Wednesday, December 27, 2006

USPS offers membership to Coast Guard Auxiliary members and Coast Guard licensees

To make the benefits of membership in the United States Power Squadron available to members of the Coast Guard Auxiliary and Coast Guard license holders, the following additions were approved as meeting the exam requirements for USPS membership:

Members of the US Coast Guard Auxiliary who have successfully completed any CGAUX course or certification program.

Any individual that has passed the following US Coast Guard license programs:
  • Launch Operator
  • OUPV (Six-pack)
  • Master’s license

In addition, to acknowledge the skills and education these members have attained, USPS is recognizing successful completion of the following CGAUX courses and CG licensing programs:

  • CGAUX Boating Skills and Seamanship or Sailing Skills and Seamanship will receive credit for the USPS Seamanship course.

  • CGAUX Basic Coastal Navigation will receive credit for the USPS Piloting course.

  • CGAUX Advanced Coastal Navigation will receive credit for the USPS Advanced Piloting course.

  • Coast Guard Launch Operator will receive credit for the USPS Boat Smart course.

  • Coast Guard OUPV (Six-pack) will receive credit for the USPS Seamanship course.

  • Coast Guard Master’s license (up to 50 tons) will receive credit for USPS Seamanship, Piloting and Advanced Piloting.

The changes are effective immediately.

    Monday, December 18, 2006

    A Visit to Portugal

    • P/Lt/C Marvin Wackley visited Portugal recently and sent the following email and photos:

      Attached are three photos I took in Portugal at the original site of "Prince Henry the Navigator's" original navigators school on the south western coast of Portugal at the town of Sagres. Photo #1 is an obelisk honoring "Prince Henry the Navigator"; Photo #3 is the plaque dedicated May 22, 1965 by the US Power Squadron, Walter J. Sutcliffe, N Chief Commander; Photo #2 is the plaque dedicated to the "second pilgrimage" dated September 16, 1987, Richard W. Miner Chief, N, Chief Commander.

    • Obelisk honoring "Prince Henry the Navigator"

    • The
      United States Power Squadrons
      Honors the memory of
      Prince Henry the Navigator
      1394 - 1460
      Whose School of Navigation,
      founded on this site, opened the way
      for worldwide explorations in the
      great age of discovery.
      Dedicated at Sagres,
      this twenty-second day of May 1965

      Walter J Sutcliffe, N, Chief Commander

    • United States Power Squadrons
      Second pilgramage to Sagres
      to honor the memory of
      Prince Henry the Navigator
      16 September 1987
      Richard W. Miner, N, Chief Commander

    Friday, December 08, 2006


    DATE: December 08, 2006 13:47:51 EST
    Office of Public Affairs
    U.S. Coast Guard

    Date: Dec. 8, 2006

    Contact: Steve Blando


    WASHINGTON - The Coast Guard reminds all boaters that beginning January 1, 2007, both 121.5 and 243 MHz Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons (EPIRBs) are prohibited from use in both commercial and recreational watercraft. Boaters wishing to have an emergency rescue beacon aboard their vessel must have a digital 406 MHz model.

    The January 1, 2007, date to stop using 121.5 MHz EPIRBs is in preparation for February 1, 2009, when satellite processing of distress signals from all 121.5/243 MHz beacons will terminate. Following this termination date, only the 406 MHz beacons will be detected by the International Cospas-Sarsat Satellite System which provides distress alert and location data for search and rescue operations around the world.

    The regulation applies to all Class A, B, and S 121.5/243 MHz EPIRBs. It does not affect 121.5/243 MHz man overboard devices which are designed to work directly with a base alerting unit only and not with the satellite system.

    This change, in large part, was brought about by the unreliability of the 121.5/243 MHz beacons in an emergency situation. Data reveals that with a 121.5 MHz beacon, only one alert out of every 50 is a genuine distress situation. This has a significant effect on expending the limited resources of search and rescue personnel and platforms. With 406 MHz beacons, false alerts have been reduced significantly, and, when properly registered, can usually be resolved with a telephone call to the beacon owner. Consequently, real alerts can receive the attention they deserve.

    When a 406 MHz beacon signal is received, search and rescue personnel can retrieve information from a registration database. This includes the beacon owner's contact information, emergency contact information, and vessel/aircraft identifying characteristics. Having this information allows the Coast Guard, or other rescue personnel, to respond appropriately.

    In the U.S., users are required by law to directly register their beacon in the U.S. 406 MHz Beacon Registration Database at: or by calling 1-888-212-SAVE. Other users can register their beacon in their country's national beacon registration database or, if no national database is available, in the International Beacon Registration Database at

    The United States Coast Guard is the lead agency for coordinating national maritime search and rescue policy and is responsible for providing search and rescue services on, under and over assigned international waters and waters subject to United States jurisdiction.


    The U.S. Coast Guard is a military, maritime, multi-mission service within the Department of Homeland Security dedicated to protecting the safety and security of America.

    Wednesday, November 22, 2006

    Squadron Inspires Sea Scouts

    The actions of the Atlanta Sail & Power Squadron Executive Committee set an example for the Sea Scouts members of the squadron. The Sea Scouts following this example took action themselves. The rest of the story is contained in the following message.

    Date: Nov 20, 2006 7:21 AM


    From: Marilyn Washburn, Ship 22 Committee

    The local Power Squadron has been wonderfully hospitable to our Sea Scouts, so when their ExComm decided to sponsor a toy drive for the children of deployed military personnel, our Scouts were excited about participating. I suggested to them that they issue a friendly challenge to the other Ships in our squadron, and was informed that my vision is too limited, that this is so important that all Sea Scouts should be invited to be a part of it. Thus chastened by the idealism and enthusiasm of our youth, I pass on to you the following Notice of Race:

    Ship 22, SSS Sargasso, of Tucker, Georgia warmly invites you to compete in The First Annual, Nationwide, Virtual Toy Cup honoring active military personnel by delivering holiday toys and gifts to their children.

    1) Rules: Most of the rules will be made up as we go, at least for this first year!

    2) Race Management: Each Ship will manage its own toy and gift collection and delivery to the children of active military personnel, and is on its honor in reporting its results to the Toy Cup Committee.

    3) Eligibility and Safety Requirements: All Sea Scout Ships are eligible to compete, and local adult leaders may enter as teams. Sea Scouts will follow the mandates of the Guide to Safe Scouting in their Toy Cup activities.

    4) Divisions: the most toys and gifts by number, by weight, by volume, by approximate dollar value; the best publicity; the best photographs of the toy and gift drive; the broadest collaboration with other community agencies; the most creative toy and gift drive ideas; other divisions as suggested by participating Ships

    5) Entry Process: notify the Toy Cup Committee off line at as soon as possible of your intent to compete; you will receive further instructions upon receipt of your declaration; all results are due on 12/31/06.

    6) Prizes: certificates of participation will be sent to all participating Ships, and trophies will be sent to winning Ships in each division

    Ladies and gentlemen: good luck and safe "sailing"!

    The First Annual, Nationwide, Virtual Toy Cup Committee:

    • Rhiannon Price Boatswain, Ship 22
    • Caleb Atubeh, Able Sea Scout
    • John Washburn, Ordinary Sea Scout
    • Specialist Training Officers, Ship 22
    • Apprentice members, Atlanta Sail and Power Squadron

    Tuesday, November 21, 2006

    Shop Ships Store

    Environmental Committee Grant Information

    Each year BoatU.S. Foundation awards up to $4000 each to local nonprofit volunteer organizations for the promotion of clean boating projects & education. BoatU.S. Foundation is now accepting applications for the 2007 grants. The submission deadline is 1 February 2007.

    Applications, grant writing guides, and simple instructions are available now on the BoatU.S. website at the link below - it is an easy process and BoatU.S. wants USPS squadrons to get these grants, so get your applications in soon!

    If you'd like assistance from the EnvCom - just email the chair:

    Friday, November 10, 2006

    A letter from St. Paul Travelers

    Dear U.S. Power Squadrons Member,

    For the past 20 years, St. Paul Travelers has been U.S. Power Squadrons’ insurance provider. We appreciate your business and look forward to continuing our long and valued relationship.

    For the members in coastal regions who were affected by the natural catastrophes of the past two years, St. Paul Travelers knew the first step in helping our boat and yacht policyholders was to get money in their hands. To date, nearly all USPS claims have been paid—a tribute to our staff who responded professionally and compassionately to the unprecedented disasters. St. Paul Travelers has been committed from day one to closing as many claims as fast as possible.

    The hurricane disasters have also impacted insurance companies, and experts predict that severe storms will continue to increase. These predictions, coupled with the continually growing population in coastal areas, are presenting increased risks that insurance companies must consider in order to offer coverage options for policyholders nationwide. According to BoatU.S., loss estimates from storms exceeded $1.5 billion for private boats alone between August 2004 and October 2005.

    The relationship with USPS is important to St. Paul Travelers. In order to ensure the USPS boat insurance program continues to be available and affordable, we have made every effort to make minimal adjustments. Upon careful analysis and research, we learned that the age of a vessel adversely impacts insurance losses more than any other criteria. This analysis uncovered that one-sixth of the program’s insureds represented 70 percent of the program’s losses. As a result, St. Paul Travelers discontinued wind coverage for vessels more than 10 years of age in the coastal and adjacent counties of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. St. Paul Travelers will continue to write windstorm-exposed business in coastal states, while routinely evaluating risk exposures and making adjustments as necessary.

    For members with vessels more than 10 years of age in the counties listed above, the following options are available:

    • Liability only policy;

    • Navigation Warranty—Endorsement to existing policy stating that your vessel will not be kept below 35 degrees north latitude between 1 June and 15 Nov.; and

    • Named Storm Exclusion—Endorsement to existing policy stating no coverage for any named or numbered storm.
    We remain committed to serving the boat and yacht industry for many years to come and providing USPS customers with the best insurance products on the market. To show our appreciation for your continued and future business, we have introduced a new contract that contains fewer exclusions and additional coverage terms. We are also offering USPS members more competitive pricing in the non-windstorm-exposed areas.If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at 732-205-9214.

    Rick SalwayManaging Director, St. Paul Travelers Luxury Yachts

    Monday, October 30, 2006

    Discontinuation of *CG

    By Kathryn Manzi
    In an effort to improve Search and Rescue Response the Coast Guard has requested all wireless providers in states other then Alaska to remove the specialized keying sequence, *CG, used to reach the Coast Guard for maritime emergency assistance.
    The *CG feature was introduced by some cellular communications companies in the early 1990’s, but never developed into a nationwide service. As wireless providers moved to digital systems, some didn't migrate *CG to the new system and others even lost track of whether or not they were continuing the feature. This patchwork of service is confusing for the mariners who choose to use it, and may, in fact, prevent them from making a timely call for assistance should they find themselves in an area where *CG is not available.
    The Coast Guard has found through research and experience that with the multitude of wireless systems and the misalignment of cellular coverage areas with our regions for Search and Rescue response, the use of this specialized service has resulted in misdirection of emergency calls. This has often added significant delays in the Coast Guard response to those calls for assistance.
    The Coast Guard has requested that the cellular companies reroute all *CG calls to the 911 Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) nearest to where the call originated. As an added precaution, mariners should stop using the special keying sequence *CG and begin using 911 on their cell phones to notify authorities of a distress at the onset of a maritime emergency if a cell phone is their only means of communication.
    The one exception to the discontinuance of the *CG specialized keying sequence is the Alaskan cellular phone region. Cell phone companies operating in Alaska all have the *CG feature available, and because the Coast Guard has a single number for routing those emergency calls, the cellular and Coast Guard regions are fully aligned; calls are not missed and can not be misdirected. The *CG feature will remain active in Alaskan waters.
    Mariners are encouraged to invest in a VHF-FM radio as their primary means of distress alerting on the water. Communication via VHF-FM radio provides superior alerting capabilities over cellular phones.
    A VHF-FM radio provides superior service in a maritime emergency because:
    • When a MAYDAY is sent out via VHF-FM radio it is a broadcast, not just one party is receiving the distress call; any nearby boaters can hear the distress call and offer immediate assistance. Cellular phones are point to point; other boaters in the area can not hear the call and consequently will not be able to respond.
    • With the Coast Guard’s Rescue 21 system improvements to the National Distress and Response System (which is monitored by Coast Guard Sector communications centers) coming on line, any call, distress or otherwise, placed over a VHF-FM radio will have an associated line of bearing (LOB). This LOB significantly narrows the area to which Coast Guard or other responders must look to find the boater making the call. In many locations two or more LOB’s will be associated with a call; the intersection of those LOB’s will provide the position of the caller. A cell phone doesn’t do this. If the distressed caller does not know his location it is difficult and time consuming to determine a position through the wireless companies. This is often aggravated by low batteries and poor reception.
    • VHF-FM radios are manufactured today with Digital Selective Calling (DSC). This feature provides the mariner with an emergency feature that will send a distress with the vessel’s information and Global Positioning System (GPS) location at the press of a button. It is important to note that the DSC radio must be properly registered with an MMSI number through Boat US and the radio must be properly interfaced with the GPS in order to send an accurate position to assist emergency responders to respond to the distress.
    All maritime boaters should have a VHF-FM radio onboard their vessel to assure any calls of distress are heard immediately. Cell phones should only be used as a secondary means of communications. If the cell phone is the only means of communication available then remember, as with any land based emergency, the number to call rescue personnel is 9-1-1. *CG is no longer available. Have a fun and safe boating season.

    Wednesday, October 25, 2006

    Boating Safety Youth Program Award

    Individuals or groups who help kids learn how to stay safe on the water are encouraged to participate in the 2006 National Safe Boating Council (NSBC) Boating Safety Youth Program Award. The program recognizes individuals or organizations that have developed and implemented innovative youth boating education programs that focus on recreational boating safety. Co-sponsored by the Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatU.S.), The award includes a $2500 cash prize. The deadline to apply is December 31, 2006.

    Qualifying youth boating programs must include boating safety practices targeted to youth less than 18 years of age. Previous awards have gone to school districts, summer camps, scouting groups and U.S. Power Squadrons.

    The $2500 prize award, provided to be used to implement or enhance a youth-oriented boating safety program. This can include equipment, audio-visual aids, printing, teaching aids, program promotion and advertising, or rental of a meeting space.

    As a winner, one representative will be invited to attend the annual International Boating and Water Safety Summit. March 2007. The summit will be in San Antonio, TX. The winner will be provided transportation, hotel accommodations and meals.

    During the Summit they will be able will present a conference session on their award-winning program

    For more information and an application, go to and click on "award programs".

    The NSBC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization for the advancement and promotion of safer boating through education. It is comprised of over 333 national, regional and local boating and water safety agencies, organizations and corporations. BoatU.S. Is the nation's leading advocate for recreational boaters providing its 665,000 members with a wide array of safety and consumer services.The United States Power Squadrons, a 501 (C) 3) non-profit organization was founded in 1914.

    50 thousand members in the United States, offshore territories and Japan populate 450 Squadrons

    USPS members develop, promote and provide water safety programs for children and adults, boating educational opportunities and activities that enhance the on the total experiences of the boating public.

    To contact USPS, check out the web site at or call - 1.888.367.8777

    New USPS Guide on Knots, Bends, and Hitches

    Raleigh, NC – The United States Power Squadrons® has authored a new guide entitled, “Knots, Bends, and Hitches” published by McGraw-Hill.

    “We tested every knot to make sure it was relevant and practical for your boating needs,” said Jon Bennett, editor of the guide. “Today, an image as a boater, as well as the security of the boat, are dependent upon skills with the art of marlinspike. While there are many books on knots on the market, this is the one to own and use. This practical guide has a spiral binding so it can be laid flat for practice. It explains which rope to use, how to handle it, and the uses for various knots, bends, and hitches.

    Containing hundreds of superb hand drawn images showing step-by-step how to tie these various forms of knots, the selection focuses on the boater with practical marine knots that are easy to tie, easy to untie, and tailored to their application. In addition, the guide shows how to tie a number of decorative knots that long have separated the more experienced mariners from the beginners.

    The guide can be purchased at any bookstore, marine store, or by contacting USPS at, or by phone at 1-888-FOR-USPS.

    Monday, October 23, 2006

    New Guide for GMDSS and Marine Radio

    Raleigh, NC The Boatowner’s Guide to GMDSS and Marine Radio , authored by the United States Power Squadrons and published by McGraw-Hill is now available in book stores as well as marine center book sections.

    GMDSS (which stands for Global Maritime Distress and Safety System) is now the international standard for radios used on boats. The U.S. Coast Guard is in the process of implementing a new generation of radio monitoring equipment to go along with GMDSS. This important guide is a great “go to” resource to understand how to use these new radios as well as the new communication / location system.

    “VHF radio is our primary means of safety and operational communication on the water,” said guide editor Walter Fields, who is also Chairman of USPS Electro-Mechanical Systems group. “Today, Digital Selective Calling (DSC) has vastly improved the reliability and efficiency of these calls but unfortunately, you cannot place practice distress calls with your radio,” says Fields. “With this guide and the simulator, you will understand and become comfortable with the new radios. and system. Using GMDSS, boaters will have a better chance of being heard in the event of a distress, plus their positions will be automatically transmitted to the Coast Guard and all boats nearby in a position to help“.

    When GMDSS calls are made to other parties - the called radio sounds an alert. The two parties are automatically switched to selected working channels for communication, saving time and minimizing confusion for all users.

    The USPS Guide includes an interactive CD which permits readers to practice making simulated DSC-assisted calls. This CD is the product of a joint program with the Canadian Power Squadron’s and was developed by Morton Biback, chair of the companion group in Canada

    The USPS BoatOwners Guide to GMDSS and Marine Radio is the best reference for the latest in marine radio and may be purchased at any bookstore, marine center, or through USPS via internet, or phone 1-888-FOR-USPS (1.888.367.8777.)

    NASBLA recognizes USPS Game

    Raleigh N.C. - Sept 01 2006 - National Association Of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) awarded the Seal of Safe Boating Practices to United States Power Squadrons (USPS) Water Smart From The Start(SM) an “on-line” and CD based game designed to provide an enhanced learning experience for young boaters.

    Game designer, Drex Bradshaw, received the award letter of recognition provided by Betsy Woods, NASBLA Education Chair. Ms Woods noted “ that the computerized game entitled “Water Smart from the Startis awarded the NASBLA Seal of Safe Boating Practices. This recognition will acknowledge worthy safe boating publications, videos, films, CD ROMs and other media, even though due to the nature of the product as a toy it is not eligible as a NASBLA approved boating safety course.”. Ms Woods added “The recognition will allow the display the trademarked “NASBLA Seal of Safe Boating Practices” logo on the USPS products with the message “This material is recognized by NASBLA to benefit boating safety.”

    The online version of Water Smart from the Start can be found at

    WaterSmart from the Start was presented to the kids at the Children’s Hospital at Montefiore, Bronx NY in August. “The youngsters really enjoyed the experience.” remarked Roberta Dougherty, Chair of Outreach Programs for USPS. She noted “The hospital wants additional training for the Carl Sagan interns. This additional training provided by USPS volunteers in November will assist paid college interns as they use the program with other young patients to make their virtual boating experience even better and help the child heal through positive interactive play.

    Mrs.. Dougherty indicated that other groups have or are planning to use WaterSmart From The Start and cited its use by the Hampton Child Development Center in Hampton, VA and parts of the program are used by 5th and 6th graders in the public schools of Northern Neck, VA. education programs”. Course designer, Drex Bradshaw indicated that the program is great for after school activities and day care centers. "It lets the kids run boats as though they were in the water, and they don’t even get wet”.

    Interest and support has been extended to the project by: The National Water Safety Congress, Boy Scouts of America -Sea Scouts, National Water Safety Congress and US Army Corps of Engineers. These organizations along with the United States Power Squadrons make up the National Safe Boating Consortium.

    To obtain additional information about USPS. local squadrons or WaterSmart from the Start, click on the USPS web site at or call 1-888 FOR USPS

    The United States Power Squadrons® (USPS) was organized in 1914 and is a non profit, 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to making boating safer and more enjoyable. USPS members teach classes in seamanship, navigation and other boating related subjects.

    Over 50,000 members are in 450 squadrons across the country, in several US territories as well as Japan . USPS members are families contributing to their communities by promoting safe boating through local activities on the water and ashore.

    Saturday, September 23, 2006

    Three USPS Districts Hold Regional Meeting

    Five States Represented as Three USPS Districts Hold Regional Meeting in Phoenix - 28 September

    Three United States Power Squadron Districts will meet with boaters representing squadrons from five states as well as Japan in a four day Tri District Meeting in Phoenix . Booked into the Phoenix Airport Hilton Hotel, the four day confab will start on September 28.

    Connie Johnson, Past Commander of Phoenix Sail and Power Squadron is chair of the conference noted that “ This conference will have USPS boaters that are involved in , and teach about almost every type of boating that there is, from river, lake and stream to blue water off shore racing and cruising. We will all be discussing our sport“. Connie Johnson also indicated that a key feature of the conference will be the introduction of a brand new extensive boater education program dubbed “USPS University” This new program will provide Operator Certification for several different on the water interest areas and will be taught by certified Squadron instructors . “With the wide ranging personal boating interests represented in the members attending, this will be a natural location and time to preview USPS University.”, noted host district Commander Bill Johnson of Phoenix.

    To highlight the new program will be a series of seminar vignettes introducing some of the soon to be available seminars available from USPS squadrons the seminars will include presentations ranging from On-board Weather Forecasting, GPS, VHS and GMDSS Marine Radio and a brand new presentation covering knots splices and hitches to tie it up.

    District Commanders that are involved in the wide area meeting are Bill Johnson, Commander of District 28, with five squadrons in Arizona and Southern California, Gary Smith Commander of District 25, with eleven squadrons in Northern California . Commander Marla Brown , leads District Thirteen the only international District in USPS with eighteen squadrons in California, Nevada, Utah, Hawaii and Tokyo Japan.

    Members of the Operating Committee and the entire USPS national bridge will be arriving to support the regional meeting . The USPS executive officers are: Chief Commander, Ernie Marshburn, North Carolina, National Executive Officer Creighton Maynard, Texas, National Education Officer Richard Kyle, Connecticut , National Administrative Officer, Frank Dvorak, Washington, Treasurer, Joe Mesenburg, Ohio amd Secretary Robert Baldridge, Louisiana . Rounding out the Operating Committee will be Rear Commanders Alan Wentworth, Shirley Van Rea, Alan Lakin, Darrell Allison, and Michael Horowitz, as well as several other committee members attending the Phoenix confab Operating Committee Members live in Texas, . Louisiana, Ohio, Washington , North Carolina, California Michigan Wisconsin and Connecticut .

    “The best part about a District Conference is the opportunity to learn new things”, remarked D/13 skipper Marla Brown. “This conference attracts USPS boating people from the entire Southwest plus about as off shore as a person can get. What a great opportunity to introduce new ideas and find out about the many types of boating experiences from our members “.
    The United States Power Squadrons, a 501 (C)(3) non-profit organization founded in 1914. 50 thousand members in the United States, offshore territories and Japan populate 450 Squadrons.

    USPS members develop, promote and provide water safety programs for children and adults, boating educational opportunities and activities that enhance the on the total experiences of the boating public.

    To contact USPS, check out the web site at or call - 1.888.367.8777

    Wednesday, August 23, 2006

    On-Board Amateur Radio Topic of New USPS Book

    Raleigh, NC –“Marine Amateur Radio” authored by The United States Power Squadrons and published by McGraw-Hill. is now available on the shelves at bookstores and marine centers.

    “For offshore, most mariners use single sideband high frequency marine radio,” said Walter Fields, editor of this guide and Chairman of Electro-Mechanical Systems for USPS. “Since amateur radio has more options, many mariners have chosen to get their licenses. This is the book to check out if you are an offshore boater and want to communicate”.

    The USPS Guide walks through the exciting hobby and skills of amateur radio. It is written with the mariner in mind, but amateur radio is a broad field. This guide was written for all those interested in radio. The publication is also available from the Amateur Radio Relay League (ARRL), which is a USPS partner organization.

    The publication explains how to get involved in amateur radio and how to locate specific channels assigned to marine radio. Amateur radios can also be used for data connections, to send e-mail and data as well as voice. Fixed and mobile radios are described and information about shipboard installations often requiring special considerations, especially for the larger antennas required for communication within the amateur frequency band.

    For mariners that venture beyond sight of shore and beyond VHF range, time reading the guide is time well spent especially if there is an urge to become an amateur radio operator and use the marine frequencies. This guide will show the way.
    The guide can be purchased at any bookstore, marine centers or by contacting USPS at, or 1-888-FOR-USPS. (1.888.367.8777)