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.
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. Our next
class will be held on two consecutive Saturdays, 25 February and 4 March, at
Flotilla Island on Lake Murray.
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
- 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 John Edwards, JN.