Your browser isn't running scripts. To see and use these pages, you should enable JavaScript in your browser.

Educational Department
- Home Page -

Lamp of Learning


News and Announcements



Educational Department Launches New Website

The Educational Department has launched its new website, adopting USPS’s standard template for member pages and updating its site index to help members find what they need more easily. National Educational Officer Craig Fraser said, “We’re glad to introduce our new site. We hope it will help squadrons to plan and manage their educational offerings and make it easier for members to realize their boater education goals in the classroom, online and on the water. I invite you to take a moment to explore the site and to Contact Us with your comments, questions and suggestions.”

To see the new pages, members should access them by going to USPS’s public home page at, logging in as a member and then, under the Departments menu, selecting Educational Department. (18 Apr 17)  

America's Boating Course—Now Available in Spanish and English

America's Boating Course is now available in Spanish or English language versions online. The Spanish version materials may be obtained from the USPS Educational Department Online Catalog. The student manual is free, courtesy of a United States Coast Guard grant. There is a $5.00 fee per book to cover shipping, handling, ancillary course materials and required student database support. A bi-lingual instructor PowerPoint is in progress, as is translation of the state-specific examinations. (26 Apr 17) 

Nonmember Course and Seminar Completion Fees

Squadrons are reminded to account for the $10 seminar completion and $20 advanced/elective course passed exam fees when determining the cost of USPS offerings to nonmembers. Further information is described on the SEO home page under "Procedure for Enrolling Nonmember Students in USPS University and Ordering Exams". (08 Apr 17)

The Boating Primer Now Available in Limited Distribution

The United States Power Squadrons has introduced The Boating Primer, a 30 page booklet designed to be presented at no-cost to new boaters who have just purchased a boat, bridging their probable boating knowledge gap from purchase until attending a basic boating knowledge course such as America's Boating Course. The Boating Primer is presented courtesy of the United States Power Squadrons in the interests of boating safety, reducing accidents and injuries, and of special importance – recruiting new members.

We will be working with The Brunswick Corporation and the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) for distribution to boat buyers in concert with Brunswick Advantage-participating United States Power Squadrons. Another use for The Boating Primer is at public events such as boat shows; it is a great contact aid leading to boating discussions on items such as features and benefits of membership. Note that the centerfold is an easily detachable full size membership application form. Additional uses could be in concert with vessel safety checks and ramp-day forums.

The Boating Primer is a great recruiting tool, useful when discussing United States Power Squadron membership anytime members are discussing boating matters with genuinely interested boaters. The Boating Primer is not free or intended for unattended distribution. It is intended for use during discussions that include receipt of follow-on contact information and then presentation of the Primer. Aids to closing the membership "sale" are a Boat Show Training presentation (5209KB, PPT), a Boating Primer Use presentation (4270KB, PPT), and a reproducible Contact Data form (306KB, PDF) or (877KB Word, DOCX) as discussed in the Boat Show Training presentation.

Before The Boating Primer is shipped, and to ensure the necessary training and education for members manning boat shows or similar events, the squadron/district officer requesting copies of the Primer will be asked to confirm:

  1. Download of the two above PowerPoint presentations and Contact Form,
  2. That the two PowerPoint presentations will be used to educate every member manning the booths or otherwise distributing the Primer,
  3. That the Contact Forms will be used when distributing the Primer and that completed forms will be placed with squadron membership personnel for action, and
  4. That each presentation will highlight the centerfold membership application in the Primer.

The procedure for obtaining The Boating Primer is to submit a request by email to with the following information:

  1. The name and position of the person submitting the request,
  2. The intended use of The Boating Primer and intended dates for presentation,
  3. The address to which the booklets are to be shipped, and
  4. Confirm intended compliance with each of the four provisions above for shipment.

Questions may be directed to the Chairman of the Basic Public Education Committee. (05 Feb 17)

U.S. Power Squadrons is Closing the Basic Boating Knowledge Education Gap for New Boat Buyers!

Recognizing a gap in boating education wherein boaters acquire a boat then begin boating without any education, the Chief Commander launched a PRIMER to bridge the gap from boat acquisition to the boater's first boating safety education course. The PRIMER presents a compendium of essential rules, laws, practical knowledge and reporting procedures with focus on BOATING SAFETY. Concomitantly, it is intended to whet the boater's appetite to attend America's Boating Course 3rd Edition (ABC3), and the USPS University continuum of boating education. Distribution of the no-cost PRIMER booklet to new boat owners is intended through boat dealers. The PRIMER's information bridge will save lives. View the PRIMER at the EXPO.

District and Squadron Educational Officers are urged to review the PRIMER, and to encourage its holders to participate in America's Boating Course and the USPS University continuum of education. The PRIMER is downloadable here (2637KB, PDF). (07 Jan 17)

Boating Safety 4 Kids

New this year under the Educational Department is a seminar-style education program on boating safety that complements youth programs with education and hands-on training for children in 1st through 6th grades on essential boating safety practices. The instruction is aided by the listed Boating Safety for Kids DVD and Manual, available in the Educational Department online catalog. The no-cost, downloadable instructor guide “Boating Safety 4 Kids” is available here (883KB, PDF) and on the Basic Public Education Committee home page. This is a great program for youth activities and may be presented concomitantly with parental education in the USPS University courses and seminars for a whole family boating safety experience. (10 Aug 16)

Reminder of Seminar Pricing and HQ-800 Student Completion Entries

This is reminder that USPS Headquarters invoices squadrons for seminar completions (separately from the seminar materials) based on the number of attendees reported in the HQ-800 system or via BCA. When pricing seminars, squadrons and districts will need to include this attendee completion fee in the pricing calculations as the fee will not be included in the USPS price of the seminar kits. More information is available on the Seminars web page under News. (31 Jul 16)

Important Changes to the Practical On-The-Water Program

Important changes have been made to the Practical On-The-Water (POTW) program. Be sure to read about these changes on the Boat Operator Certification web page. (15 Apr 16)

2016 Annual Meeting Presentations

A number of interesting presentations were made at the 2016 Annual Meeting in Jacksonville this year. Here are links to some of them. (29 Feb 16)

Weems and Plath Discount

Weems and Plath continues to offer USPS members a 25% discount on anything ordered via their web site. Check out the details at the Weems and Plath store web page. (26 Feb 16)

Navigation Training Charts

As we shift navigation training to less costly electronic navigation, we lose the convenience of opening charts from CD/DVDs associated with past courses and seminars. USPS is implementing training based on free, downloadable materials from NOAA and OpenCPN software. The NOAA chart 1210TR remains downloadable from the NOAA Historical site, and the BOWDITCH BAY chart continues embedded in the ABC3 Student Manual series. In the interests of enhancing the USPS continuum of navigational training and providing easy access to the two training charts, they are now available for downloading from the ABC3 Home page, Downloadable Materials section. Both charts remain available from the USPS Materials Catalog. (08 Jan 16)

Great Lakes Cruising Club School Webinars Update

We're pleased to announce that the partnership arrangement with the Great Lakes Cruising Club (GLCC) will continue for the coming year. All GLCC on-line cruising-related webinars are available to USPS members at reduced USPS registration rates. Many webinars are planned for the 2015-16 GLCCSchool curriculum year. Note that there is now a NEW discount code for the coming year, so be sure to use this new discount code when signing up for a webinar. Details are available on the USPS GLCCSchool web page. (30 Oct 15)

NOAA designates USPS as a Weather-Ready Nation Ambassador

NOAA and its National Weather Service have recognized the major contribution that USPS makes in weather education for recreational boaters. The recognition took the form of USPS (and all its districts and squadrons) being designated a “Weather-Ready Nation Ambassador™.” The new designation is part of NOAA’s Weather-Ready Nation initiative that emphasizes building situational awareness and community resiliency in facing increased vulnerability to extreme weather and water events.

All districts and squadrons are authorized and encouraged to use the new Weather-Ready Nation Ambassador logo. For more details about NOAA’s initiative and the use of the logo go to: The logo is also available separately at (04 Aug 15)

2015 Annual Meeting Presentations

A number of interesting presentations were made at the 2015 Annual Meeting in Jacksonville this year. Here are links to four of them. (23 Feb 15)

US Coast Guard, US Coast Guard Auxiliary, and Other Course Credits

Did you know that members who have certain US Coast Guard, US Coast Guard Auxiliary, or other certificates can get credit as having passed USPS courses? The latest details are contained in EdDept Notice 91 (EDN 91). (20 Jan 15)

September 2014 Governing Board Presentations

Two presentations were made in Crystal City during the Governing Board meeting that were interesting and of use to members. (23 Oct 14)

Procedure for Enrolling Nonmember Students in USPS University and Ordering Exams

Exams can be ordered for nonmembers, but they first must be enrolled in USPS University. Please follow the attached procedure (18KB, PDF) for enrolling the nonmember students in USPS University, ordering exams, and issuing certificates of completion. The nonmember will get a certificate number that may be used for all future courses and seminars and will become their membership number on joining USPS. The enrollment only needs to take place once for each student. Note that USPS University members do NOT get a course completion certificate from USPS Headquarters for advanced courses, so it is incumbent on squadrons to provide this acknowledgment (PDF, 262KB). (30 Sep 14)

Participation in USPS Courses by Minor Age Students

Very important information on this topic has been posted to the Basic Public Education Committee home page under News. Be sure to read and use this information for all courses where minor age students want to enroll. (15 Mar 14)

2014 Annual Meeting Presentations

A number of relevant presentations were made at the Educational Leadership and DEO meetings held at the 2014 Annual Meeting in Jacksonville. Topics included development of our online programs, revenue sharing, and coordination of the marketing and promotion of educational courseware. One talk also reviewed the differences between various generational groups and how that potentially impacts the way we approach these groups regarding learning opportunities and organizational membership.

The presentations are being posted to the website to make this information generally available. Use this as a resource as you prepare for spring conferences and work to integrate our programs into new locations, formats, and media. Consider capitalizing on the potential of partnerships such as those with Brunswick and Tall Ships America.

The survey conducted prior to the Annual Meeting provides a wealth of information to analyze program needs and assist in improving communications within USPS. A PowerPoint™ presentation of the summary results has been developed. The free form responses have been consolidated in an Excel™ spreadsheet for detailed review. Be sure to click on all 16 tabs of the spreadsheet to see all the topic areas and responses. (18 Feb 14)

Downloadable material:

Boat Show Materials for USPS Online Seminars

A window flyer and business card are now available for download that can be used by squadrons and districts to help promote the new USPS online seminars at boat shows. The 8.5" by 11" window flyer (372KB, PDF) can be printed either by squadrons or districts or by a commercial facility, and then displayed at boat shows and other public exhibitions to advertise our online offerings. A two-sided business card (11312KB, PDF) can be reproduced by commercial facilities and handed out at boat shows and other public events. Alternatively, two photographic files that duplicate the business card are also available. The first photo file (33KB, JPG) is the same as the front of the business card, while the second photo file (29KB, JPG) is the same as the back of the business card. These files can be printed locally by squadrons and districts for handout at public events.

What's in it for you? Squadrons are informed of those who take our online seminars and courses so that membership folks can follow up with them to potentially gain new members. Educationally active squadrons also get a share of the proceeds from these Internet sales. Your efforts in advertising our new online seminars will help to build stronger squadrons and a stronger USPS. (02 Dec 13)

Entering Canadian Waters

Many of us who boat in northern coastal regions and the Great Lakes frequently enter Canadian territorial waters during planned cruises and even during day excursions. We have long advised our membership that Canadian law applies once the international border has been crossed regardless of the intent to land in a Canadian port. Most of us are familiar with the need to be compliant with regulations when visiting Canada and reporting procedures on returning to the USA.

To further facilitate communication and avoid the propagation of misinformation this note will advise on current procedures to follow when entering Canadian waters. The rules are unambiguous although the interpretation provided by presenters at squadron and yacht club meetings aimed at updating memberships have been less than complete in the past and often provided conflicting opinions.

The Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) website contains a wealth of information to explain the details of the processes: A short synopsis is available in this PDF document (292KB).

Regardless the intent to land in Canada and visit a marina we are required to document crossing the international border by calling the Telephone Reporting Centre (TRC). Call 1-888-226-7277.

Please disseminate this information to all and post to websites. (28 Jun 12)

Sea Tow ARC Stickers

Sea Tow has created a network of radio stations to allow boaters to do “radio checks” without using VHF Ch 16. USPS has received a FREE stock of Sea Tow stickers and they are ready for SEOs and DEOs to order using either the SOF or the Free Brochures Form, using inventory number 09-92-001 “Sea Tow ARC Sticker”. The SOF or Free Brochures Form can be emailed as a PDF to Cindy Hodges at In order to be sure the initial orders are spread across all areas of use, there is a limit of 100 per squadron. If you have a major event planned, additional stickers may be released by request to the ANEO. One sticker will be included with each course or seminar manual so every student will receive one. More information is in this PDF document. (10 May 12)

Short Web Addresses

To make it easier for you to cite and use the Educational Department web pages, we've shortened three of our most used web addresses.
To get to this page—the Educational Department home page—you can enter into your browser either,, or just Any of these addresses will bring you to this page. And once you get here, don't forget to bookmark or make this page one of your favorites so that it's easier to get here next time.
To find a public boating course, you can use either or Either one will take a user to the search page where a user can find a USPS public boating course close to home. You can also copy this QR Code image and add it to flyers so that smartphone users can just scan it and be taken directly to the Find a Course web page.
To find a seminar, you can use either or Either one will take a user to the search page where a user can find a USPS seminar close to home. You can also copy this QR Code image and add it to flyers so that smartphone users can just scan it and be taken directly to the Find a Seminar web page. (Reposted 16 Apr 12)

Leadership Training for Educational Department

The Leadership of the Educational Department feels strongly that our educational leaders should avail themselves of the opportunity to participate in the series of courses titled DAO/SAO, DXO/SXO, DC/SC offered by the Leadership Development Committee. This series offers insight into issues that relate to any leadership position whether within USPS or not. A number of these Leadership Development courses are currently scheduled around the country, including Raleigh NC, to make them close to the audiences, and are open to all Educational Department leaders. We would like to encourage as many of the SEOs, DEOs and R/Cs as possible to participate in these meetings. Space is limited however. Schedules are on the Leadership Development web page. (03 May 13)

Model Anchor Sets Available for Loan

These model anchors come as 11 per set. They are an excellent tool for squadrons and districts to use when teaching anchoring techniques in classes and seminars. They may be borrowed by submitting a completed Standard Order Form to USPS Customer Service. The item number is 11-63-001, and the description is Stainless Steel Anchor Set. More details including the reservation schedule and a picture of a model anchor set are on the model anchors web page. (20 Dec 11)

HQ-800 User Self-Help / Education

HQ-800 training PDF and PPTX files have been moved to the ABC3 web page under Downloadable Material.

USPS Boat Insurance Educational Discounts

The premise behind the USPS Boat Insurance Program is to reward members for their dedication and passion for on-the-water safety by providing reduced insurance premiums.  On top of low base rates, USPS Boat Insurance customers can reduce their premium even further, up to 23%, through completion of various USPS advanced courses. And completing boat operator certification can add to these discounts as much as an additional 15%, for a total discount of 38%! See the USPS Boat Insurance web page for details. (31 Oct 11, updated 01 Mar 12)

Inflatable Life Vests on Planes

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has published a flyer that clarifies what constitutes prohibited items on aircraft. Because of the compressed gas cartridges that are a part of inflatable life vests, they fit this description, but there is an exception. See the TSA flyer (894KB, PDF) under "Disabling Chemicals & Other Dangerous Items" for details. You are also advised to bring this flyer with you just in case your local TSA authority questions carrying your inflatable life vests and spare cartridges aboard. (22 Jun 10)

PowerPoint/Flash Problems

If you have been trying to use PowerPoint for one of our courses or seminars and receive the error message "Some controls on this presentation can't be activated. They may not be registered on your computer.", try the following few steps from Microsoft Tech Services that should help resolve the problem:

The error message you are seeing is usually related to a flash OCX file not being properly registered on your computer. You could try the following to resolve your issue:

  1. Quit PowerPoint.
  2. Run the following command (using Start -> in the start search box, type in the following command):
    regsvr32.exe "C:\WINDOWS\system32\Macromed\Flash\Flash.ocx"

Note that the exact path may vary and the command should be applied to any of the following files that exist in the noted directory:

  • flash.ocx
  • flash8.ocx
  • flash9.ocx

This information was contributed by P/R/C Wil Hugli. (17 Apr 10)

Maritime Mobile Service Identity (MMSI) Registrations

United States Power Squadrons is now offering MMSI registrations to most recreational boaters. Get more detailed information from the Marine Electronics web page or the USPS MMSI web page. (17 Jun 08)

Boat U.S. Hurricane Resource Center

Be prepared for hurricane season with tips from the Boat U.S. Hurricane Resource Center.

Archived Files

Various presentations, information, and files that have been listed on the Educational Department home page in the past but which may now be outdated are available on the Archived Pages web page. (29 Feb 12)

USPS Ship's Wheel Logo
Privacy | Trademarks | Disclaimer | WebMaster | ©2017 United States Power Squadrons

This page last updated Friday, May 5, 2017 20:55