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MPS Education Department

The Education Department of the Milford Power and Sail Squadron is devoted to the instruction of the public and to its members. All courses are taught in accordance with the rules and regulations set forth by the National Headquarters of the USPS in Raleigh, NC. For information about MPS Education Courses contact Educational Officer Al Mongillo .
or Assistant Educational Officer Bob Post .

Public Courses:
America's Boating Course
Squadron 6 Lesson Boating Course
Chart Smart
Using GPS
Kayak Safety Course

Member Courses:
These classes are for members of any US Power Squadron Unit and are divided into Advanced Grade Courses and Elective Courses.

Advanced Grade Courses:
On passing the Advanced Grade Classes the student member will receive a rating designating their educational rank in the USPS.

These courses and their ratings are:
Seamanship (S)
Piloting (P)
Advanced Piloting (AP)
Junior Navigation (Basic Celestial Navigation) (JN)
Navigation (Advanced Celestial Navigation) (N)

Elective Courses:
Elective courese are of considerable interest but no rating is attained by completion until all courses have be successfully passed.

These courses are:
Engine Maintenance
Marine Electronics
Cruise Planning
Instructor Qualification

After successfully completing Advanced Piloting or higher and three elective courses a Certification of Educational Proficiency will be awarded to the student.

After successfully completing all advanced and elective courses the student qualifies for a grade of Senior Navigator (SN).

The America's Boating Course is an 8 hour class in basic boating. A USPS text will be supplied along with a State of Connecticut Boaters Guide. The course will address such topics as:

  • Boats, hulls and motors
  • PFD's and how to use them
  • Rule of the road and right of way
  • How to prevent accidents
  • Registration and legal requirements
  • Lights and what they mean
  • Docking, knots and trailering
  • Personal watercraft operation

A Personal Watercraft (PWC) Video will be shown to satisfy the State of CT requirement for the PWC certificate. A passing grade for the examination is 80%.

The Squadron 6 Lesson Boating Course is presented for those students who desire a more through knowledge of the same material as presented in the America's Boating Course. This course will also present a lesson on marine navigation which consists of discussions on compass use, plotting and charts. Additional time is devoted to topics of boating safety such as rules of the road and right of way. The final chapter of the text is devoted to Personal Watercraft.

This course is presented in six weekly 2 hour sessions with a seventh session reserved for the examination. A passing grade for the exam is 80%.

The Chart Smart Course is an introduction to Piloting. It presents basic navigational techniques for many uses such as:
Planning a cruise
Plotting a course
Determining your position
Estimating how long it will take to reach your destination

There are six topical sections to the course:
The Mariners Compass
Aids to Navigation
Plotting a Course
Distance, Speed Time
Determining Position

The Course has been written for presentation to the public. Each student will receive a text, dividers and a course plotter. It is a 4 hour program and on completion the student will receive a "Certificate of Completion".

Building on the basics learned in Boating, the Seamanship course is an important foundation for other "advanced grade" courses. The student learns -

  • Basic marlinespike seamanship
  • Hull design
  • Navigation rules
  • Operation under normal and adverse conditions
  • Responsibilities of the skipper
  • Fire prevention and control
  • Basic first aid
  • Common courtesies on the water
  • Boat care
  • Nautical customs and flag etiquette

This course is the first of a two-part program studying inland and coastal navigation. Its focus is on the fundamentals of piloting - keeping track of a boat's movements, determining one's position at any time and laying out courses to a planned destination. Included are subjects such as -

  • Charts and their use
  • Aids to navigation
  • The mariner's compass
  • Variation and deviation of the compass
  • Plotting and steering courses
  • Dead reckoning
  • Plotting and labeling charts

This course is the final part of the inland and coastal navigation series. Its emphasis is on the use of modern electronic navigation systems and other advanced techniques for finding position. Among topics covered are -

  • Tides and currents and their effect on piloting
  • Finding position using bearings and angles
  • Simple use of the mariner's sextant
  • Electronic navigation - Radar, Loran, GPS, etc...

Junior Navigation is the first in a two-part program of study in offshore navigation. It is designed as a practical "how to" course. Subject matter includes -

  • Precise time determination
  • Use of the Nautical Almanac
  • Taking sextant sights of the sun, moon, planets and stars
  • Reducing sights to establish lines of position
  • Special charts and plotting sheets for offshore navigation
  • Offshore navigational routines for recreational craft

This course is the second part of the study of offshore navigation, further developing the student's understanding of celestial navigation theory. The course covers -

  • Additional sight-reduction techniques
  • Honing skills in sight taking and positioning
  • Orderly methods for the navigator's day's work at sea
  • Navigating with minimal resources, as in a lifeboat

Practical GPS Seminar - 2-3 hours. For all boaters
Using handheld GPS for boating: Magellan or Garmin
Basic Theory, Practice and Applications for use
of your hand-held GPS. Settings, Menus and Features.

Kayak Safety Course - for kayakers and canoeist of all skill levels
Practical tips on kayaking, kayak and equipment selection, and rescue techniques.

You will learn:

  • Selecting a Kayak
  • Strokes - power stroke, draw, brace
  • Moving water - rivers, currents, winds and waves
  • Weather, lightning and fog
  • Hypothermia - dressing for the weather
  • Sharing the water with other boaters
  • Navigation basics, compass, charts & GPS

Pool session:

  • PFD & safety gear - selection and use
  • Practicing strokes
  • Capsizing and spray skirts
  • Self and partner rescues

Presented by Bruce Ross

Updated: May 24, 2013