Confidence at Sea: Take a Boating Class

Now that winter is upon us, southern boaters are deep into boating pleasure while their northern friends are
wondering how to get their boating-related “fixes” while boats sit high and dry. For them there are only so many
boat shows to which to go, and so many hours a week to spend browsing marine supply stores!
In response to several tragic accidents that resulted in death, injury, and property damage during the 2012
season, potential legislation requiring mandatory boater education and the use of life jackets is being reviewed by
the US Congress and Senate, various state legislatures, along with local governmental authorities.  As a result,
recreational boaters have a new reason to stay in touch with boating
The legislation that is being considered mandates that all boaters take boating safety courses that meet the
standards set by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA). These include courses
taught by the United States Power Squadrons® (USPS®), the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary, the various
state and local approved organizations. In places that hold such requirements, your past completion of approved
boating safety class, you would satisfy the law. If not completed, the operation your boat could have a penalty that
included fines and even prison time. In any case, call your nearest Power Squadron for instruction.
The primary reason for furthering marine education should be to become a more competent (and thereby safer)
boater. Keep in mind that basic courses address boating safety fundamentals, but alone can’t teach us to become
better boaters.  That can only be done through a more extensive series of classes.  The good news is that these
beyond the basics classes exist and are readily available to you.  
I am, of course, plugging the USPS®, a non-profit recreational boating educational organization that has been
teaching boaters for a hundred years and that believes that boating is more fun if done competently and safely.
Additionally, there’s a wide array of two-hour topic-specific seminars available that will give boaters a good
foundation of essential skills. Simply go to and follow the links to USPS’ offerings in classroom, on-
line and certificate education. Choose the type of course and enter your zip code to find dates and locations in
your area. USPS charges only for the cost of materials. Currently, if you take USPS’ ABC class, you can get a 6-
month free individual membership with USPS.  
Take this opportunity to improve your skills in such activities as on-the-water navigation maintaining your boat,
planning a cruise, and using your electronics. As a bonus, you’ll be spending time with others (instructors and
students) who share your passion for boating. Who knows where that can lead?
As the Power Squadron volunteers remind us: Boating is fun… we’ll show you how! Go to