BoatU.S. FOUNDATION FOR BOATING
SAFETY AND CLEAN WATER BY CHRIS EDMONSTON
WHERE TO FIND ADVANCED BOATER TRAINING
Hands-on, on-the-water, and remote-learning tools offer
boaters great ways to hone their skills
U.S. Power Squadrons and U.S. Powerboat- ing have been leading the way in advanced boater training.
BOATERS HAVE A WIDE VARIETY of educational opportunities to learn about nautical subjects — classes are available for every- thing from ship handling and navigation skills to electrical wir- ing and engine maintenance. For 46 states, boater education is required for some subset of boaters – for example, in New York all
personal watercraft operators are required to take a course as are powerboat
operators under the age of 18. But state education requirements generally only cover basics
such as the Rules of the Road and legal topics. If you want to go beyond a basic course, here’s
a look at other educational opportunities.
KNOW YOUR ABCs — ADVANCED BOATING COURSES
Advanced courses can either be more in-depth versions of a basic course, such as the U.S.
Coast Guard Auxiliary’s Boating Skills and Seamanship, or concentrate on a specific topic,
such as navigation. And while basic courses take about nine hours to complete over one to
three classes, advanced courses can take far longer — up to 13 classes in some instances.
Courses may be found through a wide variety of outlets — community colleges, boating
schools, and marinas lead the way. The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and the U.S. Power
Squadrons are the two largest groups offering advanced classes.
Pricing is higher for advanced courses than for basic courses — typically $150 or more
— and varies depending on your location. Boat-systems courses, which cover topics such
as electrical systems and marine engines, are
also available. These are fairly hands-on and
you generally get to work on actual engines
or electrical components. The American Boat
and Yacht Council (ABYC) offers courses to
boaters nationally, but many marine businesses offer similar courses. Systems courses
can run from $500 to $1,000 or more.
PHOTO: ANNETTE TAYLOR, STONE TAYLOR PHOTOGRAPHY, WWW.STONE-TAYLOR.COM
Getting on-the-water training is one of the
best ways to learn how to operate a boat.
To get a driver’s license to operate a car, you
must take a theory class and show basic proficiency behind the wheel. This isn’t the case
for motorized vessels. There’s a vast difference in how various boats handle, and there
are many other impediments to widespread
on-water training, such as finding a location
to hold a course, vessel availability, as well as
numerous legal and insurance requirements.
Holding an on-water course for powerboat-