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Boat Operators Certification (BOC)

With the Boat Operator’s Certification Program, USPS will certify USPS members at various levels of recreational boating proficiency. We expect that these certifications will be recognized across the boating community, both domestically and internationally. In the United States, The United States Coast Guard (USCG) has asked congress to authorize the Transportation Secretary to establish requirements for standards of proficiency for recreational boaters. We intend to have USPS certification accepted as the above proof and be accepted as the national certificate for the USA.

USPS currently plans four levels of Boat Operator Certification:

  • Inland Navigator (IN) (available)

  • Coastal Navigator (available)

  • Advanced Coastal Navigator (to be released later)

  • Offshore Navigator (to be released later)


Certification at any level requires successful completion of all prescribed elements including:

  • USPS courses – completions are tracked at USPS Headquarters

  • USPS and/or non-USPS seminars – signed off by instructor and tracked at Headquarters

  • Skill demonstrations on the water or, in some cases, ashore – signed-off by trained certifier and tracked at headquarters (some may be US Sailing programs)

To be certified, a member must be at least 16 years of age, be mentally and physically capable of operating a boat, and have sufficient visual and auditory sensory ability to do so. Holding a driver’s license will suffice to certify meeting these requirements.


Inland Navigator (IN) Requirements: Inland Navigator Guide (July 2011)


  • NASBLA approved safe boating course

  • Seamanship (or S 101 and S 102)

  • Engine Maintenance (EM)

  • Marine Electronics or Marine Electrical Systems or ME 101


  • How to Use a Chart (CHT) (or Piloting, Chart Smart, or Boating courses)

  • Basic Weather and Forecasting (BWF) or Onboard Weather Forecasting (OBWF) (or Weather course or Weather Modules)

  • Using GPS (GPS) (or the new P or AP course)

  • VHF Radio and VHF/DSC Marine Radio (or ME 102 or Marine Communications Systems)


  • BPH – Basic Powerboat Handling skill demonstration or US Sailing Safe Powerboat Handling on-the-water program

  • FE – Use of Fire Extinguishers

Optional Endorsements

  • IW – Inland Waterways (Navigating Rivers, Dams and Locks seminar)

  • PAD – Paddle craft (canoes and kayaks) – Paddle Smart seminar

  • SA – Sailboating (or Sail or Sail Modules)

Coastal Navigator Requirements: Coastal Navigator Guide(Jan 2011)

  • Prerequisite

    • IN Certification

  • Courses

    • Piloting

    • Weather

    • Marine Communications or Marine Radio Communications (ME102)

  • Seminars

    • Mastering Rules of the Road

    • Anchoring

    • Mariner’s Compass

    • Tides and Currents (or AP course)

    • Optional Seminar: Marine Radar

  • Skills

    • NAV – On-Water Navigation

    • PD – Use of Pyrotechnic Distress Signals

  • Optional Endorsements

    • IN Endorsements plus:

      • CAN – Canadian Regulations

      • MEX – Mexican regulations


Members pursuing certification will have a “BOC Passport” to record their progress. 


The certifiers’ key roles are to train, observe and certify demonstrations of skills and document them. Skill demos will be recorded both at Headquarters and on the member’s BOC passport. In some cases, credit may be given for skill demonstrations and seminars based on boating experience or other programs. 


For information on the BOC Program, email .

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