leaping orca photo header for BSPS club

New!  These 2-hour evening seminars are open to the public. The USPS Seminars web page has more detail about the seminars. Class size is limited to 12. If interested, please call Graham Hunter at 360-332-5526 or email Graham

March 17 $30  Marine Radar  This seminar covers how radar functions, radar selection, operation of the radar under various conditions including setting of controls, display interpretation, basic navigation, and collision avoidance using radar. Included: The Radar Book by Kevin Monahan.

March 26 Intro to Kayaking No charge to BSPS members. A look at equipment, safety issues, different types of kayaking, how to transport kayaks by sea.Land-based, outside, daytime instruction.

April 21  $20  Mariner’s Compass  This seminar explains how to select, install, calibrate and use your compass on board your boat. You will learn which features are most important and what will work best for you, how to deal with variation between true and magnetic north, and how to adjust your compass to remove most of the deviation caused by magnetic influences.

May 18  $30  Mastering the Rules of the Road  This seminar provides an explanation with examples of the 37 Rules of the Road for both the U.S. Inland Rules and the International Rules (COLREGS). It simplifies the sometimes complex law relating to boat operation for the recreational boater. It is a starting point for study preparation for the USCG License examination. Included: McGraw-Hill's The One Minute Guide to the Nautical Rules of the Road by Charlie Wing.

More Advanced Nautical Courses for our members

Cruise Planning starts March 1 and continues for 6 more Tuesday evenings. "Various and sundry topics relating to cruising your boat", taught by Jill & Terry Hummel, who cruised their boat for four years.
Sail is coming up March 9th, taught by Graham Hunter.

One of the main goals of Bellingham Sail & Power Squadron is “boating safety through education” – we believe that an educated boater is a safer boater. In addition to its basic boating course, we teach a series of outstanding courses that cover advanced seamanship, navigational techniques, boat handling, boat maintenance, and more. Take any or all of these courses. Join us and take these interesting advanced courses - find out about membership.

All courses descriptions are below. For more details and schedules, just call Graham Hunter at 360-332-5526 or email Graham

Advanced Grade Courses

Five Advanced Grade courses are offered by USPS.  They are designed to be taken in sequence because each builds on skills taught in the previous course.

  • Seamanship covers basic deck seamanship, marlinspike (knots and ropes), anchoring and rafting, basic boat care and maintenance, and nautical and USPS customs and etiquette.
  • Piloting is the first and most basic navigation course, covering chart reading, course plotting, and basic coastal or inland navigation, including basic GPS usage. This course goes into more detail than the charting information covered in the public courses.
  • Advanced Piloting covers more advanced coastal navigation techniques, navigation in tides and currents, and more advanced GPS usage.
  • Junior Navigation teaches the basics of offshore navigation, including basic celestial navigation using the sun and offshore course planning.
  • Navigation is the most advanced navigation course taught by USPS, covering more advanced celestial navigation techniques, emergency navigation, and additional sight reduction techniques.

Elective Courses

Six Elective Courses are offered by USPS.  They cover separate and independent topics and therefore may be taken in any order according to a student’s interests and time.

  • Engine Maintenance covers the operating principles and basic care and maintenance of outboard and inboard engines, including diesels.
  • Marine Electronics covers installation and maintenance of both boat electrical systems (AC and DC) and marine electronics (VHF radio, radar, GPS, etc). This is taught in three parts.
  • Cruise Planning covers topics of interest for someone planning a cruise – whether for just a weekend or for a year – including preparation and planning, anchoring, security, chartering, and cruising outside the US.
  • Weather covers weather forecasting and reading weather patterns on-board.
  • Sail covers everything from the basic elements of how a sailboat works to sail trim, rig tuning, and sailboat racing. These is taught in two parts.
  • Instructor Development teaches effective communication skills for not only USPS instructors but everyone, covering various methods of presenting information to others, effective use of audiovisual aids (including PowerPoint), etc.

View or print an Adobe PDF copy of our course descriptions. For more information, please call Graham Hunter at 360-332-5526 or email Graham

If one or more of these courses interest you, we hope to see you soon!

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