BoatUS Foundation For Boating Safety & Clean Water


Where To Find Advanced
Boater Training

By Chris Edmonston
Published: February/March 2013

Hands-on, on-the-water, and remote-learning tools offer boaters great ways to hone their skills.

U.S. Powerboar Squadron On Water Training boat Photo: Taylor Photography

U.S. Power Squadrons and U.S. Powerboating have been leading
the way in advanced boater training.

Boaters have a wide variety of educational opportunities to learn about nautical subjects — classes are available for everything from ship handling and navigation skills to electrical wiring and engine maintenance. For 46 states, boater education is required for some subset of boaters — for example, in New York all personal watercraft operators are required to take a course as are powerboat operators under the age of 18. But state education requirements generally only cover basics such as the Rules of the Road and legal topics. If you want to go beyond a basic course, here's a look at other educational opportunities.

Know Your ABCs — Advanced Boating Courses

Advanced courses can either be more in-depth versions of a basic course, such as the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary's Boating Skills and Seamanship, or concentrate on a specific topic, such as navigation. And while basic courses take about nine hours to complete over one to three classes, advanced courses can take far longer — up to 13 classes in some instances. Courses may be found through a wide variety of outlets — community colleges, boating schools, and marinas lead the way. The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and the U.S. Power Squadrons are the two largest groups offering advanced classes.

Pricing is higher for advanced courses than for basic courses — typically $150 or more — and varies depending on your location. Boat-systems courses, which cover topics such as electrical systems and marine engines, are also available. These are fairly hands-on and you generally get to work on actual engines or electrical components. The American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC) offers courses to boaters nationally, but many marine businesses offer similar courses. Systems courses can run from $500 to $1,000 or more.

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