America's Boating Course
Since 1914 experienced boaters from local squadrons have presented introductory courses to more than 3 million people. Learning to boat well is important; the increased knowledge will enhance your safety on the water and your enjoyment of the sport.
Our classes qualify for the Washington Boater Education Card, sometimes referred to as a boating license, certificate or boaters permit. Insurance premium discounts are available from many insurers. The card may help you with boat rentals. The Washington requirement is being phased in depending on your age. It is now required for ages 12 to 59.
Classes are given in the Seattle area, and we tailor them to the Puget Sound, San Juan and Southern BC area.
Advanced Grade Courses
Building on the foundation of the introductory boat class, the usual approach is to take these three classes, in sequence, that cover the fundamentals of boat operation and navigation in our Northwest coastal waters:
Boat Handling covers basic deck seamanship, marlinspike (knots and ropes), anchoring and rafting, basic boat care and maintenance, and nautical and USPS customs and etiquette.
Marine Navigation is the first and most basic navigation course, covering chart reading, course plotting, and basic coastal or inland navigation, including basic GPS usage. This course goes into more detail than the charting information covered in the public courses.
Advanced Marine Navigation covers more advanced coastal navigation techniques, navigation in tides and currents, and more advanced GPS usage.
Offshore Navigation teaches the basics of offshore navigation, including basic celestial navigation using the sun and offshore course planning.
Celestial Navigation is the most advanced navigation course taught by USPS, covering more advanced celestial navigation techniques, emergency navigation, and additional sight reduction techniques.
These classes build one upon the other as represented by the S, P, AP, JN and N letters following people's names.
The Electives do not have any prerequisites or preferred order, although Seamanship is usually taken first.
Contact the Squadron Educational Officer with any questions you may have.
Elective Courses cover separate and independent topics and therefore may be taken in any order according to a person's interests and time, although the Seamanship course is recommended first.
Cruise Planning covers topics of interest for someone planning a cruise – whether for just a weekend or for a year – including preparation and planning, anchoring, security, chartering, and cruising outside the US.
Engine Maintenance covers the operating principles and basic care and maintenance of outboard and inboard engines, including diesels.
Instructor Development teaches effective communication skills for not only USPS instructors but everyone, covering various methods of presenting information to others, effective use of audiovisual aids (including PowerPoint), etc.
Marine Electrical Systems covers installation and maintenance of both boat electrical systems (AC and DC) and marine electronics (VHF radio, radar, GPS, etc).
Marine Communications Systems This course covers everything you need to know about on-board communications. It begins with a brief history of radio communications and an explanation of the various types of marine radios, focusing especially on the VHF/FM radio. Important radio operating procedures are included as well as Federal Communication Commission rules and licensing procedures, as are. If you are an offshore, deep water boater, options for long range communications are covered. A helpful troubleshooting and communication system maintenance chapter is included.
Electronic Navigation Systems This course goes deeper into electronic navigation systems than other courses. Topics and equipment covered include modern GPS chartplotters, the Automatic Identification System (AIS), up-to-date descriptions of electronics such as radar, depth sounders, sonars, autopilots, computers for navigation, smart phones and tablets for navigation, troubleshooting and maintaining your electronics, and so forth.) Newer devices such as ght vision aids also known as Forward Looking Infrared Systems are covered. In addition, a chapter on networking will demystify the connection of all these devices so boaters get the maximum enjoyment out of their boat’s electronic navigation systems.
Radar for Boaters Developed by Canadian Power and Sail Squadrons, this course is up to date for radar technologies available now and into the near future. The course covers the different types of radar, their capabilities and limitations, as well as their features and how they apply to student needs. It covers what you need to know about radar, from how and where to mount the antenna to how to interpret the displays, so you can use your radar for collision avoidance and for navigational purposes.
Sail covers everything from the basic elements of how a sailboat works to sail trim, rig tuning, and sailboat racing.
Weather covers weather systems, patterns and forecasting.