Administrative Department

Membership Committee

What's a Port Captain?

Port Captain
Frequently Asked Questions


Question: What is a Port Captain?

Answer: A Port Captain is a member of the United States Power Squadrons®, who stands ready, at all times of his or her choosing, to provide advice and assistance to members, and non-members making contact.

Still, their primary expertise lies in their knowledge of local waters and unmarked hazards to safe navigation. The objective is to provide information, reliable advice and comradeship. 

It is inevitable that word of the program will circulate through the boating public....Port Captains are to project the image of being part of a fraternal organization devoted to boating safety. Persons interested in USPS or the public Boating Course (SM) will be referred to their nearest squadron commander or squadron educational officer.

Approved Port Captain applicants will be included in the Port Captain Directory available to both members and non-members.

Question: Is there a limit to the number of Port Captains?

Answer: No. The Port Captain's program is open to all willing to serve. Multiple Port Captains for a given boating area is also encouraged in order to provide access to multiple sources of local knowledge.

Question: Should new Port Captains be appointed each year?

Answer: USPS Port Captains serve for terms that are limited only by their capability and the discretion of the squadrons from which they were appointed. The practice of appointing new USPS Port Captains each year is discouraged. Local Port Captains are a choice of each "Club" and they will be included as USPS Port Captains program if a registration is submitted and approved.

Question: Why does a new Port Captain appointment require Cdr or AO approval?

Answer: The squadron is the backbone of the USPS. It is at that level that the recognition of the skills and capabilities of a prospective Port Captain are best known. The approval process for listing on the USPS Port Captain's Roster is a simple matter of the Squadron Commander or Administrative Officer acknowledging the capability of the person requesting the listing. The approval process is done via email in response to the request for approval which is generated automatically when an "add" request is submitted.

Question: What is the difference between a Waterway and PC Area?

Answer: The Port Captain's Roster is organized by state and boating areas. A Waterway is a general description of the region where the Port Captain has special knowledge. A Waterway is, for example, a large lake, harbor, or extended river or coast line. The PC Area is the specific boating area, such as south shore, inner harbor, river mile marks or distances along the ICW. Individual inland lakes are also examples of PC Areas, while the region within the state would be considered a Waterway description.

Question: How do I register or change my listing as a Port Captain?

Answer: The preferred method is to use the online form. It is available to members only on the National Website. 

The form provides three options for registration: add, change or delete.  Please select the correct option before submittal.  If at any time the Port Captain's information (state, area, waterway, chart) changes, please use the form to submit the change.

Question: How do I know that my registration has been received?

Answer: The registration forms are verified by the software. When the information has been processed, the submitter is notified by email.

Question: Is the Port Captains Directory a public document?

Answer: The Port Captains Directory is available to both members and non-members.  Disclosure is only for the intended purpose.

Question: What personal information is available?

Answer: The Port Captains Directory includes, in addition to State, Waterway, Area and chart, the Port Captain's name, telephone number and email contact information.