Classes and Training

For more information or to sign up for a boating class, please contact:

Flotilla Staff Officer for Public Education  – Norma Newton at (e-mail)


About Boating Safely

Duration: 8 hours
Course Description:

If you are interested in an exciting, in-depth boating safety course, check out the in classroom (seminar) version of our popular online boating course.

This beginner boating class will give you the knowledge needed to obtain a boat license or safety certification in many states. Many boat insurance companies will offer discounts on boating insurance to boaters who successfully complete About Boating Safely.

  • Introduction to Boating - Types of power boats; sailboats; outboards; paddle boats; houseboats; different uses of boats; various power boating engines; jet drives; family boating basics.
  • Boating Law - Boat registration; boating regulation; hull identification number; required boat safety equipment; operating safely and reporting accidents; protecting the marine environment; Federal boat law; state boating laws; personal watercraft requirements.
  • Boat Safety Equipment - Personal flotation devices ("life jackets"); fire extinguishers; sound-producing devices; visual-distress signals; dock lines and rope; first aid kit; anchors and anchor lines; other boating safety equipment.
  • Safe Boating - Bow riding; alcohol and drug abuse; entering, loading, and trimming a boat; fueling portable and permanent tanks; steering with a tiller and a wheel; docking, undocking and mooring; knots; filing a float plan; checking equipment, fuel, weather and tides; using charts; choosing and using an anchor; safe PWC handling; general water safety.
  • Navigation - The U.S. Aids to Navigation system; types of buoys and beacons; navigation rules (sometimes referred to as right-of-way rules); avoiding collisions; sound signals; PWC "tunnel vision."
  • Boating Problems - Hypothermia; boating accidents and rescues; man overboard recovery; capsizing; running aground; river hazards; strainers: emergency radio calls; engine problems; equipment failures; carbon monoxide (CO); other boating and PWC problems.
  • Trailering, Storing and Protecting Your Boat - Types of trailers; trailer brakes, lights, hitches, tires, and bearings; loading, balancing, and towing a trailer; towing (and backing) a trailer; boat launching and retrieving; boat storage and theft protection; launching, retrieving and storing a PWC.
  • Hunting and Fishing, Water-skiing and River Boating - Carrying hunting gear and weapons in a boat; fishing from a boat; water-skiing safety guidelines and hand signals; water-skiing with a PWC; navigating rivers, and other boating tips.
Personal Watercraft (PWC) Course

Duration: 2 hours
Course Description:

The U. S. Coast Guard Auxiliary's Personal Watercraft course is a very basic introduction to the safety issues involved when operating a PWC.

Because of its brevity, it is not approved by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) nor is it approved by most of the states which require formal instruction in order to operate a boat.

The purpose of the course and its associated text, Personal Watercraft Rider's Handbook, is to teach that PWCs are boats and that their skippers have legal responsibilities and should learn the "rules of the road."

Individuals who successfully complete the course and exam are awarded certificates and cards.

Advanced Coastal Navigation

Duration: 16 hours
Course Description:

The U. S. Coast Guard Auxiliary's Advanced Coastal Navigation (ACN) course is a comprehensive course to prepare the advanced boater with the knowledge needed to safely pilot a boat.

Topics include:
  • INTRODUCTION TO COASTAL NAVIGATION -- course overview; names and definitions of various types of navigation; steps of voyage planning and underway navigation; earth's coordinate system and its use to specify location; how direction can be measured on the surface; conversion of direction (true, magnetic, compass and relative) to another.
  • THE MARINE MAGNETIC COMPASS -- parts and principle of operation of the marine magnetic compass; concept of deviation and distinctions between compass north, magnetic north, and true north; "swinging ship" and deviation table preparation; rapidly and reliably solving TVMDC and/or CDMVT computations
  • THE NAUTICAL CHART -- characteristics of nautical charts, particularly Mercator and polyconic projections; plotting positions in terms of latitude and longitude; various chart types/scales and their appropriate uses; basic knowledge of chart symbols; rapid and reliable measurement of direction, distance, and location on Mercator and polyconic nautical charts.
  • THE NAVIGATOR'S TOOLS AND INSTRUMENTS -- navigator tools used in everyday practice; basic skills and familiarity with the use of plotting instruments; use of other instruments and equipment used in the practice of navigation.
  • DEAD RECKONING -- working knowledge of dead reckoning methods including plotting, labeling, measuring, and determining DR positions; speed, time, distance formulas and problem solving; speed estimation, tachometers and speed curves.
  • PILOTING -- Line of Position (LOP) concepts; bearing use in LOPs; running fix by advancing or retiring an LOP; danger bearings; estimated positions when the data are lacking for a FIX.
  • CURRENT SAILING -- understanding current and the motion of the vessel; current problems on both the nautical chart and maneuvering board including determination of EP given set and drift, course steered, and speed maintained; determination of actual set and drift given course steered, speed maintained, and a FIX; determination of course to steer and resultant SOA given set and drift and intended track; determination of course to steer and speed to maintain given specified track and speed of advance and current set and drift.
  • TIDES AND TIDAL CURRENTS -- understanding tidal phenomena, causes, and typical variations; appreciate the practical reasons why tides are important to the mariner; know how to use the Tide Tables to estimate the height of the tide at any time; know how to use the Tidal Current Tables to estimate the strength and direction of the current at any time.
  • RADIONAVIGATION -- understanding the basics of RDF, Loran-C, Radar, and GPS, their respective advantages, disadvantages, limitations and how they can be used to fix position; radar use for collision- avoidance CPA and target course and speed.
  • NAVIGATION REFERENCE PUBLICATIONS -- Acquaintance with the U.S. Coast Pilot, the Light List, and the Notices to Mariners; computation of visibility of lights given height of light, observer, prevailing visibility and nominal ranges; importance of up-to-date charts and other publications.
  • FUEL AND VOYAGE PLANNING -- Understand the basics of fuel planning, including the definitions of fuel efficiency, fuel reserves, endurance, and range; fuel consumption affects of such factors as hull design, engine horsepower, throttle settings, condition of bottom etc.; developing a fuel consumption curve; effects of current in fuel planning; preparing and using a "Howgozit" chart for a voyage.
  • REFLECTIONS -- Examples of 10 principles of navigation learned the hard way.

Individuals who successfully complete the course and exam are awarded certificates.