October 2007

US SAILING, United States Power Squadrons To Share Resources

Move Will Help More Boaters Gain Access To Boating Education, Safety Training

US SAILING and the United States Power Squadrons (USPS) have signed a memorandum of understanding that outlines how the two organizations can share educational resources, including instructional programs and course materials.

The move allows each organization — each of which is a leader in the field of recreational boating education — to tap into the other organization's particular expertise; this type of collaboration is highly encouraged by the United States Coast Guard, in the hope of ensuring a higher level of competency and safety among boaters in the United States.

USPS will complement its classroom instruction with US SAILING courses in on-the-water powerboat skill instruction and demonstration. US SAILING will now be able to incorporate the extensive advanced navigational course materials developed by USPS into its training programs.  

A Great Partnership

"This is a great partnership that will extend the reach of both organizations,” said Rich Jepsen, CEO of OCSC Sailing (Berkeley, Calif.) who chairs US SAILING's Training Committee.

"Each organization has outreach to different audiences in the boating world, and sharing our resources will give more boaters access to the training and knowledge they need to make going out on the water more enjoyable — and ultimately more safe."

 According to USPS National Educational Officer Dick Kyle, “We are looking to enrich our programs with US SAILING’s strong experience with on-the-water training. This expertise complements our classroom courses for our new Boat Operator Certification Program and advanced sail endorsements included in our USPS University."  

 The USPS Boat Operator Certification program has been created to recognize the skill level of boaters and recognize their knowledge, in much the same way as the Coast Guard license indicates professional expertise.  Until now, there was little most recreational boaters could do to gain such recognition. 

To achieve each of the four levels (Inland, Coastal, Advanced Coastal, and Offshore), the boater must complete a set of USPS courses, attend a series of seminars, and demonstrate skills, some on-the-water.  Basic, on-the-water skills are what USPS has looked to the US SAILING program for, for its inland certification.


Valuable Training Via Key Course

One of the key US SAILING courses USPS will offer to its members is the Safe Powerboat Handling Course. This two-day, hands-on, on-the-water course was originally developed to serve US SAILING constituents who used powerboats but lacked formal training in handling these types of craft.

The original target audience for this program included sailing instructors, coaches, and race committee personnel who needed a high level of proficiency in powerboat handling in order to perform their jobs on the water. The course has since become known as valuable training for any individual who wants to learn how to safely operate a powerboat.

Approved By NASBLA

The National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) has approved the course, and an increasing number of U.S. states are recognizing that the program meets their boating safety education requirements.

 For more than 20 years on-the-water powerboat training has been a part of US SAILING's educational offerings, initially incorporated into courses used to train sailing instructors and later developed into separate powerboat-handling courses. The courses are administered by US Powerboating, a department under US SAILING’s Education Division organized to directly address the educational needs of powerboat owners and operators in the United States.

 The Power Squadrons' advanced navigational materials are the key USPS resources US SAILING will now be able to incorporate into its renowned Keelboat Certification Series, which provides high standards of competency for sailors, sailing instructors, and sailing schools to improve safety and enjoyment for thousands of sailors every year.

Qualified sailing schools and instructors teach sailors of all experience levels proper boat handling and seamanship skills, as well as the proper theory that is a crucial part of a sailor’s education. Making USPS navigation training materials available to US SAILING Keelboat Certification schools will improve its already robust line-up of navigation training.

Reaches Community Clubs, Schools

US SAILING offers sailing and powerboat courses through participating clubs, schools, and community programs. These courses highlight on-the-water training for students and instructor candidates, starting at the entry level and progressing into racing, cruising, and offshore passagemaking.

US SAILING's Certification Series has established the definitive national standards for sailing and on-the-water powerboat instruction in keelboats, small sailboats, and sport and cruising powerboats.

 United States Power Squadrons is known worldwide for its quality navigation programs, from inland and coastal to offshore, using both electronics and celestial tools.  USPS has even trained navigators for the Navy during times of war.

USPS has become a leader working with industry to understand and influence emerging navigation technologies, thus assuring training in the latest techniques, equipment, and software.

 USPS University Boat Operator Certification programs tap into their navigation courses as well as classroom and hands-on work in seamanship, boat handling, weather, marine electrical and electronics, engine and marine mechanical systems maintenance, cruise planning and a wide range of seminars on shipboard gear selection and use. 

The USPS Seminars are generally available to the public across the country, often conveniently offered in marine stores, yacht clubs, and marinas.  Programs are offered through the USPS network of 450 squadrons located virtually everywhere you find boaters. 

USPS also offers National Association of State Boating Law Administrators-approved public boating safety programs in the classroom and online.  These courses have been a mainstay of USPS support to boaters since 1914.

About The United States Power Squadrons

USPS, in its nearly 100-year history, has been the premier recreational boating education organization offering basic boating and a strong program of navigation that has even been used to train Navy navigators in time of war. Today, USPS offers the broadest range of boating courses and seminars available for recreational boaters of all types, and provides a rallying point for those interested in boats to meet, learn, and provide services to fellow boaters. 
USPS also participates in a co-operative charting program with NOAA, helping to update navigation charts, and provides complementary vessel safety inspections in cooperation with the Coast Guard. For more information, please visit www.usps.org.