In this paper, a conventional Strapdown Inertial Navigation System (SINS) alignment method on a disturbed base is analysed. A novel method with an attitude tracking idea is proposed for the rocking base alignment. It is considered in this method that the alignment algorithm should track the rocking base attitude real changes in the alignment process, but not excessively restrain disturbance. According to this idea, a rapid alignment algorithm is devised for the rocking base. In the algorithm, coarse alignment is carried out within 30 s in the inertial frame with alignment precision less than 2°, which meets Kalman filter linearization conditions well. Then a Kalman filter with ten state vectors and four measurement vectors is applied for the fine alignment to improve the capability of the algorithm in tracking the vehicle attitude. A turntable rotation experiment is carried out to validate the capability of the fine algorithm in tracing the large magnitude change during alignment. It is shown that the repeated alignment precision is about 0·04° by the alignment experiment on a rocking vehicle, with alignment time of 180 s. The Laser Strapdown Inertial Navigation System (LINS) ground navigation experiment suggests that the algorithm proposed by this paper can be satisfied without the need of high precision SINS alignment.