Wednesday, January 24, 2007

USPS Compass points the way

The United States Power Squadrons, already a leader in boating education, skill development and safety, breaks ground with a new electronic news source.

Known for its premier magazine, The Ensign, USPS recognizes that some information can’t wait and so designed Compass to fill the need. Published bimonthly, Compass will contain information vital to the boating public as well as USPS members.

Since 1914, USPS has been an innovator in preparing boaters to enjoy their time on the water. From the early days of steam engine maintenance, on-the-water drills and celestial navigation to the fuel-injected jet boats and GPS plotters of today, USPS has been a leader in boating education, skills and fun. And the changes keep coming In 2007, USPS kicks off operator certification and introduces new courses and seminars. Compass is your way of keeping up.

To subscribe or view the first issue click here.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Information for California Boaters from the USPS Environmental Committee

NOAA, Great Lakes Environmental Research Lab Zebra mussels on a stick.
Photo by Simon van Mechelen, University of Amsterdam, 1990.

FROM: California Department of Boating and Waterways

Please clean all boats and trailers from Lake Mead! Zebra mussels have been confirmed by Wen Baldwin, Lake Mead Boat Owner's Association at Lake Mead on January 6th, 2007. This is the first population of zebra mussels established west of the Rocky Mountains, which is over 1000 miles away from any other confirmed population. The zebra mussel is a fresh water mussel that has already invaded the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River basin causing billions of dollars of damage to power plants, public water facilities, and boaters. If the zebra mussel gets into California, it will have significant impacts on the water transport facilities, boating, and the environment.

California resource managers are currently working to increase boat inspections at agricultural inspection stations and to increase monitoring for zebra mussels at fresh
water locations.

Zebra Mussels can spread on boat hulls, in water (as microscopic larvae), and on aquatic plants. Zebra Mussels are bad news for boaters. They can:

1) Ruin your engine by blocking the cooling system - causing overheating.
2) Increase drag on the bottom of your boat, reducing speed and wasting fuel.
3) Jam steering equipment on boats.
4) Require scraping and repainting of boat bottoms.

Before Launching...Before Leaving:

1) Remove aquatic plants from boat, motor and trailer.
2) Drain lake or river water from your equipment including the motor, bilges, live wells, bait buckets, and coolers.
3) Dispose of unwanted live bait on shore or in trash.
4) Rinse boat and equipment with high pressure or hot water, especially if moored for more than a day, or Dry everything for at least 5 days.


USPS is a partner with in the ANS (Aquatic Nuisance Species) Task Force public awareness campaign "Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers," sponsored by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Coast Guard. More information, details, procedures and educational resources can be found on the campaign website at Contact the EnvCom Chair for high resolution graphics of customizable campaign brochures, stickers and banners. Individual squadrons can use these materials and take credit for the message!

R/C Jean Hamilton, SN

Chairman Environmental Committee

Additional resources and information on how to clean your boat to stop the spread of zebra mussels can be found on the following web site:

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

D/21 Conference at Sea - or thanks to Hurricane Rita

When time came for Beaumont Power Squadron to host the D/21 Fall 2006 Conference, members were not daunted by the devastation of meeting facilities in the Beaumont area – they just went to sea!

Departing Galveston Thursday afternoon before Halloween, 186 D/21 members, family, and friends set sail aboard the Carnival Ecstasy on a 4-day cruise to Cozumel, Mexico. While having a terrific time – members still managed to hold a Council and Conference meeting where significant business was completed; held two standing-room only seminars on Leadership Development and Taking Sights at Sea; held a virtual Teaching Aid exhibit via PowerPoint; and held a touching memorial service Sunday at ship’s stern.

Did we say terrific time? Since the meetings and seminars were held on the two days at sea, Saturday in Cozumel was “free time.” Members shopped, dove, snorkeled, shopped, toured the jungle, toured the tequila factory, shopped, sailed, communed with the local fauna, got tattoos, and did I mention shopped? Hospitality suites were not missed since the D/21 group had two free cocktail parties! All the fun, none of the prep! Food? No chicken banquet meals at this conference!

D/21 children were handed over to Camp Carnival shortly after boarding and completion of the life boat drill, then returned to parents as we disembarked. Activities included scavenger hunts, disco dancing, bingo, painting, and more. Both adults and kids trick or treated in costume.

Since the event was so successful, and costs are comparable to hotel and banquet fees, Shreveport Sail and Power Squadron has elected to repeat the cruise for the D/21 2007 Fall Conference. Come join us!

R/C Jean Hamilton, SN

Friday, January 12, 2007

Continuing Education: USPS University

--- A Critical Need for 21st Century Boating --- Continue the Education --- Continue the Adventure

The United States Power Squadrons has had a long and distinguished history in the field of boating education; a history that has seen a transition from preparing sailors for war to safety instruction involving recreational boating. Today, USPS is embarking on a grand plan for expanding that educational base through an outreach program known as USPS University.

To meet this challenge, the United States Power Squadrons has developed and made available, a program of continuing education that has the flexibility of change and is provided in a recognized format: The USPS University and a United States Power Squadrons Boater Certification Program.

Today’s Boating and Boats
Today’s on the water technology is more advanced; equipment is hotter and more complex. There is a definite continuing need to have an in-depth knowledge of many facets of boating, in the water and on the boat that go into the mix making boating fun and exciting.

Up-to-date information is important and necessary. New boats have space age electronics bolted into the boat or packaged in a completely portable carry-on arrangement. Materials and finishes of new hulls, decks, topside and interiors, have names and chemistry that didn’t exist a few years ago and require something different for maintenance-- other than the usual can of paint or varnish. 21st Century construction and fabrication methods dictate that boat owners are faced with unique conditions for navigation, operation and care of the craft. Technical advances support unique and different computer based operation, navigation and information systems. These products are available from many suppliers off the Internet or imbedded into electronic chips in the equipment and often, available for purchase with the boat. New examples of such technology are nautical charts completely downloadable to a laptop computer with the latest updated information, affordable to boaters and available at the click of a mouse. The laptop is fast becoming a critical part of the control station on almost any size boat.

Different Water – Different Needs
The educational needs of fishing or water skiing on Lake Mead or boating on a local lake or river are vastly different than the challenges facing a boating family putting out for several days and many miles of coastal cruising to the shores off Lake Michigan, off Puget Sound, off Miami or off-shore from San Diego. Throw into the mix the information needed to be successful in sail racing, offshore cruising, cruiser navigation, various paddle sports or perhaps trailering a boat to new and different shores. The conditions vary and the need to know is intensified with each on the water activity. We no longer can assume that a “one size fits all” boating class will do the educational job of the recreational boating enthusiast.

It is clear that a comprehensive and custom tailored boating instruction program is needed for today’s often-complex hi-tech and high energy on the water environment. Until now, there was no complete, updateable certifiable continuing education program for boaters.

What was Available in Support of Recreational Boating
The programs recognized or provided by many states often provide very short programs requiring but a few hours to review. Also available are many self-directed courses designed to emphasize the safety needs, some rules of the road and a heavy dose of the state rules and laws and occasionally some very limited navigation instruction. A quick and short course only provides the very bare bones information with a target of reducing boating accidents on the water. From that stand point, the short course concept has had success. The numbers issued by the US Coast Guard and the various State Boating Law Administrators indicate a reduction of reported accidents and deaths that is often attributed to the required or recommended learning programs in place.

This is good -- but better is now attainable!

Welcome to the 21st Century of Recreational Boating
USPS recognizes there is a need to find out what is right and more importantly, know what is wrong. USPS has continually taught basic and advanced recreational boating programs since 1914 and has a special interest in the education of people who find joy in “simply messing around in boats” and believes that the best way to approach the information challenge is to provide a comprehensive program that is user based, selective in content and has the look and feel of a substantial educational program.

The USPS University and the USPS Boater Certification Program
Chief Commander Ernie Marshburn describes the program, “The Boater Certification Program, a result of the new boating education structure that will be called USPS University, identifies, provides and instructs the courses that will enhance specific on the water experiences and provide the correct and necessary need-to- know information”.

How Does USPS University and the USPS Boater Certification Program (BCP) Work?
The Boater Certification Program, identifies, provides and instructs the courses that will enhance specific on the water experiences and provide the correct and necessary need-to- know information.

In the USPS BCP, a series of core courses are clustered with an assortment of seminars made available by the member squadrons. This boater certification will include proficiency and skill building activities plus instruction and examination, covering elements of recognition for close to shore operations and navigation. Instruction for the offshore sailor and cruiser as well as advanced coastal navigation covers coastal boating with curriculum and instruction targeted to offshore and extended boating adventures.

At the successful completion of the various levels of the program a certificate is awarded as well as a wallet card for personal identification.

High Quality Instruction
USPS insures that the instructors are technically the very best. USPS has developed a comprehensive, national Instructor Certification program to insure that the material delivered in the USPS public education programs and seminars is state of the art and professionally presented by the squadron instructors. National Education Officer Dick Kyle noted that, “Thousands of USPS instructors have completed this new instructor certification program. Every day the number increases as the USPS instructors complete the certification program and obtain their USPS teaching recognition. The quality of our instructional staff is critical to the acceptance by the boating public and ultimately the success of the new USPS University program.”

Reflecting on these exciting new educational programs, Chief Commander Ernie Marshburn notes, “ In its simplest form, USPS University is designed to mimic the breadth and scope of a modern education system by significantly and immediately expanding the range of courses on topics of interest to USPS members and to the general recreational boating public. USPS courses will span the range from traditional to modern navigation techniques, from sextants to GPS, from VHF to Ham Radio, and beyond. The goal is to offer a full featured and diversified curriculum in boating education that is tailored to meet the needs of the basic boater while building advanced skill levels for experienced boaters”.

The USPS University courses are envisioned and modeled on a principal similar to the US Coast Guard Captains License, as for credit courses and enhanced with mini-courses, and short seminars. Completion of the programs will lead to boat operator certification in four increasingly complex levels of competency; i.e. Inland, Coastal, Advanced Coastal, and Offshore Navigation. Coupled with recognition of our recreational boating partners, the program will provide certification that is nationally recognized with the fun and satisfaction of educational and personal success.

A curriculum is being established to: (1) map current USPS courses to certification levels, (2) add seminars and mini courses, (3) add skill demonstrations.

In addition, USPS is seeking partners in other organizations and companies to assist and sponsor some of these programs, rapidly bringing relevant and modern boating education to the marketplace.

Current plans are for the full program to be launched by January 2007. For existing USPS members, the new program will permit broader selection and flexibility in designing an educational curriculum allowing members to select which electives they are most interested in.

Kicking off phase one of the program, are six new fun and interesting USPS seminar courses. Seminar discussions and skill building activities are targeted to GPS, VHF and GMDS Radio Systems; Knots, Bends, and Hitches; Boat Handling; Weather; and How to Read a Chart.

With expanded curriculum, the reason for the label USPS University is apparent with broader and more flexible choices of educational topics and a number of certificate options.

The best way to get this grounding (pun intended)) is to be able to continue the search for comprehensive and complete knowledge about boating.

Boating information is like the tide - always moving - always changing.

For additional information about the United States Power Squadrons University, other educational programs, membership or activities, click onto or telephone USPS Headquarters at 1 888 FOR USPS ( 888-367-8777)

Monday, January 08, 2007

Inaugural Edition of Classic Yacht Features USPS University

USPS University ™ is featured in the inaugural edition of Classic Yacht© a new E magazine. USPS media releases and feature articles will be a continuing part of Classic Yachts future editions .

Mr. Bill Prince, publisher of the new publication has installed a USPS feature article as part of the inaugural edition of Classic Yacht focusing on USPS University and Boater Certification. Bill noted that “education is a key part of the recreational boating world and Classic Yachts is a great way to support and identify the Squadron activities”.

With a mix of great photography, easy to access pages and a comfortable format that gives you an ’old friend’ feeling this is a great read, cover to cover. Also found in Classic Yacht are superb pieces covering such subjects as “ the Victor Tugs of Seattle, Teaching kids the art and skill of boat building at the Brooklyn Boat Yard and Restoration of a ‘63 Bertram 31 plus some great pieces about several classic yachts and lots of really neat information that is just plain fun. .
The cost of this magazine is unbelievably reasonable It is free for subscription. There are many Emags in Cyber Space , If the quality of the kick off edition is a guide, Classic Yacht will be a publication classic and will set a high bar for recreational boating cyber publication.

Here is where you click on to get your free subscription -

Contact: USPS Marketing and Public Relations -
R/C Darrell Allison - 714-893-4455