Basic Boating Course

abc250Learn the fundamentals of safe boat handling and operation, and basic piloting in one comprehensive classroom course. This edition is all new with a completely updated manual, outstanding graphics, and two bonus CDs. The course manual is divided into five chapters. The first four cover the required topics that all recreational boaters must know. In addition to the rules of the road, the four chapters cover the various types of boats, required safety equipment, navigation aids, lights and sounds, anchoring, communications afloat, adverse conditions, water sports safety, trailering, personal water craft safety, and knots and lines. The fifth chapter provides an introduction to digital charts and GPS waypoint navigation, a key skill for boating on larger lakes and rivers and coastal waters. This optional fifth chapter provides the background for more advanced piloting courses.

America’s Boating Course is meant to be of interest to the whole family, and we encourage your family to attend as a group.

This course meets state specific and National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) requirements for certification. And completion of the course is accepted by most insurance companies. Since 1914, individual squadrons of USPS have provided courses as a service to the boating public to over 3 million boaters.

You will learn the basics of what you need to safely and comfortably go on the water with your boat. This newly revised comprehensive course includes lessons on seamanship, boat handling, boat types, rules of the road, navigation aids, regulations, adverse conditions, marine VHF radio, knots, trailering and introductory piloting. The course includes an extensive course book, training charts, and basic navigation tools.

Many of today?s recreational boaters utilize GPS receivers and perform electronic, waypoint navigation. Waypoint navigation using a handheld GPS is somewhat different from traditional dead reckoning. With a GPS you have good information about where you are in terms of latitude and longitude, but the GPS doesn’t tell you what is around you or beneath your boat. Using waypoints, you have precise information about the bearing and distance from your current location to the waypoints, but the GPS doesn’t know what may be in the way. The use of charts is explained in this course as the essential step to provide key information required for a safe passage.

While the content of this student manual serves as the basis for this course, it will also serve as a reference book in basic boating long after the course work is completed. The course meets the educational standards of the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators and features a proctored examination as required by many states and insurance companies. The course will provide instruction and examination for laws and regulations of state and local authorities in the area where the course is taught.

Subjects covered include:

  • Introduction to Boating: types of power boats; sailboats; outboards; paddle boats; houseboats; different uses of boats; various power boating engines; jet drives; family boating basics.
  • Boating Law: boat registration; boating regulation; hull identification number; required boat safety equipment; operating safely and reporting accidents; protecting the marine environment; Federal boat law; state boating laws; personal watercraft requirements.
  • Boat Safety Equipment: personal flotation devices (“life jackets”); fire extinguishers; sound-producing devices; visual-distress signals; dock lines and rope; first aid kit; anchors and anchor lines; other boating safety equipment.
  • Safe Boating: bow riding; alcohol and drug abuse; entering, loading, and trimming a boat; fueling portable and permanent tanks; steering with a tiller and a wheel; docking, undocking and mooring; knots; filing a float plan; checking equipment, fuel, weather and tides; using charts; choosing and using an anchor; safe PWC handling; general water safety.
  • Navigation: the U.S. Aids to Navigation system; types of buoys and beacons; navigation rules (sometimes referred to as right-of-way rules); avoiding collisions; sound signals; PWC “tunnel vision.”
  • Boating Problems: hypothermia; boating accidents and rescues; man overboard recovery; capsizing; running aground; river hazards; strainers: emergency radio calls; engine problems; equipment failures; carbon monoxide (CO); other boating and PWC problems.
  • Trailering, Storing and Protecting Your Boat: types of trailers; trailer brakes, lights, hitches, tires, and bearings; loading, balancing, and towing (and backing) a trailer; boat launching and retrieving; boat storage and theft protection; launching, retrieving and storing a PWC.
  • Hunting and Fishing, Water-skiing and River Boating: carrying hunting gear and weapons in a boat; fishing from a boat; water-skiing safety guidelines and hand signals; water-skiing with a PWC; navigating rivers, and other boating tips.