Boat Operators Certification

Boat Operators Certification (BOC)

Lead Instructor – David Greene

With the Boat Operator’s Certification Program, USPS will certify USPS members at various levels of recreational boating proficiency. We expect that these certifications will be recognized across the boating community, both domestically and internationally. In the United States, The United States Coast Guard (USCG) has asked congress to authorize the Transportation Secretary to establish requirements for standards of proficiency for recreational boaters. We intend to have USPS certification accepted as the above proof and be accepted as the national certificate for the USA.

With the Boat Operator’s Certification Program, USPS will certify USPS members at various levels of recreational boating proficiency. We expect that these certifications will be recognized across the boating community, both domestically and internationally. In the United States, The United States Coast Guard (USCG) has asked congress to authorize the Transportation Secretary to establish requirements for standards of proficiency for recreational boaters. We intend to have USPS certification accepted as the above proof and be accepted as the national certificate for the USA.

USPS currently plans four levels of Boat Operator Certification:

  • Inland Navigator (available)
  • Coastal Navigator (available)
  • Advanced Coastal Navigator (to be released later)
  • Offshore Navigator (to be released later)

Requirements

Certification at any level requires successful completion of all prescribed elements including:

  • USPS courses – completions are tracked at USPS Headquarters
  • USPS and/or non-USPS seminars – signed off by instructor and tracked at Headquarters
  • Skill demonstrations on the water or, in some cases, ashore – signed-off by trained certifier and tracked at headquarters (some may be US Sailing programs)

To be certified, a member must be at least 16 years of age, be mentally and physically capable of operating a boat, and have sufficient visual and auditory sensory ability to do so. Holding a driver’s license will suffice to certify meeting these requirements. Inland Navigator (IN) Requirements: Inland Navigator Guide (July 2011)

  • Courses
  • NASBLA approved safe boating course
  • Seamanship (or S 101 and S 102)
  • Engine Maintenance (EM)
  • Marine Electronics or Marine Electrical Systems or ME 101

Seminars

  • How to Use a Chart (CHT) (or Piloting, Chart Smart, or Boating courses)
  • Basic Weather and Forecasting (BWF) or Onboard Weather Forecasting (OBWF) (or Weather course or Weather Modules)
  • Using GPS (GPS) (or the new P or AP course)
  • VHF Radio and VHF/DSC Marine Radio (or ME 102 or Marine Communications Systems)

Skills

  • BPH – Basic Powerboat Handling skill demonstration or US Sailing Safe Powerboat Handling on-the-water program
  • FE – Use of Fire Extinguishers

Optional Endorsements

  • IW – Inland Waterways (Navigating Rivers, Dams and Locks seminar)
  • PAD – Paddle craft (canoes and kayaks) – Paddle Smart seminar
  • SA – Sailboating (or Sail or Sail Modules)

Coastal Navigator Requirements: Coastal Navigator Guide(Jan 2011)

  • Prerequisite
    • IN Certification
  • Courses
    • Piloting
    • Weather
    • Marine Communications or Marine Radio Communications (ME102)
  • Seminars
    • Mastering Rules of the Road
    • Anchoring
    • Mariner’s Compass
    • Tides and Currents (or AP course)
    • Optional Seminar: Marine Radar
  • Skills
    • NAV – On-Water Navigation
    • PD – Use of Pyrotechnic Distress Signals
  • Optional Endorsements
    • IN Endorsements plus:
    • CAN – Canadian Regulations
    • MEX – Mexican regulations

Passports

Members pursuing certification will have a “BOC Passport” to record their progress. Passports with needed supplemental materials may be purchased by the SEO from HQ. These will be signed by appropriate certifiers. For courses, seminars and skill demonstrations completed before the issuing of the passport, the SEO or certifier can sign the appropriate spaces based on national or squadron records. It is important for the member to keep a passport and for squadron certifiers to keep back-up records of these events until entered into the database.

Certifiers

Mechanisms already exist for tracking member course and seminar completions at USPS HQ. However, the skill demonstrations require certifiers. The certifiers’ key roles are to train, observe and certify demonstrations of skills and document them. Skill demos will be recorded both at Headquarters and on the member’s BOC passport. In some cases, credit may be given for skill demonstrations and seminars based on boating experience or other programs. Certifiers will assist in the preparation, processing and approval of such equivalencies. In addition, certifiers will also assist in the preparation, processing and approval of applications for certification. Certifiers will also serve as local experts and resources regarding certification for their own squadrons and districts, and will teach others how to perform the duties of a certifier.

For information on the BOC Program, email boc@bellevuepowersquadron.org .