Current Course Offerings
This seminar covers selection of anchor, rode and components; anchor selection for sea conditions and bottom characteristics; deployment and recovery of anchors. It also includes tables for sizing an anchor and components, and information for determining loads under various conditions. The kit includes the USPS Anchoring Quick Guide written by Bill Gladstone, and Student Notes with copies of the slides.
AIS Electronics for Boaters
AIS Electronics for Boaters, our newest seminar, can help you decide if AIS is right for you. Automatic Identification System electronics aren’t just for commercial vessels. Using AIS can help you navigate crowded waterways easily and safely.
With AIS marine electronics onboard, you can identify potential dangers and quickly make decisions on the water. Many systems share your boat’s information with other boats so they can also make better, safer boating decisions.
In this course, you will learn what AIS does, how it works, whether you need an AIS system, how AIS is different from RADAR, how to use AIS to navigate more safely and what to consider when integrating AIS with your existing electronics.
Basic Coastal Navigation
Today, electronics have radically changed navigation, but understanding the basics helps you gain confidence in your equipment and your own skills. You will learn practical techniques to plan, navigate, and check your progress on the water. You will develop situational awareness skills using your eyes and navigation tools to quickly point to your position on a chart, and be able to use backup techniques when the electronics become suspect. This seminar will help captain and crew navigate safely and comfortably. The student kit contains The Weekend Navigator and the Maptech CD.
Boat Handling Under Power
This seminar shows boaters how to depart and dock under a variety of conditions as well as all about trimming the boat underway. The seminar comes with a waterproof USPS Captain’s Quick Guide and Student Notes. The instructor kit includes a PowerPoint CD with excellent slides and flash animations plus an instructor manual.
How To Use A Chart
The NOAA Chart No. 1 is the quintessential reference to chart details, but is difficult to understand. This seminar walks you through what you really need to know in an entertaining and interesting fashion, and provides you with a Maptech Waterproof flip-fold waterproof Chart Symbols and On-the-Water Guide to take along on the boat with you. In addition to showing you all about your chart, this seminar walks you through the essentials of laying out a safe course, steps to measure a course with the USPS plotter, and even a quick guide to the rules of the road.
This seminar explains how to select, install, calibrate and use your compass on board your boat. You will learn which features are most important and what will work best for you, how to deal with variation between true and magnetic north, and how to adjust your compass to remove most of the deviation caused by local magnetic influences. This is an essential seminar for all boaters.
This seminar covers how radar functions, radar selection, operation of the radar under various conditions including setting of controls, display interpretation, basic navigation, and collision avoidance using radar. The kit includes The Radar Book written by Kevin Monahan ($25 retail) and Student Notes with copies of slides.
Mastering Rules Of The Road
This seminar provides an explanation with examples of the 38 Rules of the Road for both the U.S. Inland Rules and the International Rules (COLREGS). It simplifies the sometimes complex law relating to boat operation for the recreational boater. It is a starting point for study preparation for the USCG License examination. This seminar includes McGraw-Hill’s The One Minute Guide to the Nautical Rules of the Road by Charlie Wing, Student Notes, a seminar certificate, and an ED-46 seminar registration form.
Marine Weather Forecasting
While not a course in weather, this seminar explains how just using your own senses can help you determine what conditions you will encounter where you are. By all means, a forecast is important. It will tell you what weather systems are headed your way, but they are challenged to tell exactly where and when conditions will change. Add your own observations and you have an extra edge. Add a couple of instruments and you can verify your observations. The seminar explains weather systems, how to understand clouds and their changes, using changing wind direction, temperature, and pressure to hone in on emerging weather fronts. The seminar includes the McGraw-Hill waterproof Captain's Quick Guides: On-Board Weather Forecasting to take aboard your boat.
Skipper Saver Seminar
The Skipper Saver course is a blend of two USPS objectives – SAFETY and EDUCATION. Its purpose is to help a First Mate acquire basic boat handling skills without frills or superfluous information. The idea is to learn how to make decisions, communicate a problem, and operate a boat safely in an emergency without the throes of panic. This course consists of 5 classroom lessons.
We have a boat simulator for use in the class room to give you hands-on experience.
Tides and Currents
The United States has over 12,000 miles of coastline and some 72,000 miles of coastal waterways that are affected by tides and tidal currents. Even if you are an inland boater, you may travel to an area where knowing about tides and tidal currents is important. The seminar deals with how the sun and moon create tidal patterns, sources of information about tides and tidal currents, simple ways to predict height of tide and speed of current flow and how to use both print and electronic tide tables. Learn about tides and currents from experienced coastal boaters. Each student receives a full color Student Guide for the seminar.
Trailering Your Boat
Expand your boating to find better fishing, quieter beaches, or safer water skiing! Get in the know with how you tow! In this three-hour seminar, you’ll learn safe-towing tips for your boat, your crew, your trailer, and your tow-vehicle. Gain new skills and tips for safely towing and launching your trailerable boat in less than ideal situations. We’ll discuss it all: ramps, hitches, straps, signals, brakes, backing, ramp etiquette, and launch teamwork. You’ll get tips on protecting your gear before, during, and after transit, and learn the “one-block rule”. This seminar includes a copy of the superb 166-page, fully- illustrated paperback book, Complete Guide to Trailering Your Boat. In addition, you’ll get our unique tow and launch checklist!
To help you understand the procedures and then apply them at the water’s edge, this seminar will have classroom-based training by experienced trailer boaters, plus actual on-ramp instruction! We will also show you how to operate and maintain your trailering equipment. Get ready for summer fun. Join us on Lake Union!
This seminar explains the principles of waypoint navigation and shows you how to relate the GPS to your charts. The seminar also shows you how to operate your GPS – what the buttons do, what the screens show, and how to access the functions you need. You’ll also get some tips for choosing a GPS if you don’t currently own one. The waterproof McGraw-Hill Captain’s Quick Guide Using GPS is included to take aboard to remind you of the steps, or to show another of your crew how to use your GPS.
Using VHF/DSC Marine Radio
VHF radio is the mainstay of coastal communication and essential for emergency communications. Digital Selective Calling (DSC) is rapidly becoming a reality as more Coast Guard Rescue 21 System operations go live. This seminar explains basic VHF operation. A CD is included with a DSC Simulator that allows you to practice on your computer at home. The handy waterproof McGraw-Hill Captains’ Quick Guide Using VHF is included with essential information that you should have aboard.
If you live in the border states, you can cross international borders and visit our neighbors to the north or south. But what do you need to know? This seminar explains the immigration and customs process and the programs that enable boaters to easily cross into Canada, Mexico or the Bahamas. Be prepared by having the correct documents; we can help you get there. Each student receives a full color Student Guide especially written for the seminar.
Understand the immigration and customs process
Prepare and carry the correct documents for your crossing
Who are and how to contact the proper authorities
Timelines for the entry and departure process
What can't be carried across the borders