Seattle Sail & Power Squadron
Membership FAQ






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Q. What is United States Power Squadrons?
A. Organized in 1914, USPS is a non profit, educational organization dedicated to making boating safer and more enjoyable by teaching classes in seamanship, navigation and related subjects.  Our members are boating families who contribute to their communities by promoting safe boating through education.  We enjoy participating with our fellow members on the water and in the classroom.  USPS has some 50,000 members organized into 450 squadrons across the country and in some US territories.  Your membership in a local squadron includes membership in the National organization.  USPS is the world's largest non-profit boating organization and has been honored by three US presidents for its civic contributions.     Return to top...
 
Q. What are the activities of USPS?
A. Each squadron's activities involve the three primary objectives of USPS: community service, continuing education, and enjoying the friendship and camaraderie of our fellow members.  See Membership Benefits to learn more.     Return to top...
 
Q. What educational courses are available to USPS members?
A. Every squadron offers many multi-week courses in subjects like Seamanship, Piloting, Plotting and Position Finding, Celestial Navigation, Cruise Planning, Engine Maintenance, Marine Electronics, Sailing, and much more.  We also offer evening seminars on specific topics like GPS or Radar.  Class materials are prepared to professional standards nationally.  Courses are taught by experienced member instructors, and members who complete them are recognized.  You only pay for the books making these classes a tremendous value.     Return to top...
 
Q. What community and civic services does USPS perform?
A. Local squadrons offer boating safety courses on a regular basis to boaters in our communities.  These courses are open to the public and there is no age limit for participants.  USPS squadrons have offered these courses for over half a century and have educated more than 3 million boaters to date. Successful completing a USPS boating safety course meets the educational requirements for boat operation in all states and is a requirement for squadron membership.  Our members also help the NOAA keep our nautical charts accurate by reporting chart corrections, and our local squadrons participate in many other community improvement projects.     Return to top...
 
Q. What social activities do members enjoy?
A. Participating both on-the-water and off with fellow members who are skilled in boating is a rewarding and enjoyable experience.  On-the-water activities include cruises, rendezvous, sail races, navigation contests and even fishing derbies.  Activities ashore include meetings with marine programs, parties, dinner-dances, picnics and field trips. Conversations about boating experiences and destinations are a learning process too, and can be a valuable resource in decision making on top of the fun.     Return to top...
 
Q. How does one become a member of USPS?
A. Membership is open to those 16 years and over who are want to learn new skills and contribute time, energy, and skills to the objectives of USPS.  Family members of all ages are welcome too.  We encourage new boaters to start with one of the Introductory Boating courses (no longer a membership requirement), but experienced boaters may now join directly to take any class, or to serve in an activity like coop charting or vessel safety checks.
 
Click here for your membership application.     Return to top...
 
Q. Do I need to own a boat?
A. No. In fact conversations, crewing and classes can be a wonderful way to clarify what first boat (or the next one) would be right for you.  Almost all rendezvous can be enjoyed by car.  Crewing for a sail race or hitching a boat ride to a rendezvous can get you on the water, and guests are welcomed by many of our skippers.     Return to top...
 
Q. Can sailors become members?
A. Of course! About half our members are sailors.  The term "Power Squadrons" in our name dates to our founding in 1914 by the power boat division of the Boston Yacht Club. Following the first World War, our ranks broadened to include all types of boats, and sailors have been a major part of USPS ever since.     Return to top...
 
Q. Where are you located?
A. The Seattle Squadron generally holds classes and meetings in the North Seattle area, so most of our members either live, work or keep their boat in the greater Seattle area. Rendezvous destinations are around Puget Sound.  We are a member of District 16 which serves Washington State; you might check their web site to see if another Squadron is more convenient. Which one you join is purely up to you.  You can always take a class or two at another Squadron when that works better for you.   Memberships can transfer to another Squadron if you move or you can be an Associate Member in additional Squadrons.     Return to top...
 
Q. Is USPS a part of or supported by the U.S. Government?
A. No. While we have many joint programs with the United States Coast Guard, the CG Auxiliary, and the National Ocean Services division of NOAA, USPS is a private, totally self-supporting organization.     Return to top...
 
Q. What if you're already a member of the Canadian Power Squadron or the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary?
A. If you belong to either of these organizations you can become a US Power Squadron member immediately.  Click here for your membership application.     Return to top...
 
Q. How do you enroll in an introductory boating course?
A. Every USPS squadron teaches at least one introductory course every year.  In Seattle a 6-week introductory course usually begins in September, then again in February, plus we have one-day classes several times per year.  Click public introductory class or advanced classes for current schedules and registration.    Return to top...
 
Q. What's in it for you?
  1. A great variety of classes to choose from: As a USPS member, you and your family can enroll in a great variety of advanced grades and elective courses which are only available to USPS members.  These courses include Seamanship, Coastal Navigation, Celestial Navigation, Weather, Sail, Engine Maintenance, Marine Electronics and Cruise Planning.  There are evening seminars on specific topics like GPS, radar, sail trim or chart reading.  In addition, USPS offers more than two dozen self study courses on such subjects as the Water Sports, Boat Insurance, Oceanography, Introduction to Sailing, Preparation for Coast Guard Licensing, and much more.
     
  2. Meeting with other boaters in your area: As a member of a local squadron (and there are approximately 450 squadrons throughout the USA, including Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands) you will join with other knowledgeable boaters in your area who are familiar with the local waters, the best anchorages, marinas, dealers and boat repair shops.
     
  3. Participation in a variety of on water activities: As a USPS member you're automatically invited to join in the squadron and district cruises, rendezvous, predicted log contests, raftings and other on-water activities.
     
  4. Savings on boat insurance: There are many marine insurance companies which provide discounts to those who complete boating courses. This savings can be significant.
     
  5. Discounts: There are discounts available on paper and electronic charts, and other boating items.  See Membership Benefits for the latest in discounts.
     
  6. Networking with other members throughout the USA, Canada and even more distant areas: Thinking of boating in a river, lake or ocean far from your home?  USPS has a Port Captain program which will provide names and telephone numbers of local USPS members who know the territory.
     
  7. Receive the USPS magazine The Ensign and the Seattle Squadron Pilot

   Click here for your membership application.

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