Education Contents:

  • Available Boating Courses
  • Course Descriptions

Safe Boating Courses Offered for Spring 2017

Members of United States Power Squadrons believe in teaching boating skills that lead to safety on the water. We promote safe boating through education, civic service, and having fun on the water. Our course is offered in conjunction with the Greenwich Marine Police.

The Squadron’s one-day Safe Boating Course qualifies you for the Connecticut Safe Boating Certificate. (A “jetski” certificate is also available.) The one-day course will be held twice: on Saturday, May 6, 2017 and Saturday, June 10, 2016. The course runs from 9am to 5 pm.

Boating Courses Available from the Consortium

Once again, the Greenwich Sail & Power Squadron has joined with its neighboring squadrons to form a Consortium that offers a wide range of Power Squadron courses. Be sure to take advantage of one of these interesting courses on boating.

2016-17 Consortium Course Schedule

For a description of the courses, click below:

Consortium Course Descriptions

To find out about the popular America’s Boating Course (ABC) and the Practical On-The-Water (POTW) course, click the following:

Schedule of Consortium ABC and POTW courses

For a description of the ABC and POTW courses, click below:

Description of the ABC and POTW courses

Seven coastal squadrons have coordinated their educational offerings. From West to East, they are: Westchester, Greenwich, Stamford, Darien, Norwalk, Saugatuck, and Penfield.

The Consortium has a goal of presenting ALL USPS courses to members of these squadrons. Courses are open to any member of any squadron.

[Updated 10/05/2016]

Course Descriptions:

The Squadron Boating Course (Basic Boating Certification)

The Squadron Boating Course

Learn the fundamentals of safe boat handling and operation, and basic piloting in one comprehensive classroom course.  As an additional feature, this course includes a digital chart training CD and instructional material on modern navigation techniques as well.

This course meets state specific and National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) requirements for certification.  And completion of the course is accepted by most insurance companies.  Since 1914, individual squadrons of USPS have provided courses as a service to the boating public to over 3 million boaters.

You will learn the basics of what you need to safely and comfortably go on the water with your boat.  This comprehensive course includes lessons on seamanship, boat handling, boat types, rules of the road, navigation aids, regulations, adverse conditions, marine VHF radio, knots, trailering and introductory piloting. The course includes an extensive course book, training charts, and basic navigation tools. As a special feature it also includes an introduction to digital charting on CD-ROM in an appendix, and an overview of electronic navigation. Maptech’s Chart Navigator Training CD includes software and digital charts to gain familiarity with this exciting new technology.

Many of today’s recreational boaters utilize GPS receivers and perform electronic, waypoint navigation. Waypoint navigation using a handheld GPS is somewhat different from traditional dead reckoning. With a GPS you have good information about where you are in terms of latitude and longitude, but the GPS doesn’t tell you what is around you or beneath your boat. Using waypoints, you have precise information about the bearing and distance from your current location to the waypoints, but the GPS doesn’t know what may be in the way. The use of charts is explained in this course as the essential step to provide key information required for a safe passage.

Learning to boat the right way is important and the increased knowledge will enhance your safety on the water and your enjoyment of the sport. The Squadron Boating Course usually can be completed in six or seven two-hour classroom sessions.  The course is meant to be of interest to the entire family; children are welcome.  We encourage your family to attend as a group.

For some, time is short and the introductory piloting and digital charting topics are less essential.  USPS offers a shorter format of The Squadron Boating Course which is useful to all boaters, from the fisherman in an outboard to the skipper of a cruiser or sailboat. It covers the same safe boat handling and operation material in just 8 hours.  Many classes are offered in a single day and this course satisfies the state certification requirements as well.

For those who have difficulty scheduling class time, USPS offers the new America’s Boating Course – 3rd Edtion. This course can be taken online or using your computer at home.  The content is presented in an interesting and engaging manner on your computer. You can complete the course with a proctored exam by contacting your local squadron.

Additional USPS Educational Materials are available to the public.  There are also advanced courses for our members.  View or print an Adobe PDF copy of our member courses.

America’s Boating Course

ABC3 Cover

If you are interested in an exciting, in-depth boating safety course, check out America’s Boating Course.

Many boat insurance companies will offer discounts on boating insurance to boaters who successfully complete America’s Boating Course. And, this beginner boating class will give you the knowledge needed to obtain a boat license or safety certification in many states.

America’s Boating Course can be taken in any of three ways: on the Internet, by studying a 244-page course manual, or with a CD. No matter how you like to learn, when you sign up you’ll receive a complete package that includes the course manual, the boating course CD, and a PIN number giving you access to the Internet course.

The course manual, CD and online course contain identical material, except for your state-specific boating law, which can only be accessed online. This boat safety course is fun and very thorough.

Boating Safety Topics

The boat and water safety course topics include:

  • Introduction to Boating: types of power boats; sailboats; outboards; paddle boats; houseboats; different uses of boats; various power boating engines; jet drives; family boating basics.
  • Boating Law: boat registration; boating regulation; hull identification number; required boat safety equipment; operating safely and reporting accidents; protecting the marine environment; Federal boat law; state boating laws; personal watercraft requirements.
  • Boat Safety Equipment: personal flotation devices (“life jackets”); fire extinguishers; sound-producing devices; visual-distress signals; dock lines and rope; first aid kit; anchors and anchor lines; other boating safety equipment.
  • Safe Boating: bow riding; alcohol and drug abuse; entering, loading, and trimming a boat; fueling portable and permanent tanks; steering with a tiller and a wheel; docking, undocking and mooring; knots; filing a float plan; checking equipment, fuel, weather and tides; using charts; choosing and using an anchor; safe PWC handling; general water safety.
  • Navigation: the U.S. Aids to Navigation system; types of buoys and beacons; navigation rules (sometimes referred to as right-of-way rules); avoiding collisions; sound signals; PWC “tunnel vision.”
  • Boating Problems: hypothermia; boating accidents and rescues; man overboard recovery; capsizing; running aground; river hazards; strainers: emergency radio calls; engine problems; equipment failures; carbon monoxide (CO); other boating and PWC problems.
  • Trailering, Storing and Protecting Your Boat: types of trailers; trailer brakes, lights, hitches, tires, and bearings; loading, balancing, and towing (and backing) a trailer; boat launching and retrieving; boat storage and theft protection; launching, retrieving and storing a PWC.
  • Hunting and Fishing, Water-skiing and River Boating: carrying hunting gear and weapons in a boat; fishing from a boat; water-skiing safety guidelines and hand signals; water-skiing with a PWC; navigating rivers, and other boating tips.

Information on USPS Courses


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