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Educational Department
- Boat Handling -

Lamp of Learning

Seamanship Cover



This site is provided as a means of communications with the USPS National Boat Handling Committee (BHCom).  We welcome your questions and comments on our courses, Learning Guides, and associated materials.

R/C Chris Windeler, SN
Stf/C William O'Neill, SN






Seamanship 2015 and Seamanship 2016 Instructor Manual and Exams

The instructor manual for Seamanship 2016 or the eBook version is the same as 2015. The 2016 edition has some new content in Chapters 3, 5 and 6 but not enough to change the instructor manual or the exam. The only exam now for all Seamanship courses is the new 2016 exam.

Seamanship 2016 eBook is the same as the printed copy except Chapter 5 is using the Coast Guard downloaded "Navigation Rules" instead of Charlie Wing's One Minute Guide to the Nautical Rules of the Road. (13 Apr 17)

Seamanship Course Update

Please update the Seamanship Student Manual 2016 as follows: page 136, Chapter 8, paragraph 12—"The best line here would be either single or double braid nylon." (24 Mar 17)

Cold Water Survival Tips

Cold water survival tips are available on the Useful Web Sites page. There is a pamphlet from the American Canoe Association and a page from the February/March 2015 issue of the BoatU.S. magazine. (05 Feb 15)

Corrected Homework Questions

Corrected homework questions and answers, along with an explanatory paragraph, are available on the Seamanship page under Downloadable Materials.  They are the only corrections to the Instructor's Manual at this time. (12 Nov 14)

On-The-Water Component to the Seamanship Course

A universally useful lesson plan for an On-the-Water component addition to the Seamanship course is now available for download and use by squadron instructors. It is not part of the course exam, but will aid in extending the classroom learning experience. Course instructors can start using it right away to add to their summer boating fun and share the learning experience with some of their students. Enhance member involvement by asking another member for assistance. See the download section below. (20 May 11)

USPS Local Telephone Number in Course Manuals

Some Seamanship course student and instructor manuals have no local telephone number for USPS Headquarters on the Acknowledgments Page.  The correct local telephone number is 919-821-0281.  The toll-free number is still 1-888-367-8777 (1-888-FOR-USPS). (21 Dec 10)

Seamanship 2009 Correction

Change Student Manual Chapter 5 question 20 answer d to read: "d. vessel less than 20 meters anchored in a special anchorage area". (21 Oct 09)

Correction to One Minute Guide to the Nautical Rules of the Road

Please make the following pen and ink change to Charlie Wing's One Minute Guide to the Nautical Rules of the Road, 2nd Edition (2007). Introduction, page 9, paragraph 4, line 1 change the word twenty to twelve. (7 Feb 08)

Animation and Flash Imagery Help

The Seamanship course CD contains numerous animations that help the student understand the elements of the course content better. In order to effectively present these animations, the instructor must have current Adobe Flash software operating on the computer. Flash 10 player is the current version that is available and it appears to work correctly. Several other players are available but a browser must be used to download the software. The current Flash version may be downloaded from the Adobe web site at (15 Feb 11)

Seamanship Available Online

In partnership with the University of West Florida (UWF), our Seamanship Course has been made available to those USPS members and the boating public needing an alternative method of effective boating education. Get complete details on the Seamanship Online web page. (15 Feb 11)

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Seamanship 2012 Course Description

The Seamanship 2012 course is the next step after completing America’s Boating Course, 3rd Edition (ABC3), taking the knowledge and skills learned there and expanding and extending them with this newly updated edition. Or make Seamanship the first step into building boating confidence and competence for safe and fun on-the-water adventures. Seamanship 2012 presents material applicable to both power and sail, covering such topics as the construction and functioning of a boat, the skipper’s responsibilities, preparing the boat for use, handling and maneuvering a vessel under various conditions in close quarters and on the open water, rules of the road, anchoring, emergencies, and marlinespike/basic knots. The Appendices cover boating into the waters of Canada and Mexico, the effects of weather on the boater’s health, and general information on obtaining a US Coast Guard captain’s license. It is suggested that Seamanship be scheduled over nine two-hour class sessions, one session for each chapter and one session for the proctored test.

The Student Manual 2012 Kit includes the text, a knot practice board, and the One Minute Guide to the Nautical Rules of the Road by Charlie Wing. Course instructional materials include a Microsoft PowerPoint® CD with embedded animations and audios that requires a more recent software version to perform correctly. The Student Manual 2012 has been updated with numerous error corrections and several topic clarifications. All chapter questions are now multiple choice with true/false and negative questions having been rewritten. The Instructor Manual 2009 is to be used with Seamanship 2012. Each IM 2009 includes an errata sheet with the revised questions, answers, and references. The Seamanship On-The-Water Teaching Guide is available for download on this page.

Course completion is documented by a closed book exam graded by USPS Headquarters. Note that the exam for Seamanship 2012 is the same as for Seamanship 2009.

Minimum computer requirements for this version of the IM CD are:

  • Operating System: Microsoft Windows XP or higher
    Note: Windows Vista has presented difficulty for some users. Instructors should always try out the PowerPoint presentation ahead of class time.
  • Software: Microsoft Office 2003 (Power Point) or higher; Adobe Flash 10

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Downloadable Material

Corrected Homework Questions (523KB, PDF) (12 Nov 14)

Seamanship on-the-water teaching aid Guide (161KB, PDF) (20 May 11)

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Questions or Comments?

If you have any questions or comments about, or suggestions to improve, the Seamanship course, please contact the National Boat Handling Committee chairman by e-mail, phone or postal service mail.  Please be sure to keep your SEO and/or DEO advised of any correspondence you may have with the National committee. Addresses for the National BHCom chairman are listed in The ENSIGN and on the Committee Chairpersons page.

We will try to answer your questions as soon as possible, but please allow 5 working days for an answer.

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This page last updated Saturday, January 11, 2020 21:48