaching period Semester 1 (On campus)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $1,092.15
International Tuition Fees (NZD) $5,004.75

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Schedule C
(i) Numbers for this paper are limited. (ii) Admission subject to departmental approval. (iii) May not be credited with SURV169 taken in 2020.
There are no prerequisite requirements for this paper. NAUT 101 would be of interest to any student who is studying in a marine environment (e.g. Marine Science, Hydrographic Surveying, Oceanography). It would also be valuable to anyone who has an interest in maritime matters or affairs.

Enrolments for this paper are limited, and it requires departmental permission. View more information about limitations of enrolment.
Teaching staff
Convenor and Lecturer: Captain Graham Turner
Paper Structure
Students will
  • Develop an understanding of maritime law and regulations
  • Learn the principles of marine navigation as practised in inshore waters
  • Understand and be able to apply essential marine and inshore health and safety procedures
  • Understand and be able to apply basic seamanship principles
Provisional Course Plan
  • Lecture 1/2: Chartwork
  • Tutorial 1: Chartwork exercises
  • Lecture 3/4: Compass
  • Tutorial 2: Chartwork exercises
  • Lecture 5/6: Chart symbols, Notices to Mariners, ENCs
  • Tutorial 3: Chartwork exercises
  • Lecture 7/8: Buoyage
  • Tutorial 4: Chartwork exercises
  • Lecture 9/10: Tides
  • Tutorial 5: Introduction to computer question banks
  • Lecture 11/12: Weather
  • Tutorial 6: Collision regulations (classes, give way/stand on)
  • Lecture 13/14: Stability, manoeuvring
  • Tutorial 7: Collision regulations (any visibility)
  • Lecture 15/16: Distress
  • Tutorial 8: Collision regulations (restricted visibility)
  • Lecture 17/18: Radar, GPS, chart plotters
  • Tutorial 9: Question banks
  • Lecture 19/20: Maritime Transport Act, maritime rules
  • Tutorial 10: Question banks
  • Lecture 21/22: Lifesaving appliances
  • Tutorial 11: Question banks
  • Lecture 23/24: Engines
  • Tutorial 12: Question banks
  • Lecture 25/26: Engines, firefighting appliances
  • Tutorial 13: Sample examination
NAUT 101 VOYAGE on Vivienne J

On this voyage we will work in our teams.

We will carry out the following exercises in these groups, weather and circumstances permitting. Sometimes we may take advantage of a passing situation to make a point to everyone. With the noise, motion and limited space on board the vessel, it can be difficult to make sure that everyone gets to see, hear and do everything needed. So please help by trying to make the most of your time and by seizing every opportunity to learn. Next trip, you will have the chance to do it yourself while the crew and instructor take a backseat.

You will quickly discover that there are four keys to safe and efficient seamanship:
  • Communication: Work at it. It is surprisingly difficult to communicate clearly when you are not quite sure what you are trying to say
  • Alertness: The noise and motion on a boat can quickly make you tired. You may get drowsy. Watch the master and instructor. They don't relax. The most important physical skill in seamanship is the ability to stay alert 24 hours a day - even when you are cold, wet, tired and uncertain
  • Planning: Only bad things happen by accident. Everything else is planned
  • Teamwork: There are no individuals on a boat, not even the skipper
  • Steer by compass
  • Take compass bearings and convert them to true bearings
  • Measure true directions on the chart and convert them to compass directions
  • Tie knots
  • Use the echo sounder
  • Consult Notices to Mariners
  • Consult weather information
  • Calculate tide times and heights
  • Identify navigation marks
  • Fix the vessel's position by compass, echo sounder, radar, and transits
  • Apply the Collision Regulations if the chance arises
  • Use radar for collision avoidance if the chance arises
  • Person overboard drill
Remember that the master is in charge at all times and is legally responsible for the safety and behaviour of all on board:
  • Obey all orders promptly
  • Think safety
  • If in doubt - ask
Teaching Arrangements
There are two 1-hour lectures and a 1-hour tutorial per week. Each student must attend the two 1-day practical field trips on the water.

There is a 3-hour final examination, and students must achieve a minimum of 40% in the final examination to pass the paper.

There are three written assignments.

Terms Requirements:
  • At least two of the assignments and both practical exercises (field trips) must be satisfactorily completed (i.e. this will usually require an overall mark of at least 50% for the assignments)
  • At least 40% must be achieved in the final examination
Enrolment is limited to 27 students due to safety requirements on the boat.

Special Requirements: Students should be reasonably fit in order to participate in the practical exercises. Students will be required to take an active part in two 8-hour voyages. These are scheduled for weekends, and as the vessel's carrying capacity is limited, students must be prepared to accept assigned dates.

Warm clothing will be needed for practical exercises at sea.

Drawing instruments will be required for chartwork.
Textbooks are not required for this paper.
Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Interdisciplinary perspective, Communication, Critical thinking, Self-motivation, Teamwork.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes
  • To enable students to synthesise, analyse and understand a broad range of maritime issues
  • To understand and be able to exercise independent and critical judgement on maritime health and safety issues
  • To be able to work effectively as a team in the maritime environment

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Semester 1

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Monday 12:00-12:50 9-13, 15-16, 18-22
Tuesday 12:00-12:50 9-13, 15-22


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Thursday 12:00-12:50 9-13, 15-22