When it comes to boating, words like 'sextant' and 'sight reduction tables' may invite puzzled looks from many people. In fact, unless you're good at math, finding your position at sea from the sun, moon, planets and stars may be difficult. However, practice and patience are the only attributes needed beyond the ability to add, subtract, and tell time. Aids to assist you in navigation are placed along coasts and navigable waters as guides to mark safe water and to assist mariners in determining their position in relation to land and hidden dangers. Each is used to provide specific information. Several aids to navigation are usually used together to form a local system that helps you follow natural and improved channels. They also provide a continuous system of charted marks for coastal piloting. The coast guard recommends that to be a successful navigator you should learn to use the basic tools, such as a compass, chart, and sextant. And if you're planning on cruising or racing offshore, it's important to take a course in navigation.