If you are a boater who wants to improve your skills and knowledge, or if you are required by your state to take a boating safety course, you may be interested in the courses offered by the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG). The USCG has a Boating Safety Division that is dedicated to reducing loss of life, injuries and property damage that occurs on U.S. waterways by improving the knowledge, skill and abilities of recreational boaters. The USCG also works with volunteer organizations, such as the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and the U.S. Power Squadron, to provide boating safety education to the public.
uscg boating safety course
In this blog post, we will introduce some of the USCG boating safety courses that are available for different types of boaters and different levels of experience. We will also provide some links where you can find more information and register for these courses.
About Boating Safety (ABS)
This is an 8-hour course that covers the basics of boating safety, such as boat handling, navigation rules, legal requirements, emergencies, and more. It is suitable for all boaters, especially those who are new to boating or need a refresher. The course meets the boating education requirements for most states and territories. Upon completion of the course, you will receive a certificate that may qualify you for discounts on boat insurance.
Sailing Skills and Seamanship
This is a course that covers the fundamentals of sailing, such as sailboat terminology, rigging, sail trim, points of sail, tacking, jibing, docking, anchoring, knots, weather, and more. It is suitable for sailors of all skill levels, from beginners to advanced. The course consists of 8 to 13 lessons that can be taken online or in person. The course also includes practical on-the-water sessions where you can apply what you learned in the classroom.
This is a course that covers the basics of coastal navigation, such as charts, compasses, GPS, electronic navigation systems, piloting techniques, dead reckoning, bearings, fixes, tides, currents, and more. It is suitable for all boaters who want to learn how to navigate safely and confidently on coastal waters. The course consists of 8 to 13 lessons that can be taken online or in person.
Boating Skills and Seamanship (BS&S)
This is a course that covers the essentials of powerboating safety, such as boat types, engines, fuel systems, steering systems, propellers, electrical systems, trailering, launching, docking, anchoring, knots, weather, navigation rules, emergencies,
and more. It is suitable for powerboaters of all skill levels,
from beginners to advanced. The course consists of 8 to 13 lessons that can be taken online or in person.
You can find more information and register for this course at
Navigating with GPS (GPSFM)
This is a 3-hour course that covers the basics of using a GPS device for boating navigation,
such as how GPS works,
how to operate a GPS unit,
how to enter waypoints and routes,
how to use GPS data for navigation,
and how to troubleshoot common GPS problems.
It is suitable for all boaters who want to learn how to use GPS effectively and safely on their boats.
How To Read a Nautical Chart (HRNC)
This is a 3-hour course that covers the basics of reading and understanding a nautical chart, such as chart symbols, scales, depths, distances, aids to navigation, magnetic variation,
and more. It is suitable for all boaters who want to learn how to use charts for navigation and planning.
You can find more information and register for this course at https://wow.uscgaux.info/content.php?unit=070-02&category