Member Courses

The first five courses described below comprise a series called “Advanced Grades.” They should be taken in the order listed. The remainder are “Elective Courses” and may be taken in any order.

Course list updated December 2017. Dates subject to change based on enrollment and instructor availability.

Advanced Grades

Building on the basics of recreational boating presented in the public boating courses, Seamanship adds foundational information for continuing boater education. The course contents should facilitate knowledge development for increased safe operation of recreational boats and provide the basis for completion of USCG licensing examination. Emphasis within the course has been placed on higher level boating skills, rules of the road, and marlinspike.

Space is limited. Register today.

Piloting is the first course in the sequence of USPS courses on navigation, covering the basics of coastal and inland navigation. This course focuses on navigation as it is done on recreational boats today and embraces GPS as a primary navigation tool while covering enough of traditional techniques so the student will be able to find his/her way even if their GPS fails. Additional member cost (shared materials): $15.
Advanced Piloting builds on the knowledge gained in Piloting to teach you how to navigate in coastal waters, predict tides and tidal currents, navigate safely with radar, and GPS, and optimize course planning. Register online.  
Junior Navigation is the first in a two-part program of study in offshore navigation, followed by the Navigation course. It is designed as a practical “how to” course. Subject matter includes:

  • Precise time determination
  • Use of the Nautical Almanac
  • Taking sextant sights of the sun
  • Reducing sights to establish lines of position
  • Special charts and plotting sheets for offshore navigation
  • Offshore navigational routines for recreational craft

Additional student cost (shared materials): $25

Navigation further develops your understanding of celestial navigation theory and your skills in sight taking and reduction. Also learn to navigate with only minimal survival gear in the event of a disabling boat accident.
Additional member cost (shared materials): $25

Electives (may be taken in any order)

Weather teaches you the basic structure and characteristics of our atmosphere, how to interpret weather maps and reports, and how to make your own skilled observations – all keyed to helping you predict and anticipate weather developments affecting your boating. Additional member cost (shared materials): $15. Register online
Cruise Planning helps you prepare for voyaging afloat – whether just week-ending or multi-month cruising. Learn essentials about equipping and provisioning your boat, crew selection, financing your trip, entering and clearing foreign ports, emergencies afloat, & boat security. Register online.
A new series of courses for Marine Electronics consists of three standalone courses: Electrical Systems, Communications Systems, and Navigation Systems.

Marine Electrical Systems – (TBA) Member - $55; Non-Member - $95

This course starts with an explanation of what electricity is, followed by discussions on boat electrical wiring, DC and AC electrical systems, galvanic and stray current corrosion, lightning protection, and ends with troubleshooting of boat electrical problems. It also includes detailed instructions on how to use a multimeter, how to solder and crimp electrical wiring circuits, and how to read electrical wiring diagrams.

Register online.

Marine Communications Systems – Member - $55; Non-Member - $95

This course is an in-depth review of those systems available to the recreational boater, including radio history, spectrum definitions, definitions of radio circuits, discussions of the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS), FCC Rules and regulations, radiotelephone operating procedures (both voice and digital messaging), High Seas radio (MF/HF and satellite communications), Family Radio Service transceivers and troubleshooting of radio installations.

Electronic Navigation Systems –Member - $70; Non-Member - $110

This course consists of discussions about electronic navigation instruments (depth sounders, radar, GPS, and LORAN), display systems including chart plotters and personal computers and the interfacing of these systems (bridge integration).

The Boat Operator’s Certification (BOC) Program certifies USPS members at various levels of recreational boating proficiency. We expect that these certifications will be recognized across the boating community, both domestically and internationally.

Certification at each level requires successful completion of all prescribed elements including several USPS courses, several USPS seminars and skill demonstrations on the water and ashore which must be signed-off by a USPS trained certifier.

USPS currently has two levels of Boat Operator Certification:
1. Inland Navigator (IN): Inland & protected waters, fair weather & daylight, < 23’ outboard power boat.
2. Coastal Navigator (CN): Local coastal water < 20nm offshore, fair weather & daylight, <39’ sail or power boat with compass & GPS. You must complete IN before participation in CN.

For detailed requirements, contact the SPSPS Squadron Education Officer using the form on this page.

Engine Maintenance won’t make you an expert mechanic, but it will enable you to trouble-shoot most common engine problems and jury-rig many repairs. Covers outboard motors, inboard gas and diesel engines, power trains, and related mechanical systems.
Instructor Development provides you with practical techniques and training in making effective presentations – whether as a teacher, meeting chair, public speaker, or everyday conversationalist.

Register online

This program is designed for members who are, or intend to be, bridge officers and committee chairs and is intended to help them in managing and leading the squadron within the guidelines set forth by national. It includes planning for the squadron, organizing resources to the squadron’s best advantage, and communication and motivation techniques.
This program is the USPS “bible” and contains detailed guidelines and information for all members concerning the history, organization, policies, procedures etc. employed within USPS.
Sail guides you through the special terminology and dynamics of sailing, hulls and rigging, wind and water forces and balance, points of sail, sail handling, and navigation rules unique to sailing.

Register online.

This four-hour training session covers the federal safety equipment requirements for the award of the Vessel Safety Check (VSC) decal, the additional equipment recommended to be carried aboard recreational boats, and the requirements for qualification as a Vessel Safety Examiner (VSE). Upon completion of the session and a short examination, you will be qualified as a VSE.

Request additional information