USPS Compass


You're in command - Boating is fun...we'll show you how

Catalog of Course Descriptions


America's Boating Course

America's Boating Course (ABC)

America's Boating Course (ABC) if you are interested in an exciting, in-depth boating safety course, check out America's Boating Course. Many boat insurance companies will offer discounts on boating insurance to boaters who successfully complete America's Boating Course. And, this beginner boating class will give you the knowledge needed to obtain a boat license or safety certification in many states. This boat safety course is fun and very thorough. The course content has been developed conjunction with state boating safety agencies responsible for boater education, is approved by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA), and is recognized by the U.S. Coast Guard. Read more …

Advanced Grade Certificate Classes


Seamanship (S)

Building on the basics taught in the public boating course, Seamanship is the recommended first course for new members, both power boaters and sailors. Students learn practical marlinespike, navigation rules, hull design and performance, responsibilities of the skipper, boat care, operating a boat under normal and abnormal conditions, what to do in various emergencies and weather conditions, nautical customs and common courtesy on the water. This course provides a needed introduction to the USPS Educational Program and a strong foundation for members going on to other Advanced Grades courses and/or Cruise Planning or Sail. Read more …



Piloting (P)

Piloting is the first of the navigational classes focusing on techniques for piloting a boat in coastal and inland conditions. The course emphasizes planning and checking along with the use of GPS for determining position, and introduces digital charting along with traditional charting, compass and dead reckoning skills. Plotting, labeling, use of the compass, aids to navigation and a host of related topics are included in this all-new approach to coastal and inland piloting. Read more …


Advanced Piloting

Advanced Piloting (AP)

Advanced Piloting builds on the knowledge gained in Piloting to teach how to navigate safely in coastal waters -- predict tides and tidal currents and their impact on boat position, advanced positioning techniques, and the use of electronic navigation systems for positioning and course planning You must be a USPS member and have taken Basic Boating to sign up. Read more …


Junior Navigation

Junior Navigation (JN)

Junior Navigator begins the study of celestial and offshore (open-ocean) navigation, integrated electronic positioning systems, sight taking with a mariner's sextant on the sun, moon, planets, & stars and how to reduce sights using the nautical almanac to determine position. Passage planning with Pilot (special open-ocean) Charts, Personal Computers, Great Circle routing and Wind & Current corrections all contribute to the students understanding of the Offshore Navigators duties and routines to safely conduct a voyage. Read more …



Navigation (N)

Navigation is the highest level certificate course offered by USPS. Use of Navigation software is taught. Students get a copy of both "The Cap'n" (developed by Maptech) and Virtual Passage Planner 2 (Pilot Chart navigation). Navigation also expands the celestial skills learned in Junior Navigation and teaches emergency navigation techniques. Read more …

Elective Courses

Engine Maintenance

Engine Maintenance

The new USPS Engine Maintenance 2007 Engine Maintenance stresses the diagnosis of modern systems, while also teaching the basics of engine layout and operation. Gasoline inboards, outboards, and diesel engines are taught in a way that reinforces the common aspects of how engines work. This new course is complete in one book with one exam. Modern engines offer high reliability and good performance through the use of computerized systems for fuel deliveryand engine timing. Most of these systems are black boxes that can no longer be serviced by weekend mechanics with ordinary tools. The EM course covers those repairs that do-it-yourselfers can still perform, teaches how to diagnose problems that might be beyond your ability to fix, and how to share information with your mechanic so the right repairs get performed. Our Squadron places emphasis on fuel storage and cleanliness issues for both diesel and ethanol-blended gasoline. The new Engine Maintenance 2007 also covers basic mechanical systems such as drive systems (propellers), steering systems, and engine controls. Read more …


Marine Electronics

Marine Electrical Systems

Part one of the new 3 Marine Electronics part USPS Marine Electronics Course, Marine Electrical Systems covers the practice of wiring your boat, including boat electrical wiring practices and diagrams, direct and alternating current power, galvanic and stray current corrosion, and lightning protection. Students will make actual high quality connections, build simple circuits as found in our boats, discuss in detail problems involved in adding batteries and bilge pumps and are invited to bring their electrical problems in for the class to discuss. Real life troubleshooting is emphasized throughout, so students should feel comfortable performing even tricky wiring tasks after passing this course. Read more …


Marine Electronics

Marine Communications Systems

Part two of the new 3 Marine Electronics part USPS Marine Electronics Course, Marine Communications Systems covers the practice of wiring your boat, Marine Communications Systems is an in-depth, nine chapter review of those systems available to the recreational boater, or to those with whom he/she shares the water. This course will help the boater choose the best communications method for his/her situation. One chapter is devoted to the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) and another to FCC Rules and regulations to set the stage for instruction of radiotelephone operating procedures (both voice and digital messaging are covered). The remaining chapters cover 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. Read more …


Amateur Radio

Amateur Radio

The North River Technician ARRL and General License Amateur Radio courses have eight sessions and cover the material required to obtain an General Class amateur radio license. The FCC has recently removed the Morse Code requirement for this license so that people who pass the exam can operate on the worldwide amateur bands. The Course uses the ARRL course manuals. These courses are not official USPS courses but are ARRL courses with which USPS has a partnership agreement. Read more …



SAIL will cover elements of sailing and sailboats for both the novice and experienced sailor who wishes to understand "why things work". We will cover various hull design theories, sail plan differences and how to trim sails for maximum effectiveness.

We are planning a mid-April trip to a sailboat oriented boatyard to see the differences in the various hull forms and underwater configurations. This will be very useful to someone planning a purchase in the future.Read more…





Awareness of weather phenomena, how to read the weather map and the sky, and understand and anticipate weather developments for more pleasurable boating are the objectives of this course. Subjects studied include: characteristics and structure of the atmosphere, what weather is and its basic causes, normal development and movement of weather over the earth, and the factors considered in weather forecasting. Observations that the skipper can make afloat include both instrumental and visual: cloud sequences and the weather they predict air masses, fronts, storms, and fog and the use of radio and television weather broadcasts. Throughout the course the student is encouraged to make observations and predictions in order to gain experience in applying the principles taught and develop greater insight into weather phenomena. Read more …



Boating Class

America's Boating Course: One of the best ways to have a fun boating experience is to "know before you go". If you are a new boater or an experienced boater in need of a refresher course, consider taking a boating course.

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USPS Activities - Boating is fun...we'll show you how




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