Boat Operator CertificationGet Information

USPS certifies members at various levels of recreational boating proficiency. The entry level course described below is designed to get you behind the wheel of a powerboat so you can learn the skills needed to operate it properly. The course material covers:

  •  Engine controls and transmission: Systems, Equipment and starting checks. PFD and use of kill switch. Use of throttle. Shifting gears. Safe transition from low to high speed.
  •  Undocking and docking: Leave a dock or slip (use of spring lines). Return to a dock or slip. Securing the boat to a dock or slip. Essential knots.
  •  Low Speed Boat Handling Skills: Back a boat, Pivot turn, Minimum control speed. Low speed turns/collision avoidance, Holding position, steer a range, anchor a boat. safer and more comfortable.
  •  Course skills: Slalom forward slow, Slalom astern, Slalom (controlled and on plane turns). Departure from and return from a mooring.
  •  On Plane Skills: Constant radius turn, Use of bearing to avoid collisions. High speed stop


  •  Increased confidence on the water: Passing courses builds confidence in your abilities.
  •  USPS Boat Insurance Discounts: The discounts increase as you pass more Boat Operator Certification courses. Learn more
  •  Renting or chartering boats: : Renting, chartering or leasing a boat (especially in another country).


Required USPS Courses

  • USPS or NASBLA approved (i.e. Coast Guard Auxillary, etc.) safe boating course
  • Seamanship
  • Engine Maintenance
  • Marine Electronics or Marine Electrical Systems

USPS Seminars

  • How to Use a Chart (or Piloting course or Chart Smart, or Boating courses)
  • Basic Weather and Forecasting or Onboard Weather Forecasting (or Weather course or Weather Modules)
  • Using GPS (or the new Piloting or Advanced Piloting courses)
  • VHF Radio and VHF/DSC Marine Radio (or Marine Electronics 102 or Marine Communications Systems)


  • Basic Powerboat Handling skill demonstration or US Sailing Safe Powerboat Handling on-the-water program
  • Use of Fire Extinguishers

Optional Endorsements

  • Inland Waterways (Navigating Rivers, Dams and Locks seminar)
  • Paddle craft (canoes and kayaks) - Paddle Smart seminar
  • Sailboating (or Sail or Sail Modules)

Start your Jouney to become a Certified Boat Operator!

Get the details and schedule

Get Information