Catalog of All Courses
This course is being offered for free!
America's Boating Course provides you with basic boating knowledge to decide what type and size boat you need, what to do when meeting another boat in a crowded waterway, and how to recognize and handle hazards.
Many boat insurance companies will offer discounts on boating insurance to boaters who successfully complete America's Boating Course. This course also provides a sound basis for continuing your recreational boating education.
- Types of boats and their uses
- Boating laws – federal and state
- Safety equipment – required and recommended
- Finding your way
- Dealing with adverse conditions
- Trailering, knots and lines, and water sports
- Introduction to electronic navigation using paper charts and chartplotters
This is the place to learn the laws and rules for safe boating in Canada. Successful completion of the class awards a Pleasure Craft Operator Card (PCOC) that should always be aboard and accessible when traveling in Canadian waters.
- Minimum safety equipment requirements aboard your boat
- The Canadian Buoy system
- How to share waterways
- Review of all pertinent regulations
- Responses to emergency situations
Seamanship is the first of the Advanced Level courses and presents material applicable to both power and sail, covering such topics as the construction and functioning of a boat, the skipper’s responsibilities, preparing the boat for use, handling and maneuvering a vessel under various conditions in close quarters and on the open water, rules of the road, anchoring, emergencies, and marlinespike/basic knots. The Appendices include boating into the waters of Canada and Mexico.
Piloting is the second of the Advanced Level courses and is the first course in the sequence of USPS courses on navigation, covering the basics of coastal and inland navigation. It is required for the Boat Operator's Certificate at the Coastal Navigation level. It introduces OpenCap’n, Marine Navigation software.
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 GPS fails. The course includes many in-class exercises, developing the student’s skills through hands-on practice and learning.
- Charts & Their Interpretation
- Navigational Aids
- Plotting Courses and Determining Direction and Distance
- Using a Compass
- Converting between True and Magnetic
- Using GPS
- Preplanning Safe Courses
- Monitoring progress and determining position on the water
- Traditional Techniques such as Bearings and Dead Reckoning
This is the third of the Advanced Level courses.
- Electronic Navigation
- Digital Charts
- Collision Avoidance
- When Electronics Fail
- Piloting with Tides, Winds & Currents
This is the fourth of the Advanced Level courses and is the first of a two-part program of study in offshore (open coast) navigation. In Junior Navigation, the student will continue to use GPS as the primary position sensor however; the offshore environment poses many different elements for consideration by the Navigator. Ocean currents, wind, and sea state all affect a vessel's performance over the longer passages.
In the Junior Navigation course, the student will learn to use celestial objects such as the sun as reference points. The course begins with the study of celestial navigation, teaching the student to take sights on the sun with a marine sextant and derive a line of position from that observation.
- Precise time determination
- Use of the Nautical Almanac
- Taking sextant sights of the sun
- Reducing sights to establish lines of position
- Use of charts and plotting sheets for offshore navigation
- Offshore navigational routines for recreational craft
- Passage planning
This is the fifth and last of the Advanced Level courses.
- Overview of the celestial bodies in the sky
- Find local mean time of solar and lunar phenomena and convert to zone time
- Taking sights and finding observed altitude, local hour, angle and declination
- Sight Reduction and Plotting by Law of Cosines
- Sight Reduction and Plotting by the Nautical Almanac
- Sight Reduction Method Sight Planning
- Emergency Navigation
- Electronics and Software for Offshore Navigation
- Plan an offshore voyage using both electronic and celestial positioning
Students will need possession of a computer running Windows with the ability to download Navigation software.
- Cruise Preparation and Planning
- Boat & Needed Equipment
- Outside the United States
- Crew Selection & Provisions
- Voyage Managment & Navigation
- Weather & Emergencies
Electronic Navigation introduces GPS technology from the most basic receiver to chart plotter systems for navigation on board. Despite differences among the various manufacturers' offerings, a thorough discussion of various features is included.
Students should be familiar with basic charting concepts such as latitude, longitude, the compass, course plotting, and time/distance calculation, to get the most out of the course.
- Navigating by establishing waypoints and routes
- Running the planned courses
- Examining electronic charting software for the desktop computer
- Creating waypoints and routes on the desktop
- Downloading to the onboard unit.
- Special attention is paid to apps for tablets and smartphones that provide the electronic navigation function at the helm, for relatively little cost.
- Basic Engine Principles
- Spark Ignition & Diesel Engine Components & Routine Maintenance
- Inboard Engine Drive Systems
- Outboard Engines and Stern Drives
- Controls, Instruments, Alarms
- Emergency Repairs Afloat
This course is meant to prepare our members for classroom and meeting presentations. Our educational program is highly regarded in the recreational boating community. The class's emphasis is on enhancing presentational skills and is designed to demonstrate interactive teaching methods focused on adult learning.
This course is free to all USPS members!
Marine Communications Systems is an in-depth review of those systems available to the recreational boater. Radio history and spectrum definitions are presented along with definitions of radio circuits that the student should learn, to choose the best communications method for his/her situation. Chapters cover Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS), FCC Rules and regulations, operating procedures (both voice and digital messaging are covered), High Seas radio (MF/HF and satellite communications), and other systems such as Family Radio Service transceivers. There is also a chapter on troubleshooting of radio installations.
- Radio History and Frequency Spectrum
- Definitions of Radio Circuits
- Global Maritime Distress and Safety Systems (GMDSS)
- FCC Rules and Regulations
- High Seas Radio (MF / HF and Satellite Communications)
- Troubleshooting of Radio Systems
The Marine Electrical Systems course is presented in seven chapters that start 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.
The course includes detailed instructions on how to use a multimeter, how to solder and crimp electrical wiring circuits, and how to read electrical wiring diagrams. This course can be used as a reference guide for anyone interested in properly maintaining their boat electrical system.
- Properties of Electricity
- Boat Electrical Wiring Practices
- Direct Current Power
- Alternating Current Power
- Galvanic and Stray Current Corrosion
- Lightning Protection
The Sail course was created to serve the needs of novice and experienced sailors, as well as non-sailors, for basic skills and knowledge.
Appendices provide an introduction to sailboat racing and sailing in Canadian waters.
- Basic Sailboat Designs and Nomenclature
- Safety and Sail Processes
- Physical Aspects of Sailing Forces and Techniques
- Sail Applications
- Handling of More Difficult Sailing Conditions
- Navigation Rules
- Introduction to Heavy Weather Sailing
The safety and comfort of those who venture out-on-the water have always been weather dependent. In this course students will become keener observers of the weather, but weather observations only have meaning in the context of the basic principles of meteorology — the science of the atmosphere. The course focuses on how weather systems form, behave, move, and interact with one another and reflects the availability of all sorts of weather reports and forecasts on the Internet.
- Effects of Heat and Cold
- Wind and Pressure
- Storms & Fronts
- Rain, Humidity, Fog
- Hydrological Cycles
- Thunderstorms and Tornados
- Tropical Weather
- Weather Data Analysis