The Starpath Weather Trainer is designed to teach practical marine weather. That is, weather knowledge that will affect your decision making underway and lead to safer more efficient time on the water, whether that time is on an inland lake, a coastal cruise, or a transoceanic voyage. And also regardless of what kind of vessel is involved, ship or kayak, sailboat or trawler.
Since we need to use all available resources to do the best job in this important decision making, the Weather Trainer covers everything from the old sayings (red sky at night, sailor's delight, etc.) to the most modern technology of weatherfax maps and live satellite imagery. We cover the time-honored techniques of reading the natural signs of wind, sea, and sky as well as the latest in satellite communications and internet resources.
The program does this teaching in several interactive ways. Besides the step-by-step Lesson Plans, which guide you through the materials in a systematic manner (discussed later in the Help and Navigation section), you can venture out on your own and design your own training program, or look up specific topics. You can, for example, read illustrated articles on specific topics. Weather Trainer's Articles Book includes details on specific subjects along with direct hot links to related parts of the course. A list of articles and samples are shown in the Articles demo.
Or you can ask the Weather Trainer questions on marine weather. You do this from the Ask Me Book. This presentation is based on our long experience in teaching marine weather and navigation (more than 15,000 students since 1978) as well as our own direct experience at sea over the years. See how this works in the Ask-Me demo.
The massive illustrated Glossary it includes more than 125,000 words of text serves as a hyper-linked index for looking up special terms. And once you find your term, you find all related illustrations, related terms, and other related sections of the course listed with it. The super convenient way the Glossary is designed is shown in the Glossary demo.
Special resources that aid in your training and in the actual application of marine weather analysis in planning or underway are compiled in the Resources Book. These include a World Climatic Atlas, sections on sea state prediction, Cloud Atlas, weather map reading, code interpretation, and many more. These are the working tools you will use long after the initial learning process has been completed. See samples in the Resource Book demo.
The core of the training is an extensive set of practice questions. Each is illustrated, annotated, and the answer explained with links to related parts of the course. Training proceeds through the way these questions are structured and presented. They don't just ask, they teach. And all of your records as your study these questions are preserved for individual readers. See how this important part of the course works in the Practice Questions demo.
The Weather Trainer has been praised for its overall design as a CBT project (computer based training). This design was a major part of the over all development effort. The goal was to be thorough and still engaging. We want to take advantage of the computer presentation, not be just a conventional text course presented on a computer screen. And we believe, and others agree, that we have accomplished this through the format of the materials and how you navigate through them.
The hub of the material is the Library Page presented at the top of this page. You can return to there from any place in the program, and from there you can go to any other place. In the program, you just click an item to navigate to that section. The material is organized into "Books" and each book has an index of its own. The Help Book describes the course in detail and how to use it. Samples of navigation, help features, and record keeping are presented in the Help and Navigation demo.
The Weather Trainer can be used on all levels to learn practical marine weather, from the most fundamental to the most advanced. The level and extent of the training provided is explained in detail in the section called Standards.
At the end of your study or during it, you have the option to practice with the certification exams. These built-in tests close down all the convenient resources you have practiced with so you can test yourself on your own. The value of this certification and the procedures are described in the section on Certification.