All courses offered by the Dayton Sail and Power Squadron have been developed by the United States Power Squadrons, and are taught by dedicated volunteers who are also experienced boaters. The cost of our courses is basically the cost of the educational materials plus a small administrative charge for copying, mailing exams, and other teaching supplies.

Contact the Squadron Education Officer at


The courses are divided into basic boating,  seminars, advanced grade, and elective courses, all of which will be outlined below.

America's Boating Course, 3rd Edition:

This basic public boating safety class covers the required material to satisfy state boating education requirements for boaters. It includes types of boats and characteristic performance of hulls, required equipment, rules of the road, navigation aids, adverse conditions and safety considerations, introduces marine communication and marine charts, and water sports safety introduction. It is an eight-hour course with a proctored exam covering course materials plus state operating laws.

Seminars: Our many seminars are two to four hour, one or two evening classes on specific topics of importance to becoming a safe and educated boater. A listing of the seminars offered by USPS is given below:

  • Advanced Powerboat Handling
  • Anchoring
  • Basic Coastal Navigation
  • Basic Weather and Forecasting
  • Boat Handling under Power
  • Boating on Rivers, Locks and Lakes
  • How to Use a Chart
  • Hurricanes and Boats
  • Knots, Bends and Hitches
  • Marine RADAR
  • Mariner's Compass
  • Mastering the Rules of the Road
  • Paddle Smart
  • Partner in Command
  • Sail Trim and Rig Tuning
  • Trailering Your Boat
  • Using GPS
  • Using VHF & VHF/DSC Marine Radio

Advanced Grade Courses

Seamanship - S

This introductory course provides the student with basic information on most aspects of boating topics covered include the various types of boats and their construction as well as their handling characteristics, boat handling under good & adverse conditions, navigation rules, aids to navigation and weather, etc.

Piloting - P

The Piloting course is an introduction to coastal, river and lake navigation with a discussion of charts and their uses.  Practical instruction is given in position determination based on plotting courses and dead reckoning.  Also covered is detailed information on navigation aids, lights, what charts are available and what they show, as well as compass installation and adjustment.  Recent course material additions include the use of GPS and waypoints used in navigation.

Advanced Piloting - AP

This course covers all basic concepts and techniques needed for safe navigation in coastal waters as well as on major lakes and rivers.  This course is a must for all who intend to cruise extensively.  Topics included expand upon the basic piloting and charting skills, the use of various types of bearings, the prediction of winds, tides and currents and much more.   Prerequisite:  Seamanship and Piloting.

Junior Navigation - JN

Junior Navigation presents a working knowledge of the principles of celestial navigation for those who wish to venture beyond charted land and sea marks.  The celestial sphere is explained as in the identification of celestial bodies, the practical use of the sextant and the use of the Nautical Almanac, time, plotting sheets and the "sailings". Use of GPS is expanded in this course along with introduction to the use of digital electronic navigation programs and pilot charts.  Prerequisite: Advanced Piloting.

Navigation - N

This course presents the basic concepts of nautical astronomy, alternate methods of sight reduction and more advanced techniques of navigation. Extensive use of two different digital navigation and planning programs has been added to this course, and the student also demonstrates practical knowledge of taking and reducing celestial sights on the sun, moon, planets and stars.  Prerequisite: Junior Navigation.

Elective Courses

Cruise Planning

Whether one wishes to cross oceans or cruise on rivers, lakes or along the various coasts, this course will prepare one for such things as planning and financing the voyage, crew selection, provisioning, weather, communication, entering and clearing foreign and domestic ports, anchors and anchoring.

Engine Maintenance

This course provides one with the basic design and construction of gasoline and diesel fuel powered engines.  Also covered are the various systems involving fuel, electrical, cooling, and lubrication.

Instructor Development

Offered in this course are the practical skills involved in preparing for teaching courses and/or conducting meetings.  This course includes practice assignments in presentation using visual and other aids.

Marine Electrical Systems

This course is presented in seven chapters that start with an explanation of what electricity is, followed by discussions on boat electrical wiring, DC and AC electrical systems, galvanic and stray current corrosion, lightning protection and ends with troubleshooting of boat electrical problems. The course includes detailed instructions on how to use a multimeter, how to solder and crimp electrical wiring connections and circuits and how to read wiring diagrams. This course can be used as a reference guide for anyone interested in properly maintaining their boat's electrical systems.

Marine Communications Systems

This is an in-depth, nine chapter review of those systems available to the recreational boater, or to those with whom he/she shares the water. Radio history and frequency spectrum definitions are presented along with definitions of radio circuits that the student should learn to choose the best communications system for their specific needs.  One chapter is devoted to the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) and another to FCC rules and regulations to set the stage for instruction of radiotelephone operating procedures (both voice and digital messaging are covered).  The remaining chapters cover High Seas radio (MF/HF and satellite communications) and other systems such as Family Radio Service transceivers. There is also a chapter on troubleshooting of radio installations.

Marine Electronic Navigation

This is the third course in  the Marine Electronics series. In this class you will study the Global Positioning System and learn the ins and outs of satellite-based navigation. You will learn how to enter waypoints, create planned routes and navigate them safely, all to an average accuracy as good as ten feet. Learn about buying a GPS chartplotter, or PC or tablet based navigation software, or using a chartplotter you already own. Course material includes a 200 page student manual supplied by the Canadian Power and Sail Squadrons and a CD which includes a wealth of information, a chartplotter emulator, and a GPS simulator. Learn GPS navigation on your home computer and plan your future routes before you arrive at your marina. 


A broad range of topics special to sail boaters are included in the Sail Course.  These cover the terminology of sailing, rigs, rigging and sail plans, the theoretical application of the forces at work, techniques of sailing, instrumentation and safety techniques, to mention just a few.


This is a rigorous course dealing with an overall awareness of weather phenomena.  One will develop the ability to read the sky as well as a weather map in anticipation of weather developments.  Among the others topics, cloud sequences, air masses, frontal activity, storms and fog are covered.

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