Ships Wheel ®

United States Power Squadrons® 

Phoenix Sail and Power Squadron
District 28
Sail and Power Boating

"Come for the Education ... Stay for the Fun"

 Phoenix Burgee



(Class are one night per week, two hours per session)


Designed for members who plan to cruise for just a day or for a year--in either a sail or powerboat--this course covers the following topics:

  • Cruise preparation and planning
  • Boat and Equipment
  • Anchors and Anchoring
  • Security
  • Chartering
  • Cruising Outside the United States
  • Crew and Provisioning
  • Voyage Management
  • Communications
  • Navigation
  • Weather
  • Emergencies
  • The manual includes a twelve-month cruise planning time line. The course is non-modular with one final exam.

    This course is one night a week for seven weeks.


    The new Engine Maintenance course 2007 has been put into one ten chapter course that stresses the diagnosis of modern systems, while also teaching the basics of engine layout and operation. Gasoline inboards, outboards, and diesel engines are taught in a way that reinforces the common aspects of how engines work. This new course is complete in one book with one exam.

    Modern engines offer high reliability and good performance through the use of computerized systems for fuel delivery and engine timing. Most of these systems are “black boxes” that can no longer be serviced by weekend mechanics with ordinary tools. The EM course covers those repairs that do-it-yourselfers can still perform, teaches how to diagnose problems that might be beyond your ability to fix, and how to share information with your mechanic so the right repairs get performed. The new Engine Maintenance 2007 also covers basic mechanical systems such as drive systems (propellers), steering systems, and engine controls. The last chapter discusses solutions you might use to problems that could occur while afloat and away from a repair facility. Gasoline, diesel, and outboard engines are treated independently in this chapter.

    This course is one night a week for six weeks.



    Marine Electrical Systems Course Description

    The Marine Electrical Systems course is presented in seven chapters that start with an explanation of what electricity is, followed by discussions on boat electrical wiring, DC and AC electrical systems, galvanic and stray current corrosion, lightning protection, and ends with troubleshooting of boat electrical problems.

    The course includes detailed instructions on how to use a multimeter, how to solder and crimp electrical wiring circuits, and how to read electrical wiring diagrams. This course can be used as a reference guide for anyone interested in properly maintaining their boat electrical system.

    Marine Communications Course Description

    Marine Communications Systems is an in-depth, nine chapter review of those systems available to the recreational boater, or to those with whom he/she shares the water. Radio history and spectrum definitions are presented along with definitions of radio circuits that the student should learn, to choose the best communications method for his/her situation. One chapter is devoted to the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) and another to FCC Rules and regulations to set the stage for instruction of radiotelephone operating procedures (both voice and digital messaging are covered). The remaining chapters cover High Seas radio (MF/HF and satellite communications) and other systems such as Family Radio Service transceivers. There is also a chapter on troubleshooting of radio installations.

    Electronic Navigation Systems Course Description

    Electronic Navigation Systems will be the third course in the Marine Electronics series. This course is currently in manuscript but should be ready in the winter/spring of 2010 (beta testing in autumn 2009). It presently consists of eight chapters on electronic navigation instruments including depth sounders, radar, GPS, and LORAN, and on display systems including chart plotters and personal computers. EMSCom will be adding sections on interfacing these systems (bridge integration) and a section on new visual aids to piloting.


    (l-r) Bill Johnson and Rob Anderson get some hands on sail experience
    as part of the 2007 Sail course

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

     Sail 101 Basic Sail

     Sail 102 Advanced Sail
    • Sailboat Rigs
    • Sail Plans
    • Boat Design and Hull Types
    • Sails
    • Standing Rigging
    • Running Rigging
    • Wind
    • Preparing to Sail
    • Sailing Upwind
    • Sailing Downwind
    • Docking and Anchoring
    • Marlinespike Seamanship
    • Navigation Rules I
    • Wind Forces
    • Stability
    • Balance
    • Sail Shape
    • Tuning the Rig
    • Steering and Helmsmanship
    • Spinnaker Handling
    • Heavy Weather Sailing
    • Storm Conditions
    • Sailing Safety
    • Sailboat Racing
    • Race Management
    • Navigation Rules II

    This course is one night a week for nine weeks.



    The safety and comfort of those who venture out-on-the water have always been weather dependent. For both sailors and power boaters, weather determines whether they head out or stay ashore. The ancients had a curiosity beyond the practical as they mused and theorized about what caused weather events. The subject captivated them. The USPS Weather course is an opportunity for students to experience the same fascination, but with the benefit of modern science.

    And then there is the beauty: the enchanting ever-changing cloud formations; the dramatic spectacles of sunrises and sunsets; and awe inspiring clear starry nights. In this course students will be looking up to learn what the sky has to say. But becoming keener weather observers is not enough. Weather observations only have meaning in the context of the basic principles of meteorology — the science of the atmosphere.

    The mid-latitudes are a weather war zone where enormous air masses battle one another along fronts, and powerful storm systems travel across the continent, lakes and oceans. Mid-latitude weather includes the blizzards of winter, the tornadoes of spring and summer, and the hurricanes of fall. Seasonal weather cycles produce temperature ranges from hot and humid in the nineties, to freezing in the subzero twenties.

    For boaters, however, there are dangers even in the relatively benign conditions of everyday weather. Wind, rain, fog, and waves present special challenges to them. Wx08 is a general weather course benefiting those sitting in their living rooms, as much as those standing behind the helm.

    Course Materials

    The USPS Weather Course focuses on how weather systems form, behave, move, and interact with one another. The course also reflects the availability of all sorts of weather reports and forecasts on the internet. The course provides guidance for anticipating weather conditions through onboard and onshore observation. Each student receives:

    The manual’s appendices include Regional Weather (summary descriptions of weather in the major boating areas of the United States), a Glossary (terms appearing in the manual for the first time are in bold-faced type) and Homework Answers. All web site addresses in the course materials were current as of the time of publication, but may change.

    This course is one night a week for nine weeks.



    Unlike other USPS courses, the Instructor Development course is not designed to enhance boating skills. Rather, its emphasis is on enhancing instructor skills. The course has been designed to demonstrate interactive teaching methods focused on adult learning. Students are required to prepare lesson plans and give four presentations to their peers utilizing a variety of teaching aids and presentation skills. Each presentation is to be given on a topic from one of the public boating classes with the intent that upon completion of the course every student will be qualified to teach or proctor at a squadron boating class.

    Fully developed suggested lesson plans for each chapter are contained in the instructor manual and PowerPoint presentations are available, as well as overhead transparency masters.

    Although the course is designed to last six weeks, it may be different in duration depending on the number of students who enroll.

     Start Date: TBD
     Time: 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm
     Where: Courtesy Chevrolet
    1233 E Camelback Road
    Phoenix, AZ
     Contact: P/D/C Lee Whitehead, SN 480-948-3114
     Member Costs


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    This page last updated 26 February 2015