Moderated Discussion Areas
  ContinuousWave: The Whaler GAM or General Area
  USPS Basic Boating Course

Post New Topic  Post Reply
search | FAQ | profile | register | author help

Author Topic:   USPS Basic Boating Course
compounder posted 02-27-2001 10:00 PM ET (US)   Profile for compounder   Send Email to compounder  
I just finished the Power Squadron Basic Boating course. It may have been the best $35 I ever spent!

After over 40 years of boating I thought I knew it all so I put off taking the course for a long, long time. Well, you guessed it....I didn't know it all!

Just learning how to really READ a nautical chart and how to plot a course from point to point was worth taking the course.

I heartily recommend this or a similar course for every boater and would require it of any young or beginning boater under my auspices.


stagalv posted 02-27-2001 10:22 PM ET (US)     Profile for stagalv  Send Email to stagalv     
Good note Joe. Folks should look into the Power Squadron and the Coast Guard Aux courses available. They contain good material and most insurance companies offer a discount for taking such courses. Rex
Dick posted 02-27-2001 10:33 PM ET (US)     Profile for Dick  Send Email to Dick     
Back in the mid 60s when I lived in DC it was offered on TV. It has to rate as the best TV series I have ever seen. Well worth the time however you can get it. I still have the copy of Chapmans I had to buy for the course.
bdb posted 02-28-2001 09:21 AM ET (US)     Profile for bdb  Send Email to bdb     
You guys are right on! But let me add that even if you have taken the course, and it's been a few years, take it again. It's amazing what we "know-it-alls" learn from it, and it's also amazing what we forget. I took the course circa 1970, and took it again about '85. Main reason for taking it the 2nd time was to help the winter go by. But those devils fooled me and taught me some stuff again. I think the courses are "regionilzed" somewhat too. My boating experience had been inland and Great lakes. The geographic area I took the courses in had rivers to boat in. The courses spent a lot of time on the special concerns of river boating, and merely touched on some areas of little need to us, i.e. tide. Take it and thank the folks who teach it (ditto for Hunters Safety). Harpoon Harry
triblet posted 02-28-2001 09:53 AM ET (US)     Profile for triblet  Send Email to triblet     
The courses can even be "microregionalized".
I took the USCGA course in Palo Alto for
from a flotilla that had a strong Bay &
Delta slant. I wish I could have taken it
in Monterey where I expect it would have had
an offshore slant.

Biggest prioblem with these classes is
finding them. At least here, they do a
REALLY lousy job of advertising them. No
web site. Don't return phone calls and
e-mails. Ditto for getting a CME.


CDN posted 02-28-2001 10:43 AM ET (US)     Profile for CDN  Send Email to CDN     
For the US Power Squadron, go to:

I'm taking the Basic Boating class right now.
Schedule for the whole country is online.

Macman posted 02-28-2001 12:47 PM ET (US)     Profile for Macman  Send Email to Macman     
I took this course 10 years ago before venturing out for the first time in my boat. It really opened my eyes to just how unsafe so many boaters are. I'm probably due for a tune up myself!
Dan posted 02-28-2001 03:15 PM ET (US)     Profile for Dan  Send Email to Dan     
I'm taking the Power Squadron Basic Boating Course too. It's a good deal for the money. I'll probably take the Piloting class and maybe a few others from Power Squadron afterwards. My only complaint is that the teacher isn't very organized -- a 1.5 hr class could be condensed into 30 minutes. But each region has its own ways and different teachers so I'm sure everyone's experience will be different. Weird thing about Power Squadron is that they want members to take an oath and stuff. Still trying to figure out what that's about. Anyway, I'm learning how to tie lots of knots and killing time till spring.
whalernut posted 02-28-2001 04:30 PM ET (US)     Profile for whalernut  Send Email to whalernut     
Does anyone know if the Certificate from that class will become mandatory in the US and Canada any time soon, I have heard these rumers? Regards-Jack Graner.
blackdog posted 02-28-2001 04:32 PM ET (US)     Profile for blackdog  Send Email to blackdog     
I found courses through coast guard aux site

I am taking Boating Skills and Seamanship for 10 weeks starting this Thursday.


B Bear posted 02-28-2001 04:48 PM ET (US)     Profile for B Bear  Send Email to B Bear     
As of this moment the only people required to have a certificate are those (I not exactly sure, but close) born after 1976 to operate a motor vessel in US waters, inland and offshore. Everyone else is grandfathered.
I took this course four years ago. I mailed in a copy of my certificate to the insurance compny and got a 10% discount.
B Bear posted 02-28-2001 05:33 PM ET (US)     Profile for B Bear  Send Email to B Bear     
Oppps wrong again.....
Maybe I should take the course again. The individual State is the body to determine if the course and certificate is mandatory. For the State of Maryland where I am, anyone born after June 1972 must have a certificate to operate a motor vessel. I found a listing of all the states and their requiremnets, or lack of, through the BoatUS web site. They have an online course there also.
triblet posted 02-28-2001 05:37 PM ET (US)     Profile for triblet  Send Email to triblet     
Alas, B Bear, I don't think that's true.

In California, the house and assembly passed
a similar bill last year, but the &*$%^!!
governor vetoed it. It required passing a
test, did not require a class (though that
would be one way of passing the test). The
age would have gone up faster than time
passed, so before long everyone would have
to have a certificate. That would be good.
At present, to operate a boat in California,
all you need is the keys (or a hot wire).

Blackdog, if you follow that link to northern
california courses, it goes to a place
holder website. That's new. It used to go
to a REALLY ancient list.


gf posted 02-28-2001 09:13 PM ET (US)     Profile for gf  Send Email to gf     

The State of New Hampshire now has a requirement that all boat operators need to have passed a Coast Guard Auxiliary or Power Squadron boating safety class.

I am a member of the Merrimac River Power Squadron here in northern Mass. Our chapter isn't as structured or as active as some, but the publications are good and you have access to some tremendous discounts and other resources.

whalernut posted 02-28-2001 09:34 PM ET (US)     Profile for whalernut  Send Email to whalernut     
I think I`ll take the course and get the certificate. It should be fun and very informative. Thanks to all. Regards-Jack Graner.
Hoop posted 02-28-2001 10:01 PM ET (US)     Profile for Hoop  Send Email to Hoop     
I took the USPS course last year. So informative I joined! Now I'm taking an advanced pilotting class, much more challenging and lots more fun! Hoop, San Jose
CDN posted 02-28-2001 10:03 PM ET (US)     Profile for CDN  Send Email to CDN     
For Ohio, anyone born after 1/1/1982 must have a certificate. The online BoatUS class/test/certificate ia an online alternative for Ohio. I like to ask questions, so a real class like the USPS class is better for me. Last week had an officer from the Ohio Div. of Watercraft explaining both federal and state laws. The class in Ohio includes 10 questions on the Ohio laws for the test at the end.
blackdog posted 03-02-2001 01:31 PM ET (US)     Profile for blackdog  Send Email to blackdog     
Sorry about the link. I guess it is only as good as the Flotilla that maintains them..

I started my class last night. I hope the pace picks up as my head was bouncing off the desk. I am sure the course will get more interesting. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz


compounder posted 03-03-2001 01:59 PM ET (US)     Profile for compounder  Send Email to compounder     
Don't give up too soon Blackdog! My course started out really slow and basic also, but you have to realize there are probably some raw rookies in your class whose needs have to be addressed. We had a different instructor each night. They were just guys from the squadron and some of them had little idea of how to make the material interesting and the presentation entertaining. However, two of the instructors were real jewels. One in particular who presented the navigation and piloting segments provided a wealth of information you might never find in the book. He was an Englishman who retired to this area after circumnavigating the globe in a 40ft sailboat. The practical tips he provided were priceless and difficult to obtain elsewhere.


jimh posted 03-04-2001 09:48 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
The Power Squadron public boating class is just the start. If you join a squadron you will find many more classes available.

About 15 years ago I joined the local squadron. It is a very active group and they pride themselves on offering the full catalogue of classes every year.

Four years later I had taken:

--Advanced Piloting
--Navigation Pt. 1
--Navigation Pt. 2

This was a great experience. The classes covered everything from simple DR plots to celestial navigation.

Of course, these days with DGPS providing you with 10-foot accuracy, the classes are more of an academic pursuit than a practical necessity, but the learning experience is very good. I would not feel nearly as comfortable on open water had I not taken all these classes.


blackdog posted 05-04-2001 05:09 PM ET (US)     Profile for blackdog  Send Email to blackdog     
I finished the class last night with the final exam, I passed :)
I have to say the pace was a little slow for me even thought I am novice but I did gain some great information. Well worth the time, plus I heard some good sea stories much like on this site. I think I would like to take the power squadron course to see the difference.


Makonut posted 05-04-2001 09:34 PM ET (US)     Profile for Makonut  Send Email to Makonut     
congrats Blackdog...Now if you really want to expand the knowledge base, join the flotilla. Start puting in duty time. In calif we did search and rescue missions as well as respond to maydays. There are tests and courses for each chapter of the CGAUX manual..Before you know it, You'll be an admiral.

"If it ain't a bowline or a hitch, it ain't a knot"


Post New Topic  Post Reply
Hop to:

Contact Us | RETURN to ContinuousWave Top Page

Powered by: Ultimate Bulletin Board, Freeware Version 2000
Purchase our Licensed Version- which adds many more features!
© Infopop Corporation (formerly Madrona Park, Inc.), 1998 - 2000.