United States Power Squadron Piloting Course

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Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Nov 11, 2009 8:04 pm
Boat_year: 2005
Boat Make: Macgregor
Boat_Model: 26m
Boat_Name: moondancer
DSC_number: 0

United States Power Squadron Piloting Course

Post by moondancer » Sun Apr 28, 2013 7:27 pm

Hello Everyone
Alright at the last club meeting I promised to write something in a week. It has been about 4 weeks now so I think it is not too late. Kathy and I have just completed the USPS Piloting course. As begining sailors we wanted to be as safe as possible and if I dropped the chartplotter off the side of the boat while setting up and it broke or drowned in the water as I set it up once we launched I would be pretty much lost in a not familar area. What would we do in heavy rain or fog if the chartplotter wouldn't work. Of course I only sail in bright sun and fair winds and Mother Nature will never put a storm in my way. So what we learned was basic navigation techniques using line of sight fixes and charts, of course the basics of reading and understanding the charts was included. When we got that part down they transitioned into handheld GPS and we were able to increase our positioning accuracy on the chart. We learned how to take a bearing line using the boat compass and a handheld compass also. Taking two careful bearings it is surprising to me how close you can get to your actual GPS position. Then we went over trip pre-planning; routes, hazards, points of interest and safe passages. Putting down waypoints on your chart and checking them when you get there which will tell you how close you followed your pre-planned course. The course was 2 hours one night a week for 6 weeks (I think). Also I think it is available on-line now also. At the end there is a take home open book test and practice route charting to do which is corrected and graded in Maryland headquarters. The test takes about 5 -12 hours to complete. Knowledge is never a bad thing and I can whole hearted recommend anyone taking this course. I have procured a handheld compass as backup and am in the process of shopping for a handheld battery powered GPS. I am thinking of taking the advanced piloting course when it comes available which will build on the new skill I have developed. Wow re-reading this it sounds like an advertisement. Take care all. Mike

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Joined: Fri May 09, 2008 8:41 am

Re: United States Power Squadron Piloting Course

Post by OverEasy » Mon Apr 29, 2013 10:32 am

Congrats Mike, that's great!

I took my USPS twenty three years ago, and there's always new things to learn.


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