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«A Handbook for New Members INTRODUCTION Most boating accidents and difficulties arise from ignorance and can be avoided. A person does not knowingly ...»

-- [ Page 1 ] --

This is the

Marco Island Sail &

Power Squadron

A Handbook for

New Members


Most boating accidents and difficulties arise

from ignorance and can be avoided. A person

does not knowingly put his life, and the lives

of others, and the safety of valuable property

in jeopardy, but he may do so through lack of


There are many actions you can take before

and on the water to make boating safe and

carefree without spoiling its enjoyment. Good seamanship begins with knowledge and use of safe practices in all aspects of boating. For the skipper, this includes knowing his duties and responsibilities, as well as having an un- derstanding of the construction of boats, their equipment, operation, and maintenance.

Your Marco Island Sail and Power Squadron is here to help you learn good seamanship and to enjoy the process.

Boating is fun...we’ll show you how 2 TABLE of CONTENTS

5. United States Power Squadrons; District 22

6. Squadron Structure

8. Overview of Squadron Activities

10. Overview of Squadron Operations & Committees

12. Education Department

13. Advanced Grade Courses

15. Elective Courses

16. Learning Guides

17. Seminars

18. Introduction to our Uniforms

19. Vessel Flags and Burgees

20. Flying Flags and Burgees

21. Acknowledgement of Members’ Efforts

22. Acknowledgements

23. Notes

24. USPS Pledge 3 United States Power Squadrons® The United States Power Squadrons is the world’s largest non-profit boating organization, stressing community service, continuing education and social activities among members. The USPS® was founded as the Power Boat Division of the Boston Yacht Club on October 14, 1912, in order to promote the knowledge and safe operation of the newly developed gasoline-driven craft. Early in 1913 the group’s name was changed to the “Power Squadron.” On February 2, 1914, the United States Power Squadrons was oficially launched at the New York Yacht Club.

Today the organization consists of over 35,000 members in approximately 450 local squadrons, organized into 33 districts operating throughout the continental United States, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and Japan. Originally, USPS was an all-male organization, but in 1982 the membership was made “genderless.” The main operating body of USPS is the Governing Board which meets three times each year.

District 22 The Marco Island Sail and Power Squadron, Inc. is a member of District 22 which serves 18 squadrons and over 3400 members along the west coast of Florida.

Our District has the same officers, by title, as our Squadron does but preceded by the word “District.” Our Squadron bridge and committee chairs attend the D/22 spring and fall conferences to learn more about what USPS is doing. D/22 also has a fall cruise and rendezvous (C & R) where members participate in social activities and games.

–  –  –

The business of the Squadron is conducted by the Executive Committee, which consists of officers known as the Bridge, the immediate past Commander, and three members at large. The Bridge is responsible for the day-to-day management of the Squadron.

The Bridge Officers are:

COMMANDER (Cdr) The Commander is the ranking officer of the Squadron and is responsible to the membership, the District to which the Squadron is assigned and to the national organization for all aspects of the Squadron’s functions.

The Cdr presides at all Squadron general membership meetings and Executive Committee meetings. The commander’s flag includes three tridents with short staffs on a blue field.

EXECUTIVE OFFICER (XO) The XO is responsible for the external functions of the Squadron, and, in the Commander’s absence, acts as Commander. Committees reporting to the XO are coop charting, safety, legislative, public relations, ways and means, supply officer and vessel safety checks.


The SEO manages the Squadron’s Education Department. The SEO is a member of the District Education Department and serves as a liaison for information from District 22 and USPS.



The AO is responsible for all the internal functions of the Squadron, such as boating activities, fleet and port captains, meetings and programs, membership and membership involvement and social functions.

SECRETARY The secretary records and keeps minutes of all meetings and is also is in charge of keeping the records of the Squadron and its members up-to-date, publishing the Eagle’s Eye newsletter, the calling committee, etc.

TREASURER The treasurer is in charge of keeping all the Squadron’s financial records, receives all monies, pays all bills and coordinates necessary state and federal tax filings.

LIEUTENANT COMMANDERS (Lt/C) Each of the Executive, Educational, and Administrative officers, as well as the Secretary and Treasurer, is a Lieutenant Commander (Lt/C). The flag of a Lt/C has two short-staffed tridents on a red field.

The Bridge officers are elected at our annual meeting in November and installed in a ceremony known as the Change of Watch in February. All officers serve as volunteers without any compensation.

–  –  –

EDUCATION All USPS members are urged to improve their boating knowledge and skills by taking elective and advanced courses covering all aspects of boating. Education is one of our primary reasons for being. It is necessary to achieve safety, comfort and enjoyment on the water.

BOATING ACTIVITIES include cruises, rendezvous, raft

-ups, charting and navigation contests and beach picnics.

SOCIAL ACTIVITIES include dinners, luncheons, meetings, picnics, parades, holiday celebrations and our annual Change of Watch.

BUSINESS MEETINGS of the Squadron are the executive committee meetings held on the second Wednesday of each month.

PUBLICATIONS There are three publications available to members: the national magazine Ensign is published bimonthly, the District newsletter Beacon is published quarterly, and our Squadron newsletter Eagle’s Eye is published 10 times per year. It covers news on past and current events and future meetings and happenings. In addition, you will receive the annual Roster and Fleet List detailing pertinent information on the Squadron, its members and their boats.

7 GENERAL MEMBERSHIP MEETINGS are held on the second Wednesday of each month in October, November, January, March and April and include dinner and a speaker. In December the Squadron has a holiday party, and in February our annual Change of Watch is held. In the summer months members get together on the second Wednesday of the month in an informal social gathering.

VESSEL SAFETY CHECK This program is designed to assist the United states Coast Guard perform courtesy inspections for local boaters. The inspections are performed by specially trained members of our Squadron and are designed to make boaters aware of the condition of various safety systems on their boats.

COOPERATIVE CHARTING The Squadron, in cooperation with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, conducts depth surveys, surveys aids to navigation, surveys small craft facilities, updates features on Chart 11430, updates the US Coastal Pilot and locates USGS geodetic marks and tidal benchmarks from Isles of Capri to Indian Key Pass.

WEB SITE The Squadron maintains a web site that contains information on the Squadron, its event calendar and the current issue of the Eagle’s Eye newsletter.

The web site can be found at:


SQUADRON HEADQUARTERS The Squadron owns and maintains office space in the Chamber of Commerce Center, 1114 North Collier Boulevard, for office, storage and classroom use. The Squadron public and member boating education classes are also held here.




Your day-to-day enjoyment and the advancement of the Squadron is achieved by participating in various

committees, some of which are:

Co-operative Charting

–  –  –

All of these committees and functions are critical to the success of our Squadron. Member participation is a crucial part of the Squadron’s operation, and you are urged to join a committee and share your expertise in one of the above areas. Much enjoyment and fulfillment will come from becoming active in your Squadrons day-to-day operation. You will enjoy the new friendships.

–  –  –

One reason you joined the Marco Island Sail and Power Squadron was to learn more about boats and boating. Marine education for your safety is the top USPS priority.

The basic way to learn about boating is to take USPS courses, one right after the other, in the prescribed sequence. All courses are designed to enhance your boating skills while making you a more responsible and safe skipper and to make your time on the water more enjoyable.

One of the best ways to keep your new boating knowledge fresh and current is to teach others what you have learned and otherwise to help carry on our great education tradition.

USPS courses as taught here at MISPS do something else, too. They build your self-confidence in your ability to take care of yourself on the water. You get a lot more fun out of your boat when your fishing jaunts and cruises to waterside dining spots are not white-knuckle runs.

Our “America’s Boating Course” is the basic public boating course that Power Squadron members have made available to everybody in the Marco Island area each year since our charter in 1978. You will be surprised how much you learn while improving your safety on the water and making new friends.

–  –  –

SEAMANSHIP (S) Building on the basics taught in America’s Boating Course, Seamanship is the recommended course for new members.

Students learn practical marlinespike, navigation rules, hull design and performance, responsibilities of the skipper, boat care, operating a boat under normal and abnormal conditions, what to do in various emergencies and weather conditions, nautical customs and common courtesy on the water.

PILOTING (P) The first of a two-part program studying inland and coastal navigation, this course focuses on the fundamentals of piloting—keeping track of a boat’s movements, determining your position at any time and laying out courses to a planned destination.

ADVANCED PILOTING (AP) This course emphasizes the use of modern electronic navigation systems and other advanced techniques for finding position. Topics covered include tides and currents and their effects on piloting, finding position using bearings and angles and electronic navigation such as radar and GPS.


The first of a two-part program of study in offshore navigation, JN is designed as a practical “how-to” course. Subject matter includes precise time determination, use of the Nautical Almanac, taking sextant sights of the sun, reducing sights to establish lines of position, special charts and plotting sheets for offshore navigation and offshore navigational routines for recreational boaters.

NAVIGATION (N) This course is the second part of the study of offshore navigation, further developing the student’s understanding of celestial navigation theory. N deals with learning celestial positioning using other bodies such as the stars, moon and planets, in addition to positioning using the sun. This course also deals with electronic software tools that can be used to plan and execute an offshore voyage. Students learn additional methods of sight reduction and sight planning techniques. It includes a chapter on using a software-based voyage planning tool and a navigation program.

_____ There are currently two educational awards in the USPS educational program.


This is awarded to any member attaining the grade of AP or higher and having successfully completed three elective courses.


This award recognizes individuals who have passed all of the advanced grades and elective courses currently offered.

This award is orally referred to as “Senior Navigator” (SN), or Full Certificate.



May be taken in any order, no prerequisites CRUISE PLANNING (CP) Designed for members who plan to cruise for just a day or for a year, CP covers such topics as planning, managing and financing a voyage; managing commitments back home; equipping a cruising boat; selecting the crew; provisioning; entering and clearing foreign ports; emergencies afloat and security measures.

ENGINE MAINTENANCE (EM) This course attempts to make students more self-reliant afloat, with trouble-diagnosis and temporary remedies. It covers both marine gasoline and diesel engines and includes such topics as cooling, electrical, lubricating and fuel systems.

INSTRUCTOR DEVELOPMENT(ID) The emphasis of this course is on enhancing instructor skills. It has been designed to demonstrate interactive teaching methods focused on adult learning. Students are required to prepare lesson plans and give four presentations to their peers utilizing a variety of teaching aids and presentation skills.

MARINE ELECTRONICS (ME) This course teaches essential knowledge about a boat’s electrical and electronic systems including proper wiring, grounding, corrosion and electrolysis control, batteries and their maintenance, depth finders, marine radiotelephones, radar, and loran, GPS and other electronic positioning systems.

SAIL (SA) A thorough study of the terminology and dynamics of sailing, this course covers types of hulls and rigs, running and standing rigging and their adjustments, hull and water forces caused by wind and waves, the theory of sailing, points of sail, sail handling, sailing under various wind conditions and navigation rules unique to sailboats.

WEATHER (WX) This course teaches how to make weather observations and predictions for more enjoyable boating.

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