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America’s Boating Course®
Become a Better Boater, Take an In-Person Boating Course.
The most comprehensive in-person boating course available, America’s Boating Course gives you the skills you need to enjoy your time on the water and boat with confidence.
Taking a boating class reduces your risk of accidents and injuries, saves you money on boat insurance, and qualifies you for a state boat license or operator certificate in most states.
Our in-person boating course includes an comprehensive introduction to boating, covering boat types, boat engines, boat selection and more.
The course is also available on-line.
Our new Boat Handling course is intended for newer recreational boaters who have completed a basic boating class (like America’s Boating Course) and want to gain more knowledge, skill, and confidence to boat safely and have more fun in a variety of situations.
Details available on the national site here.
Piloting (aka Coastal Navigation) (P)
Piloting (aka Coastal Navigation) (P) is the first of the navigational classes focusing on reading and using coastal and inland conditions. The course emphasizes plotting and checking your progress along with the use of GPS for determining position, and introduces digital charting along with traditional charting, compass and dead reckoning navigation skills. Plotting, labeling, use of the compass, aids to navigation and a host of related topics are included.
Advanced Piloting (AP)
ADVANCED PILOTING (AP) continues to build coastal and inland navigation skill, allowing the student to take on more challenging conditions – unfamiliar waters, limited visibility, and extended cruises. GPS is embraced as a primary navigation tool while adding radar, chartplotters, and other electronic navigation tools. As with Piloting, the course includes many in-class exercises, advancing the student’s skill through hands-on practice and learning. Topics covered include:
- Review of skills learned in Piloting
- Advanced positioning technique such as advancing a line of position
- Other electronics: radar, depth sounders, autopilots, chartplotters, laptop computer software, etc.
- Hazard avoidance techniques using electronics (e.g., “keep out” zones in GPS)
- Collision avoidance using radar and GPS
- Working with tides: clearances, depth, effects of current
- Piloting with wind and currents
- The “Seaman’s Eye” – simple skills for checking that one is on course.
Junior Navigation (JN)
The advanced grade course is the first of a two-course program of Offshore Navigation for the well as conventional route planning techniques. Students also learn traditional celestial navigational skills to determine position, using these techniques to check their electronics and as the backup navigation technique in the event electronics fail.
ELECTRONICS IN THE OFFSHORE MARINE ENVIRONMENT – Students will continue to use GPS as the primary position sensor, as they learned to do in the advanced grade prerequisite courses Piloting and Advanced Piloting. The offshore environment impacts how one uses the GPS and other electronic tools; students will learn about some of these considerations.
SUBSTITUTING CELESTIAL OBJECTS FOR TERRESTRIAL LANDMARKS – While offshore, visible terrestrial landmarks are no longer available to the navigator as reference points. Students will learn to substitute celestial objects such as the sun as a reference point. The course begins with the study of celestial navigation, teaching students to take sights on the sun with a marine sextant and derive a line of position from that observation.
The sun represents but a single reference point, so students will apply the principles of the running fix learned in Advanced Piloting, and be able to plot a running fix of one’s position from the sun sights. Once the student has learned the basics of celestial sight reduction, the course continues with planning, positioning, and checking one’s position the offshore environment, using both electronic and celestial tools.