Note: Boat Smart is no longer available. This web page is for historical purposes only. Squadrons instead teach the new America's Boating Course - 3rd Edition, which contains more detailed information.
Boat Smart is a course for all boaters including personal watercraft operators, hunters or fishermen operating an outboard utility boat, canoe and kayak paddlers, skippers of a family cruiser, and sailing enthusiasts. All boaters must follow the same nautical rules, regulations, and courtesies of the sea. The course includes three main sections:
Getting Started: boat terms and types, boat handling, anchoring, water sport safety, personal watercraft
What's Needed: equipment, regulations, law enforcement
Rules To Live By: aids to navigation, navigation rules, adverse conditions, marine radio
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 this 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 meets the educational standards of the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) and features a proctored examination as required by many states and insurance companies. The course will provide instruction and examination for laws and regulations of state and local authorities in the area where the course is taught.
USPS believes that the more educated a boater becomes, the more likely that boater will be a safe boater. Boat Smart is the beginning of a boating education. Chart Smart is available for those who would like to learn a little about piloting. 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.
There is also a course available for home study. America's Boating Course - 3rd Edition (ABC3) includes an interactive computer CD that serves as a "virtual" instructor with audio and video clips. Most states recognize ABC3 as meeting their education requirements.