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On-the-Water
Training
On-the-Water Training

USPS offers several on-the-water training programs. These include:

Jump Start is a relatively new USPS program. A squadron member will provide one-on-one training to a member student on the student’s own boat. The student should be the owner of a new boat, or at least a boat new to him or her. The student should have some boating experience, but limited experience with a boat of the type for which the training will be conducted.

The content of the training is customized to fit the needs of the individual student. The goal is to help the new boat owner to develop essential skills for safe operation of their boat and to break through any barriers that may limit their boating enjoyment. The target time for the training is set at two hours. This provides a reasonable amount of time to teach a number of skills. It also sets a reasonable expectation for the student.

Printable Jump Start Brochure

Hands-on-Training is for new boaters. The Basic Powerboat program provides skill-based training in the essential techniques of powerboat operation. Developed under a grant from the U.S. Coast Guard, this program incorporates the national on-water standards for powerboat operation and instruction.

Although designed for new boaters, the program also benefits experienced boat operators. Students gain a deeper understanding of boat operation while learning new skills and techniques. Both new and experienced boaters get elevated boat-handling skills, increased confidence on the water, and enhanced boating enjoyment.

This program consists of a one-day, eight-hour training session, with three hours of classroom training and five hours of training and practice behind the wheel of a boat. Students learn about safety equipment and procedures, basic operation and controls, maneuvering, docking, anchoring, operating on plane, crew overboard recovery and much more.

The Boat Operator Certification program demonstrates a boater’s skill and knowledge on the water. Open to members only, Boat Operator Certification has four successive levels that certify a member’s ability to operate in increasingly challenging waters (on longer trips and farther offshore).

Each level requires completion of certain courses and seminars as well as on-the-water skill demonstrations with a specially trained certifier. The levels are Inland Navigator, Coastal Navigator, Advanced Coastal Navigator and Offshore Navigator.

Each level must be accomplished in a properly equipped boat; for Inland Navigator, the boat should be 16 to 26 feet, and for other levels, the boat should be over 26 feet.

For information on each level, please see: