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Boat Safer...Sign Up for America's Boating Course

America's Boating Course is a course for all boaters (the personal watercraft operator; the hunter or fisherman operating an outboard utility boat; the skipper of a family cruiser; the sailing enthusiast). All boaters must follow the same nautical rules, regulations, and courtesies of the sea. All are subject to the same forces of nature while boating.

Our next class will be a two-session course offered in the spring of 2020 at Flotilla Island on Lake Murray. Flotilla Island is located at the end of Johnson Marina Road, between Ballentine and Chapin, S.C.

Visit our Boating Course page to pre-register or email your interest in taking the class to Lake Murray's Educational Officer Mike Zafoot.

As boating is often a family activity, the course is of value to all members of a boating family. USPS encourages families to attend as groups. Qualified, enthusiastic, and experienced USPS instructors provide instruction as a civic service. There is never a charge for instruction; the only costs are those for materials, plus overhead costs such as classroom rental, shipping and handling, sales tax, etc.

While the content of the student manual serves as the basis for this course, it will also serve as a reference book in basic boating long after the course work is completed. The course has been approved by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators, and meets boating license and safety certification requirements in South Carolina. If you are unable to attend our classroom offering, visit the America's Boating Course website to learn how to order the CD version of the course or to take the course online.

USPS believes that the more educated a boater becomes, the more likely that boater will be a safe boater. America's Boating Course is the beginning of a boating education. USPS encourages students to follow this brief and basic course with additional boating education such as the courses offered to members of the United States Power Squadrons. Your instructor can give you information about these advanced courses.

Lake Murray Power Squadron also offers America's Boating Course to residents, family and friends of specific communities and neighborhoods as part of its Safe Boating Outreach Program. Presented in an eight-hour format, it can be held at your local club house; just call and let us know you want to learn to be a safe boater.

Course topics to be covered in America's Boating Course include:

  • Introduction to Boating: types of power boats; sailboats; outboards; paddle boats; houseboats; different uses of boats; various power boating engines; jet drives; family boating basics.
  • Boating Law: boat registration; boating regulation; hull identification number; required boat safety equipment; operating safely and reporting accidents; protecting the marine environment; Federal boat law; state boating laws; personal watercraft requirements.
  • Boat Safety Equipment: personal flotation devices ("life jackets"); fire extinguishers; sound-producing devices; visual-distress signals; dock lines and rope; first aid kit; anchors and anchor lines; other boating safety equipment.
  • Safe Boating: bow riding; alcohol and drug abuse; entering, loading, and trimming a boat; fueling portable and permanent tanks; steering with a tiller and a wheel; docking, undocking and mooring; knots; filing a float plan; checking equipment, fuel, weather and tides; using charts; choosing and using an anchor; safe PWC handling; general water safety.
  • Navigation: the U.S. Aids to Navigation system; types of buoys and beacons; navigation rules (sometimes referred to as right-of-way rules); avoiding collisions; sound signals; PWC "tunnel vision."
  • Boating Problems: hypothermia; boating accidents and rescues; man overboard recovery; capsizing; running aground; river hazards; strainers: emergency radio calls; engine problems; equipment failures; carbon monoxide (CO); other boating and PWC problems.
  • Trailering, Storing and Protecting Your Boat: types of trailers; trailer brakes, lights, hitches, tires, and bearings; loading, balancing, and towing a trailer; towing (and backing) a trailer; boat launching and retrieving; boat storage and theft protection; launching, retrieving and storing a PWC.
  • Hunting and Fishing, Water-skiing and River Boating: carrying hunting gear and weapons in a boat; fishing from a boat; water-skiing safety guidelines and hand signals; water-skiing with a PWC; navigating rivers, and other boating tips.

If you need more information or would like to request Lake Murray Power Squadron teach its outreach program on safe boating neighborhood, e-mail Lake Murray's Educational Officer Mike Zafoot.

Updated 03 March 2021
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