Member Education

Member Education

Courses offered

Advanced Grades

Elective Courses

Seamanship Sail
Piloting Engine Maintenance
Advanced Piloting Marine Electrical
Junior Navigation Marine Communication Systems
Navigation Cruise Planning
Instructor Development
Weather
Getting to know your squadron

 

Course starting dates and other pertinent information is available from the course instructor.  If a course is offered by our squadron on a day that is a conflict, contact the Educational Officer who will check nearby squadrons for their dates.  A USPS member may take a USPS course in ANY squadron, if space is available.

USPS currently offers twelve courses to its members. These average ten to twelve weeks in duration. A few courses are longer than this and a few shorter. For a few courses, the advanced nature of the course content necessitates completing a prerequisite course. Your Squadron Educational Officer can explain these to you. (See your Roster for the name and phone number of your Squadron Educational Officer.) The remainder become immediately available to you.  If a member has particular knowledge in any subject, he/she may order and read the manual and then take the exam without classroom study. If passed, credit will be given for the course.

The courses offered are described below. The first five courses comprise a series called “Advanced Grades.”  They should be taken in the order listed, since each course builds upon the knowledge gained in the previous one. The next seven courses are termed “Elective Courses” and may be taken in any order.

Registration Cutoff Date:    Payments received after cut off dates will incur a $10 fee to cover additional shipping and handling charges

If you are interested in taking a course and one is not offered at the present time, you may wish to get a group together and request the education Officer arrange for an instructor to offer the course.

Squadron Educational Officer Lt/C Vincent J. Praino, JN email

Advanced Grades

Seamanship

The Seamanship 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 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 marlinspike/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.

Instructor:  Lt/C Justin Rapp, AP,  email or 732-656-1830

Starts:  September 2013 – Monroe, NJ
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Piloting

Piloting is the first course in the sequence of USPS courses on navigation, covering the basics of coastal and inland navigation. This course focuses on navigation as it is done on recreational boats today and embraces GPS as a primary navigation tool while covering enough of traditional techniques so the student will be able to find his/her way even if their GPS fails. The course includes many in-class exercises, developing the student’s skills through hands-on practice and learning. Ten classes of two hours each normally are scheduled for presentation of this course. In addition the students have seven days to complete the open book exam. Topics covered include:

  • Charts and their interpretation
  • Navigation aids and how they point to safe water
  • Plotting courses and determining direction and distance
  • The mariner’s compass and converting between True and Magnetic
  • Use of GPS – typical GPS displays and information they provide, setting up waypoints and routes, staying on a GPS route.
  • Pre-planning safe courses and entering them into the GPS
  • Monitoring progress and determining position by both GPS and traditional techniques such as bearings and dead reckoning
  • The “Seaman’s Eye” – simple skills for checking that one is on course.

Instructor: Arthur Ketterer, email

Starts: February 2014 -

USPS Members – $140.00      Keyport Yacht Club Members – $165.00

Non-Members – $190.00

Starts February 6, 2014 – Thursday evenings from 7pm – 9pm.
Register by:   Email Vincent Praino, JN, Squadron Education Officer, at Vincent_praino@roelynn.com to enroll.  Enroll early to secure your spot.  Make your checks payable to Raritan Bay Power Squadron and mail it to: Vincent Praino, 10 Kingsbridge Court, Hazlet, NJ 07730.  Checks must be received by January 15th latest!  No one is officially enrolled until we receive your check.
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Advanced Piloting

Advanced Piloting is the second in the sequence of USPS courses on navigation. It 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 skills through hands-on practice and learning. Ten classes of two hours each normally are scheduled for presentation of this course. In addition the students have seven days to complete the open book exam. Topics covered include:

  • Review of skills learned in Piloting
  • Advanced positioning techniques 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

Instructor: LT/C Justin Rapp AP, email

Starts January or February 2014 – Monroe, NJ
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Junior Navigation

Junior Navigation is the first in a two-part program of study in offshore navigation, followed by the Navigation course. It is designed as a practical “how to” course. Subject matter includes:

  • Precise time determination
  • Use of the Nautical Almanac
  • Taking sextant sights of the sun
  • Reducing sights to establish lines of positionJNSights
  • Special charts and plotting sheets for offshore navigation
  • Offshore navigational routines for recreational craft

In Junior Navigation, the student will continue to use GPS as the primary position sensor, as they learned to do in Piloting and Advanced Piloting. However, the offshore environment poses many different elements for consideration by the Navigator. Ocean currents, wind, and sea state all affect a vessel’s performance over the longer passages.

Instructors: P/C Manny Alvarez SN and Emanuel Alvarez AP  email

Starts:  Next course March 18, 2014.  Tuesday evenings from 7pm – 9pm. It will be taught at the Manny Junior’s office in North Brunswick.  Only the first 8 students will be accepted.
Register by: Feb 15, 2014

USPS Members – $165.00      Keyport Yacht Club Members – $190.00

Email Vincent Praino, JN, Squadron Education Officer, at Vincent_praino@roelynn.com to enroll.  Enroll early to secure your spot.  Make your checks payable to Raritan Bay Power Squadron and mail it to: Vincent Praino, 10 Kingsbridge Court, Hazlet, NJ 07730.  Checks must be received by February 15th latest!  No one is officially enrolled until we receive your check.
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Navigation

After Junior Navigation, this course is the second part of the study of offshore navigation, further developing the student’s understanding of celestial navigation theory. This Navigation 2009 course deals with learning celestial positioning using other bodies, in addition to positioning using the sun (covered in the Junior Navigation course). This course also deals with electronic software tools that can be used to plan and execute an offshore voyage. You will first learn to reduce these sights by the Law of Cosines method. Later in the course, you will learn an additional method of sight reduction, the Nautical Almanac Sight Reduction (NASR) method. You will also learn about sight planning techniques. With that knowledge, you will have the tools to take sights and complete your Navigation Sight Folder. The course includes a chapter on using a software-based voyage planning tool and a navigation program. The final chapter of the course contains a Practice Cruise that ties the separate elements of the course together.

Chapter 1. A View of our Solar System. A simple overview of how the celestial bodies in the sky appear to us on earth.

Chapter 2. Sunrise…Sunset. Finding local mean time of solar and lunar phenomena and converting the time of these events to zone time.

Chapter 3. Taking Sights and Finding Ho, LHA, and Dec. 
Taking sights on the moon, navigational planets and stars; applying proper altitude corrections to these sights to obtain Ho; applying corrections for low altitude sights; and computing the LHA and declination of these bodies.

Chapter 4. Sight Reduction and Plotting by the Law of Cosines. 
Reducing sights of the moon, stars, and planets by the Law of Cosines method; and plotting lines of position (LOPs) for these sights to obtain an estimated position, a running fix, and a true fix.

Chapter 5. Sight Reduction and Plotting by the NASR method. 
Reducing sights on the sun, moon, stars, and planets by the Nautical Almanac Sight Reduction (NASR) method; and plotting the lines of position (LOPs) for these sights to obtain an estimated position, a running fix, and a true fix.

Chapter 6. Sight Planning. 
Planning your sights to achieve good 2- and 3-body fixes, using both traditional and electronic tools.

Chapter 7. Emergency Navigation. 
Provisioning an emergency navigation kit and constructing emergency plotting sheets; and determining destination coordinates mathematically from course and distance traveled.

Chapter 8. Electronics and Software for Offshore Navigation. 
Using a software-based voyage planning tool to plan an offshore voyage (Visual Passage Planner 2); and using a navigation program in executing the voyage (Capn).

Chapter 9. Underway. 
A review of the Navigator’s duties and USPS Plotting and Labeling Standards; and setting up and using a 900 series plotting sheet. The student will execute a leg of an offshore voyage using both electronic and traditional tools, including celestial positioning. This Practice Cruise is an excellent preparation for the open book exam.

Instructors: P/C Manny Alvarez SN,  email

Starts:    2015
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Elective Courses

Sail

Sail 2009 is a completely new sail course created to serve the needs of the novice and experienced sailor, as well as the non-sailor, for basic skills and knowledge. The course starts with basic sailboat designs and nomenclature, rigging, safety, and sail processes and then tackles the physical aspects of sailing forces and techniques, sail applications, marlinespike, helmsmanship and handling of more difficult sailing conditions, navigation rules, and an introduction to heavy weather sailing. Appendices provide an introduction to sailboat racing and sailing in Canadian waters.

This new Sail course is a single volume Student and Instructor Manual (IM) developed in cooperation with the Canadian Sail & Power Squadron. Course instructional materials include material in Microsoft PowerPoint® format with embedded animations that require additional software to perform correctly

Course completion is documented by a closed book exam graded by USPS Headquarters.

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

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

Instructor:  Pat Greer SN email    Class size is limited to 6 students.

Starts: March 4th 2014 from 7-9pm

USPS Members $95    KYC Members $120

Register by: Email Vincent Praino, JN, Squadron Education Officer, at Vincent_praino@roelynn.com to enroll.  Enroll early to secure your spot.  Make your checks payable to Raritan Bay Power Squadron and mail it to: Vincent Praino, 10 Kingsbridge Court, Hazlet, NJ 07730.  Checks must be received by January 15th latest!  No one is officially enrolled until we receive your check.
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Cruise Planning

There is something very special about the thrill of cruising in new waters and the sense of accomplishment upon completing an extended cruise. To go beyond what most boaters do on a weekend overnight or even a week or so marina hopping requires boaters to leave their normal cruising areas and comfort zones. The Cruising and Cruise Planning course focuses on the planning and preparation necessary for safe enjoyable extended cruises on both inland and coastal waters.

Designed for members who cruise on either a sail or powerboat (owned or chartered)—this course covers the following topics:

  • Cruise preparation and planning – Generalcruiseplanning
  • Boat and Equipment
  • Anchors and Anchoring
  • Security
  • Chartering
  • Cruising Outside the United States
  • Crew and Provisioning
  • Voyage Management
  • Communications
  • Navigation
  • Weather
  • Emergencies

Course  runs for 8 consecutive weeks in Millstone, NJ.

To register for the course or to answer any of your questions, contact nstructor

Instructor:  P/C Jerry Borna JN email

Starts: Next course starting date February 10, 2014 7 to 9 PM in Millstone, NJ

Contact the instructor for location.

Email Vincent Praino, JN, Squadron Education Officer, at Vincent_praino@roelynn.com to enroll.  Enroll early to secure your spot.  Make your checks payable to Raritan Bay Power Squadron and mail it to: Vincent Praino, 10 Kingsbridge Court, Hazlet, NJ 07730.  Checks must be received by January 20th latest!  No one is officially enrolled until we receive your check.

USPS Members – $80.00
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Engine Maintenance

The new Engine Maintenance course 2011 has been put into one ten chapter course that stresses the diagnosis of modern systems, while also teaching the basics of engine layout and operation. Gasoline inboards, outboards, and diesel engines are taught in a way that reinforces the common aspects of how engines work. This new course is complete in one book with one exam.

Modern engines offer high reliability and good performance through the use of computerized systems for fuel delivery and engine timing. Most of these systems are “black boxes” that can no longer be serviced by weekend mechanics with ordinary tools. The EM course covers those repairs that do-it-yourselfers can still perform, teaches how to diagnose problems that might be beyond your ability to fix, and how to share information with your mechanic so the right repairs get performed. The new Engine Maintenance course also covers basic mechanical systems such as drive systems (propellers), steering systems, and engine controls. The last chapter discusses solutions you might use to problems that could occur while afloat and away from a repair facility. Gasoline, diesel, and outboard engines are treated independently in this chapter.

This course won’t turn you into an expert mechanic, but can save you time and money.

Course runs 2 hours a night for 12 weeks.enginemaintenancecourse

Instructor: P/D/C Dick Fiorentini SN  email

Starts:   To be announced
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Instructor Development

Unlike other USPS courses, the Instructor Development course is not designed to enhance boating skills. Rather, its emphasis is on enhancing presentation techniques and instructor skills. The course has been designed to demonstrate interactive teaching methods focused on adult learning. Students are required to prepare lesson plans and give three presentations to their peers utilizing a variety of teaching aids and presentation skills. The instructor may assign a topic for these presentations or you may use material and PowerPoint slides from existing USPS courses, and they may build on one another.  This course is required for all USPS instructors and re-certification is required every 4 years.

Instructor: Contact P/C Chub Varga AP  email

Starts:   Next course date to be announced
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Marine Electrical & Communication Systems

Marine Electrical Systems

This course offers you essential information about boat electrical and electronic systems in non technical terms. You will learn about proper wiring and power systems, corrosion and electrolysis. Course limited to 10 students.  George is an electrical engineer.

Instructor: P/C Jerry Borna JN, email

Starts: Next course starts September 2013

Marine Communication Systems

This course is an in-depth review of communications systems available to the recreational boater. Radio history and spectrum definitions are presented along with definitions of radio circuits that the student should learn, to choose the best communications method for his/her situation. One chapter is devoted to the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) and another to FCC Rules and regulations. The remaining chapters cover High Seas radio (MF/HF and satellite communications) and other systems such as Family Radio Service transceivers. There is also a chapter on troubleshooting of radio installations.  Course limited to 10 students.

Instructor: Jon Harrison N, email     

Starts:  Starts February 5, 2014 –  Wednesday evenings from 7pm – 9pm – Keyport, NJ
Register by: Email Vincent Praino, JN, Squadron Education Officer, at Vincent_praino@roelynn.com to enroll.  Enroll early to secure your spot.  Make your checks payable to Raritan Bay Power Squadron and mail it to: Vincent Praino, 10 Kingsbridge Court, Hazlet, NJ 07730.  Checks must be received by January 15th latest!  No one is officially enrolled until we receive your check.

USPS Members – $100.00      Keyport Yacht Club Members – $125.00      Non-Members – $150.00
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Weather

The safety and comfort of those who venture out-on-the water have always been weather dependent. In this course students will become keener observers of the weather, but weather observations only have meaning in the context of the basic principles of meteorology — the science of the atmosphere.
The course focuses on how weather systems form, behave, move, and interact with one another and reflects the availability of all sorts of weather reports and forecasts on the Internet. Wx2012 is a general weather course benefiting those sitting in their living rooms, as much as those standing behind the helm. Each student receives:

  • a Weather Manual – USPS Weather – an explanatory text with full color photographs and drawings covering weather in the United States and its coastal and inland waters;
  • a set of three Daily Weather Maps – learning aids with a compete explanation of map symbols designed to develop weather map reading and analysis skills; and
  • NOAA’s Sky Watcher Chart – a reference to assist in identifying cloud types – helpful indicators of approaching weather.

The weather course will be in Marlboro NJ.

Instructor:  Holli Eng   email

Starts  December 3rd 7-9pm

10% discount  for early enrollment!!!  Payment must be postmarked by 11/3/14

Make your checks payable to Raritan Bay Power Squadron and mail them to Vincent Praino, Education Officer, Raritan Bay Power Squadron, 10 Kingsbridge Court, Hazlet, NJ 07730.  For further information you can call 732-942-9650 ext 104
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Getting to know your squadron

Learn how to get the most out of your squadron.  You are invited to attend our seminar on the intricate workings of your squadron on the local, district and national level.  After this class you will know how to get what YOU want out of our organization, who to contact for what YOU need, and what YOU can do to get more involved.  See the pattern?  After all, it is about YOU, our member, the backbone of our organization and that is who we are here to serve.
It will be held on February 8th, 2014 from 1pm to 5pm at my home at 10 Kingsbridge Court, Hazlet, NJ 07730.
There is no charge for this class.  Please email me at Vincent_praino@roelynn.com to confirm your attendance so I can prepare accordingly.  I look forward to seeing many of you!

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USPS also offers a series of “USPS Learning Guides.” They are self-study handbooks on specialized boating related subjects of interest to skippers and navigators. Topics range from GPS to Knots, Bends, & Hitches; from Amateur Radio to Oceanography; from Boat Design & Construction to Predicted Log Contests. USPS currently has over twenty different Learning Guides.

 

There are also 18 mini courses (2 1/2 hour seminars) available to members and the public taught at various times:

  • Advanced Powerboat Handling
  • Anchoring
  • Basic Coastal Navigation
  • Boat Handling Under Power
  • Boating on Rivers, Locks and Lakes
  • How to Use Charts
  • Marine RADAR
  • Hurricanes and Boats
  • Knots Bends and Hitches
  • Mastering Rules OF The Road
  • Mariner’s Compass 
  • Mariner’s Compass
  • Onboard Weather Forecasting
  • Paddle Smart 
  • Partner in Command
  • Sail Trim and Rig Tuning
  • Using GPS 
  • Trailering Your Boat
  • Using VHF & DSCMarineRadio

Now it’s up to you. Are you ready to expand your boating knowledge and skills?