Congratulations! From the Sewanhaka USPS Educational
Department. The boating safety course that
you just completed provided you a wealth of
information to make your boating safer and
more fun. But it is surely obvious to you that
this course just scratched the surface of
boating knowledge. What’s your next step?
As your instructors mentioned throughout
the course you just took, USPS offers a wide
spectrum of advanced and specialty courses
for members only. If you choose to become a
member of USPS, these outstanding
educational opportunities all become
available to you.
USPS currently offers 11 courses for its
members. Most run 10 to 12 weeks, one
evening per week – a few are shorter, a few
are longer. All are now being restructured
into modules of about 6 weeks each to give
squadrons and members maximum
scheduling flexibility. Only a few of the
advanced topics have any prerequisite
courses. All of the rest will be available to
you as soon as you join USPS and whenever
they are offered by your local squadron or
another squadron nearby.
The first five courses described below
comprise a series called “Advanced Grades.”
They should be taken in the order listed. The
next six are termed “Elective Courses” and
may be taken in any order.
SEAMANSHIP covers basic knowledge every
prudent skipper wants even before leaving
port – practical marlinspike, hull design and
performance, boat care, skipper’s
responsibilities, boating under normal and
abnormal conditions, emergencies afloat, and
PILOTING introduces you to the critical
study of marine charts, aids to navigation,
adjustment and use of the mariner’s
compass, dead reckoning, planning and
plotting courses, and taking bearings to
determine your on-the-water position.
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,
loran C, and GPS, and optimize course
JUNIOR NAVIGATION begins your study of
offshore navigation. Learn to use integrated
electronic positioning systems, sight taking
on celestial bodies with a mariner’s sextant,
and positioning & passage planning with
special open-ocean charts.
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
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, &
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
INSTRUCTOR DEVELOPMENT provides you
with practical techniques and training in
making effective presentations – whether as a
teacher, meeting chair, public speaker, or
MARINE ELECTRONICS offers you essential
information about boat electrical and
electronic systems in terms understandable
by non-engineers and non-technicians. Learn
about proper wiring and power systems,
corrosion and electrolysis, and electronic
navigation and safety systems.
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.
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.
USPS LEARNING GUIDES are self-study
handbooks on specialized boating-related
subjects of interest to amateur skippers and
navigators. Topics range from GPS to Knots,
Bends & Hitches, from Amateur Radio to
Oceanography, from Boat Design &
Construction to Predicted Log Contests.
USPS currently has over 20 different Learning
Guides. Check the Signal for the latest course offerings.
Now it’s up to you. Are you ready to expand
your boating knowledge and skills?