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Educational Department

Lamp of Learning


United States Power Squadrons
Educational Opportunities

United States Power Squadrons provides many educational opportunities to both the boating public and to its members. One of the key concepts of the United States Power Squadrons is the self-education of its members, meaning that successful students go on to teach other students to perpetuate boating knowledge. USPS instructors who teach public courses are also certified regarding their ability to teach and use modern instructional methods.

Public Educational Opportunities


The Squadron Boating CoursePublic Boating Course

USPS provides basic boating education to the public, with no charge for instruction, via its America's Boating Course - 3rd Edition.

America's Boating Course - 3rd Edition is offered as a classroom course, or as an interactive, online home study course for people whose schedule and obligations would make it difficult to attend a classroom course. The course is presented using PowerPoint software with guided instruction, numerous video and audio clips to provide basic boating safety information, and end-of-chapter learning assessments. An optional extension to the course encompasses an introduction to electronic navigation, including charts and digital charting. A 278 page full-color Student Manual is included in the classroom course, and a downloadable e-book is used in the online course. Successful completion of this National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA)-compliant course meets the educational requirements of most states for obtaining operator permits or licensure. Get more information on America's Boating Course - 3rd Edition.

Locate a course to be taught near you soon, or take our interactive online course at your convenience.

USPS Seminars

Seminar Materials

USPS has a series of short seminars open to the public on a variety of boating related topics, such as Global Positioning System (GPS), weather, and marine radio. The materials included with each approximately two hour seminar include a Student Note Book and other take-away guides related to that particular topic. Check here to see the offerings.

Can't get to a seminar in person? Check out our on-line seminar offerings.

Narrated traditional USPS courses and seminars are also available online via the University of West Florida

How To Fly FlagsUSPS Guides

A series of short guides on a wide variety of subjects of interest to boaters are also available; these are known as USPS Guides. Some Guides are also available to the public at various marine supply stores and book stores. These items may be used in USPS® classroom courses and seminars or for home study.

USPS University Educational Opportunities

USPS University educational opportunities are available to both USPS members and the public. They are known as Advanced Grades and Elective Courses.

Advanced Grades

Advanced Piloting

The Advanced Grades are a series of in-depth navigational courses, and completion of the highest level course determines a member's "grade". Letter grades may appear in USPS printed materials while insignia appear on a member's uniform. Descriptions of these courses, as well as the letter grades and insignia, are given on the Advanced Grades page.

Want to take an Advanced Grade course on-line? Try our on-line Seamanship course.

Marine Communications SystemsElective Courses

A wide discipline of courses that cover related boating topics other than navigation are also offered as part of the instructed course curriculum. Descriptions of these courses are given on the Elective Courses page.


Recognition Levels

USPS awards grades to its members to indicate how far they have progressed in the continuing education program. Since one of the USPS objectives is boating safety through education, USPS encourages every member to strive to achieve the Educational Proficiency level, with the ultimate goal being that of the Educational Achievement Award.

Educational Proficiency InsigniaAnyone completing a grade level of at least Advanced Piloting (AP) and three Elective Courses receives the Educational Proficiency Award.  Shown below is an AP insignia with the Educational Proficiency bar below it.

Senior Navigator InsigniaAnyone completing all Advanced Grade navigational courses that results in a grade of Navigator (N) and any six (6) Elective Courses receives the Educational Achievement Award.  This award, also known as the Senior Navigator award, is the highest educational recognition awarded by USPS.  Holders of this honor can be recognized in print by the "SN" following their name. Shown here is the Educational Achievement Award insignia that you might see on a member's uniform.

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This page last updated Wednesday, March 23, 2011 18:40