Squadron Courses




  1.      America's Boating Course

Advanced Grades

  1. Seamanship

  2. Piloting

  3. Advanced Piloting

  4. Junior Navigation

  5. Navigation

Elective Courses and Programs

  1. Cruise Planning

  2. Engine Maintenance

  3. Instructor Development

  4. Marine Electronics

  5. Sail

  6. Weather

  7. Supplemental Programs

  8. Seminars



1.  America's Boating Course


 The America’s Boating Course is USPS’ primary tool to teach the fundamentals of safe boating to the general public. This course is approved by NASBLA and is recognized by most states that require boating education before operating a watercraft.

 The America’s Boating Course is offered in three formats: in classroom; via internet; and home study. The home study format requires that the student take a proctored examination in order to receive certification.

Although successful completion of the public boating course is no longer a requirement for active USPS membership, family members and other affiliates must take this course as a prerequisite for any advanced grade courses.

Subjects covered include:

• Boat handling                                            • Charts

• Boating regulations                                   • Navigational rules

• Lines and knots                                         • Adverse conditions

• Emergencies                                              • Weather

• Boat types & terminology                         • Aids to navigation

• Regional boating                                      • Piloting techniques

• Engine trouble shooting                            • Fundamentals of sailing

• Marine radio and telephone usage            • Trailer boating


2.  Seamanship

The Seamanship course builds on the fundamentals that were presented in the America’s Boating Course.  An in depth study of boating skills, rules of the road, etc., is an important foundation for other advanced grade courses. Subjects covered include:

·        Basic marlinespike seamanship

·        Hull design

·        Navigation rules

·        Operation under normal and adverse conditions

·        Responsibilities of the skipper

·        On board emergencies

·        Basic first aid

·        Common courtesies on the water

·        Boat care

·        Marine Environment

·        Nautical customs and flag etiquette

USPS is proud to present this course in an online format through a partnership with the University of West Florida (UWF), as an alternative method of boating education.


3.  Piloting

The Piloting course introduces the student to inland and coastal navigation. The rudiments of piloting – such as keeping track of a boat's movements, determining one's position at any time, and plotting courses to a planned destination – are taught. Subjects covered include:

·        Charts and their use

·        Aids to navigation

·        The mariner's compass

·        Variation and deviation of the compass

·        Plotting and steering courses

·        Dead reckoning

·        Plotting and labeling charts

·        Introduction to practical GPS navigation


4.  Advanced Piloting


This course builds upon the Piloting course by introducing advanced techniques to determine position and incorporate modern electronic navigation systems. Subjects covered include:

·        Electronic navigation tools

·        Advanced positioning techniques

·        Tides and currents and their effect on piloting

·        Electronic navigation using  Radar, GPS, etc.


5.  Junior Navigation

The Junior Navigation course is the first of a two-course program that focuses on offshore navigation. In this course the student will learn traditional celestial navigational skills. These techniques will enable them to verify their GPS position and serve as a back up should their electronics fail. Subjects covered include:

·        Precise time determination

·        Use of the nautical almanac

·        Taking sextant sun sights

·        Reduction of sights to establish lines of position

·        Use of special charts and plotting sheets for

          offshore navigation

·        Integration of electronic tools

·        Develop offshore navigational routines for offshore passage



Navigation is USPS’ capstone course.  This second course of the offshore navigation program introduces taking sights on other celestial bodies and presents additional methods to reduce sights and plotting. A special section using digital charting software allows the student to have hands on experience to voyage planning. Subjects covered include:

·        Navigational astronomy

·        Expanded use of the nautical almanac

·        Taking sextant sights on various celestial bodies

·        Reducing sights to establish lines of position

·        Sight reduction and plotting using NASR method

·        Emergency navigation methods

·        Offshore voyage planning using digital chart tool


Elective Courses and Programs


7.  Cruise Planning

This course is designed for both power boaters and sailors who are interested in planning for a weekend cruise or longer. Subjects covered include:

·        Planning a voyage

·        Financing a voyage

·        Managing commitments back home

·        How to equip a cruising boat

·        Crew selection

·        Provisioning

·        Voyage management

·        Entering and clearing foreign ports

·        Emergencies afloat

·        Security measures



8.  Engine Maintenance

The Engine Maintenance course presents the principle theories of marine gasoline and diesel engines. In addition, the course outlines how to diagnose problems and how to approach general repairs which a boat owner can perform. Finally, you will be able to share any gathered information with your mechanic so the right repairs get performed. Subjects covered include:

·        Cooling systems

·        Electrical systems

·        Fuel systems

·        Lubricating systems

·        Power train components

·        Steering systems

·        Engine controls



9.  Instructor Development

Unlike other USPS courses, this one is not designed to enhance boating skills.  Rather it deals with developing effective communication skills for speakers and teachers - a quality that benefits the individual in all walks of life. It offers practical instruction in:

·        Preparation of teaching assignments

·        Preparing for meeting presentations

·        Effective teaching techniques

·        Conducting efficient meetings

·        Selection and use of multi-media aids


10.  Marine Electronics

The Marine Electronic course teaches essential knowledge about a boat's electrical and electronic systems. Subjects covered include:

·        Proper wiring

·        Grounding

·        Corrosion and electrolysis control

·        Batteries and their maintenance

·        Depth finders

·        Marine radiotelephones

·        Radar

·        Loran, GPS, and other electronic positioning systems


11.  Sail

The Sail course provides a thorough study of the terminology and dynamics of sailing. Subjects covered include:

·        Types of hulls and rigs

·        Running and standing rigging and their adjustment

·        Hull and water forces caused by wind and waves

·        The theory of sailing

·        Sail handling

·        Sailing under various wind conditions

·        Navigation rules unique to sailing vessels


12.  Weather

The Weather course is designed to teach a student how to make weather observations and predictions for more enjoyable boating. Topics include:

·        Awareness of weather phenomena

·        How to read a weather map and the sky

·        How to understand and anticipate weather developments

·        Structure and characteristics of the atmosphere

·        Factors considered in weather forecasting

·        Sources and use of weather reports and forecasts

·        Instrument and visual observations the skipper can make


13.  Supplemental Programs

Supplemental educational programs have been developed to provide in-depth information in many boating-related fields. Subjects have been selected in areas about which members have expressed interest. These presently include:

·        Marine Amateur Radio

·        Boat Insurance

·        GMDSS and marine radio

·        Knots, Bends, and Hitches

·        Knot Tying: The Basic knots

·        Compass Adjusting

·        Global Positioning System

·        How to Fly Flags

·        Introduction to Navigational Astronomy

·        Introduction to Sailing

·        Plotting and Labeling Standards

·        Predicted Log Guide

·        Water Sports

·        Sight Reduction Methods

·        USPS Nautical Glossary


 14.  Seminars

USPS University has created short seminar series of specific topics that can be addressed within a two-hour format; student materials include valuable take-home guides. Each seminar provides credits toward the Boat Operator Certification program, and credit toward elective courses. These seminars are open to the public and members.

Topics include but are not limited to:

Boat Handling


Hurricanes and Boats

Marine Radar

Using GPS

Using VHF/DSC Marine Radio



Copyright � 2004-2016 CISPS        All rights reserved
Designed by Bob Luciano Problems with the site? Click here to email webmaster

Legal mumbo-jumbo links to keep unsavory folks from stealing intellectual property, making bizarre claims, etc.... ;-)

USPS Trademark Reference, USPS Disclaimer Statement, and the USPS Privacy Statement.