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Educational Department
- Basic Public Education -

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America's Boating Course Cover


America's Boating Course

Note: The original America's Boating Course is no longer accepted by NASBLA, and thus not useful to prepare students to get their state safety certificates. The original ABC has been replaced by the short (8-hour) version of America's Boating Course - 3rd Edition.

America's Boating Course (ABC) was sponsored by the United States Power Squadrons. The course was approved by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA), and was accepted by most states to meet boating license or safety certification requirements. This course was predominantly a home study course for individuals who could not attend any of the traditional courses.  The 2001 edition had a four-page Addendum to include the latest NASBLA required topics (available for download in the Download section of this page); the 2005 edition did not have an Addendum. ABC included an interactive computer CD-ROM which served as a "virtual" instructor with audio and video clips.  Most states recognized ABC as meeting their education requirements.  Some states permitted students to take an online, internet examination, but that is mostly not true now. Click here, and then select "Testing For Your State", to determine if your state permits the use of online practice and certification examinations.

The course material covered seven chapters, which touched on:

  • General information about boats and maintenance
  • Information to make your boating experience safer and more comfortable
  • Tips on being a more courteous boat operator
  • Laws and regulations to which you must adhere

This edition of ABC was NASBLA approved through 31 December 2008.



  • America's Boating Course 3rd Edition. Many of you have asked what the new America’s Boating Course layout will look like. This PDF file (196KB) shows the chapter layout and a preliminary teaching plan that can be used to by instructors for the NASBLA required material. As a reminder the student will get a CD that leads them through the NASBLA portion of the course. The NASBLA portion of the course will take a full four sessions to complete. We are still on schedule to have the manuals at Headquarters by November 1, 2008. Questions may be directed to R/C  Gene Molteni, SN, Chairman of the Basic Public Education Committee. (06 Sep 08)

  • Release of America's Boating Course 3rd Edition. There have been numerous inquiries made regarding a release date for “America’s Boating Course 3rd Edition”.  The course has been with NASBLA for approval since June. We are awaiting that approval and anticipate a usual flurry of minor adjustments and final approval prior to printing.  In the meantime we have been finalizing Chapter 5, the Piloting sections.  As a result of the delay in approval, we anticipate that we will not be able to go to print until September - too late for you to order the new course and properly prepare for the fall classes.

    Therefore, we expect to formally release “America’s Boating Course 3rd Edition” on November 1st, for Squadron orders.

    We have adequate supplies of “The Squadron Boating Course” to meet the fall requirements. We will continue to sell copies of “The Squadron Boating Course” until we run out of stock. Questions may be directed to R/C  Gene Molteni, SN, Chairman of the Basic Public Education Committee. (05 Aug 08)

  • America's Boating Course Flash Player Issue (Updated). A recent version of Flash Player from Adobe, version, may not be compatible with the ABC Courseware on all computers. If you experience difficulties, you can either download the latest version of the Flash Player (, or use your previous version by downloading the roll-back procedure and files (ZIP, 1405KB) to the root directory of your hard drive (C:\). To simplify typing the roll-back commands, ensure that you download and unzip all three (3) files to the C: drive of "My Computer".  Print and follow the instructions. (01 May 08)

  • ABC Addendum. A four-page addendum is available for all America’s Boating Course students, home study and classroom.  Obtain the PDF file from the Download section.  (11 May 05)

  • America’s Boating Course: On-line Examinations. As of January 2005, America’s Boating Course has an online, internet-based examination. Since this examination is online and unproctored, it is not accepted by all states. You should go to the ABC internet home page and check to be sure it will be accepted before recommending online testing to those ABC students in your area. Click on the menu button labeled "Testing For Your State". This web page will then give you more information about the online ABC exam.

    Districts and squadrons will probably be asked to provide proctored testing only if their state(s) is not accepting the online examination, resulting in fewer calls from ABC students. The purchase information on all internet sales will continue to be forwarded to district and squadron coordinators. It’s important that a follow-up call be made asking if USPS can be of assistance. This will give us the opportunity to introduce the students to USPS and to offer them the opportunity to increase their boating education.

    Successfully completing the online ABC exam now qualifies a person for membership in USPS. As of February 2005, the USPS Operating Committee approved accepting all NASBLA approved boating courses as meeting the requirements for USPS membership, and ABC is NASBLA approved.  Thus, if a student passes the online ABC examination, they are eligible for membership in USPS.  (03 May 05)

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ABC Contact Changes

  • Use this form to change either America's Boating Course district coordinators or to reassign a zip code to another district.

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  • ABC Addendum.  A four-page addendum is available for all America’s Boating Course students, home-study and classroom.  This Addendum should be copied as necessary and provided to all students using the 2001 Edition of the student manual for America’s Boating Course, home study and classroom.  Answers to certain examination questions will be found in this Addendum.  There is no Addendum for the 2005 edition; however, the Addendum augments the topics within the 2005 student manual and will be helpful to students in preparing for the new NASBLA Form-A examination. Download the PDF file (47KB).   (11 May 05)

  • PowerPoint Slides Available for Instructors.  Updated presentations are available for instructors using America’s Boating Course in a classroom.  Get corrections to the Basic Boating Skills CD.  (16 Nov 04)

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This page last updated Friday, May 5, 2017 20:58