United States Power Squadrons
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United States Power Squadrons
America's Boating Course– No matter how much experience you have with boating, it is important to have the knowledge needed to keep your passengers, yourself and your boat safe.
Get your state boating card and learn the skills you need to be safe while boating. Take the finest National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) approved online boating safety course available, followed by a boating license test for boating certification*. By enrolling in the America's Boating Course you will learn navigation rules, water sports safety and other valuable boater safety skills.
Cruising and Cruise Planning – There is something very special about the thrill of cruising in new waters and the sense of accomplishment upon completing an extended cruise. To go beyond what most boaters do on a weekend overnight or even a week or go marina hopping requires boaters to leave their normal cruising areas and comfort zones. The Cruising and Cruise Planning course focuses on the planning and preparation necessary for safe enjoyable extended cruises on both inland and coastal waters.
Designed for members who cruise on either a sail or powerboat (owned or chartered)—this course covers the following topics:
Cruise preparation and planning - General
Crew and Provisioning
Boat and Equipment
Anchors and Anchoring
Cruising Outside the United States
Navigation – is our senior-most navigation course. This is for the potential blue-water mariner. It takes your celestial navigation skills to a new level, showing you how to take sights and fix position using the moon, planets, and stars. You will take more complex sights and learn multiple approaches to reducing them. Then, true to our emphasis on electronic navigation, you will learn how to use electronic tools to plan and execute your offshore voyage.
Junior Navigation – the title is traditional, the subject matter is quite advanced. This is the first of a two-part series in offshore navigation. Again, the emphasis is on safe and effective electronic navigation. However, outside sight of land and navigation aids, you are taught to use the sun. The basics of celestial navigation are instructed and you take sights on the sun to derive fixes of position. You also learn about the unique conditions and considerations in offshore navigation.
Advanced Piloting – is the final inland and coastal navigation course. It furthers your understanding of electronic navigation and tools to include the use of radar, depth sounders, chartplotters and digital charts. It also expands your understanding of safe navigation by showing you how to “fix” your position with precision by traditional techniques, how to implement “avoidance navigation” to stay clear of hazards, and how to navigate in the presence of tides and currents.
Piloting – is the first of a two-part navigation series for inland and coastal boaters. Piloting teaches the essentials of safe navigation using GPS and electronic tools in conjunction with charts and available marine data (waypoint navigation). In order to check the GPS, and to navigate in the event of any uncertainty, traditional navigation skills are taught. You learn how to use landmarks and navigation aids to check your position and navigate using dead reckoning.
Seamanship – is a natural first/next step in building a foundation for confidence and competence in safe and enjoyable boating on the water. It extends the knowledge and skills of the boater in handling and maneuvering a vessel, either sail or power. The course provides a better understanding of how boats behave under various conditions including close quarters and open water operations. Knowledge and skills are increased in the areas of anchoring, emergencies, rules of the road, and marlinespike/basic knots. Appendices include information to safe operation in waters of our neighbors to the north and south, Canada and Mexico.. The course content and our coastal navigation courses should help in preparation for completion of the US Coast Guard licensing examination. An On-The-Water component enhances the learning experience.
Each year the Point Wilson squadron offers America's Boating Course (ABC) to the members of our community for learning the basics of safe boating. The classes are useful to all boaters, from the fisherman in an outboard to the skipper in a family cruiser to the sailing enthusiast. Additionally the Point Wilson squadron offers a limited number of United States Power Squadrons® wide range of courses and seminars listed below based on interest and completion of prerequisite classes. Some of the specialized and advanced classes are taught by other Power Squadrons in the Puget Sound area.
Boating Classes and Seminars
Weather – The safety and comfort of those who venture out-on-the water have always been weather dependent. In this course students will become keener observers of the weather, but weather observations only have meaning in the context of the basic principles of meteorology — the science of the atmosphere. The course focuses on how weather systems form, behave, move, and interact with one another and reflects the availability of all sorts of weather reports and forecasts on the Internet. Wx2012 is a general weather course benefiting those sitting in their living rooms, as much as those standing behind the helm. Each student receives:
a Weather Manual - USPS Weather - an explanatory text with full color photographs and drawings covering weather in the United States and its coastal and inland waters;
a set of three Daily Weather Maps - learning aids with a compete explanation of map symbols designed to develop weather map reading and analysis skills; and
NOAA’s Sky Watcher Chart - a reference to assist in identifying cloud types – helpful indicators of approaching weather.
Weather is designed to be conducted over ten two-hour classroom sessions, but each instructor will determine the pace of the course.
Marine Communications Systems – explains the various shipboard communications systems from VHF to Single Sideband and satellite, the services associated with each. You will learn how to select, install, operate and troubleshoot your communication gear.
Marine Electrical Systems – is a course dedicated to onboard electrical power – both AC and DC. You will learn about electrical circuits, wiring, terminating, and routing wiring for safety and trouble-free operation. You will learn how to use multimeters and tools to check, diagnose and repair electrical problems. You also will learn about galvanic corrosion, stray currents, isolation, grounding, and safety of electrical systems.
The new Engine Maintenance course 2011 has been put into one ten chapter course that stresses the diagnosis of modern systems, while also teaching the basics of engine layout and operation. Gasoline inboards, outboards, and diesel engines are taught in a way that reinforces the common aspects of how engines work. This new course is complete in one book with one exam.
Modern engines offer high reliability and good performance through the use of computerized systems for fuel delivery and engine timing. Most of these systems are “black boxes” that can no longer be serviced by weekend mechanics with ordinary tools. The EM course covers those repairs that do-it-yourselfers can still perform, teaches how to diagnose problems that might be beyond your ability to fix, and how to share information with your mechanic so the right repairs get performed. The new Engine Maintenance course also covers basic mechanical systems such as drive systems (propellers), steering systems, and engine controls. The last chapter discusses solutions you might use for problems that could occur while afloat and away from a repair facility. Gasoline, diesel, and outboard engines are treated independently in this chapter.
Sail – is a complete sail course created to serve the needs of the novice and experienced sailor, as well as the non-sailor, for basic skills and knowledge. The course starts with basic sailboat designs and nomenclature, rigging, safety, and sail processes and then tackles the physical aspects of sailing forces and techniques sail applications, marlinespike, helmsmanship and handling of more difficult sailing conditions, navigation rules, and an introduction to heavy weather sailing. An On-The-Water component enhances the learning experience. Appendices provide an introduction to sailboat racing and sailing in Canadian waters.