Boating: Staying on Course

Although he is a skipper without a ship, Danish-born Svend T. Simonsen, 59, has been taking a remarkably rewarding cruise through the $3 billion-a-year pleasure-boating business. So many ex-landlubbers are signing up for Simonsen's correspondence courses in piloting and celestial navigation that his Coast Navigation School in Santa Barbara, Calif., took in a total of $85,000 last year. His income may not qualify him as a tycoon, but the captain wins high marks for return on an original investment of $32.

It was just a year and a half ago that Simonsen wrote a $32 check to pay for a...