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


USPS University is here with new programs targeted to a range of boaters and types of boating. The hallmark of this concept is the Seminar Series. These short seminars are targeted to specific topics and needs with a two-hour format, and valuable take-away guides. Each seminar provides credits toward the soon to be released Boat Operator Certification program, and credit toward elective courses.

These seminars are available now.

Advanced Powerboat Handling
Basic Coastal Navigation
Basic Weather Forecasting

Boat Handling under Power
Boating on Rivers, Locks and Lakes

Emergencies on Board
How to Use a Chart
Fuel and Boating

Hurricanes and Boats
Knots, Bends and Hitches
Marine RADAR
Mariner's Compass
Mastering the Rules of the Road
Paddle Smart
Partner in Command
Sail Trim and Rig Tuning
Tides and Currents

Trailering Your Boat
Using GPS
Using VHF & VHF/DSC Marine Radio

Several more seminars are nearing completion and will be available soon: Knots for Mariners, Using Digital Charts, and Heavy Weather Sailing.

For more information about seminar schedules and locationa in the Phoenix, AZ metropolitan area contact

Locate a Seminar near you.

* * *

By Lt/C Joe Warren, JN

In anticipation of future potential licensing requirements for recreational boaters and in keeping with the organization’s focus on boating safety through education, the USPS has been developing Boat Operator Certification (BOC) criteria for some years now.

Certification is underway with the USPS Education Department organizing and running the program. While related to boating education, it is important to recognize the BOC is a certification program, not an educational or training program. From the USPS Education Department web page click on the BOC button for detailed information about the program.

In last month’s Bos’n’s Pipe I shared some information about the BOC program and its four levels of certification. Now I want to share some information about the Passport. The Passport is the “path” to becoming certified as, for example, Inland Navigator (IN). The passport itself is a paper document with a box for each class, seminar or skill demonstration. Each box is marked as completed by the Squadron SEO when a class is (or has been) passed. The Squadron SEO “certifies” the classes or seminars on the passport. For the skills demonstrations an appropriate certifier is the passport signer. For example, Bob Sweet, NEO, certified my passport for the fire extinguishing skill at the Tri District Conference last fall. David Allocco is our passport certifier for powerboat handling skills.

To become certified as IN, passport holders are required to complete classes, seminars and demonstrate skills. The required classes include Seamanship, Engine Maintenance and Marine Electrical Systems. Required seminars include How to use a Chart, Using GPS, Using your VHF & VHF/DSC Marine Radio, and Onboard Weather Forecasting. Required skills demonstrations include Fire Extinguishing and Powerboat Handling. For members with a full certificate, the requirements would be the two skills demonstrations, fire extinguishing and powerboat handling. For members with less than a full certificate, waivers may be obtained for some seminars.

All candidates are expected to complete the two skill demonstrations. Candidates may obtain a passport from their SEO, or online. Background materials are provided with the passport and there is a $35 charge. Once a passport has been completed, a copy of the completed passport is sent to the District 28 Regional Certifier, Van Diehl. Van keeps track of BOC activities for USPS District 28. When Van receives the completed passport, he enters the information in a database and issues the IN certification to the candidate. Once the IN certification is achieved, the member may begin work toward the next level of certification, Coastal Navigator.

Look for BOC powerboat handling skills events in the 2011 PSPS calendar. We will also schedule the fire extinguishing simulator this year, possibly in conjunction with one of the boat shows, so we may get members certified with that skill. The fire-extinguishing simulator is a lot of fun. If you have any questions or comments about the passport or the Boat Operator Certification program let me know.

Boat Operator Certification (BOC) Skills Demonstrated
By P/C David Allocco, SN

Two members successfully completed all 27 on-the-water activities for the Boat Operator Certification’s Basic Powerboat Handling skill. Cdr. Chris Lockyer-Bratton, and P/C Ron Werner performed all of the required on-the-water “gymnastics” under the watchful eye of P/C David Allocco, a BOC Certifier. Lt/C Joe Warren and Lt. Rob Anderson assisted by placing and anchoring six floating buoys that served to create a slalom course with a make shift mooring ball and range markers. Completion of the Basic Powerboat Handling (BPH) skill requires both high speed and low speed maneuvers as well as docking, undocking, and anchoring, all with effective crew communication.

The BOC activities were conducted in conjunction with the April raft-up at Deer Cove on Lake Pleasant. While several power and sailboats were rafted and enjoying each other’s company, the certification candidates were able to demonstrate their skills nearby. The anchoring and knot tying portion of the certification was completed in the cove and the docking activities were completed at Deer Cove’s landmark floating restrooms. The floating dock holding the restroom facility is especially well suited to this skill test because it may be approached from any direction, in a variety of wind configurations.

Chris at the helm as Ron observes (Oh please don't scratch my boat)

Tying up, well and truly proper—Cdr Chris Lockyer-Bratton practices his newly taught skill of tying up (left) after instructor Ron Werner, (right), shows the way. It was part of the Boat Operators Certification program that took place at the April Raft up on Lake Pleasant.

Basic Powerboat Handling is the cornerstone of the Inland Navigator Certification Passport. If you want to know more about the BOC certification, and how you can get your BOC passport, please contact David Allocco or Joe Warren.

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This page last updated 21 February 2015