Choose Where You Belong — America’s Boating Club
Published: Wednesday, September 12, 2018
The very nature of boating is social. A crew is vital for safe docking, sail handling, and watchkeeping on all but the shortest of trips and in all but the smallest of boats. Plus, it is more fun to share your time on the water with friends. One of the best ways to meet other boaters and build that community is to join a club. One such club that goes beyond just a social community is United States Power Squadrons® — America’s Boating Club®.
Enjoying your time on the water with family and friends starts with being safe and responsible, an ideal that makes America’s Boating Club different than most boating organizations. For over a hundred years, the organization’s focus has been on providing unsurpassed boating safety education. Offering classes For Boaters, By Boaters (TM) in boat handling, navigation, boat maintenance, weather, and related subjects, United States Power Squadrons — America’s Boating Club serves as a virtual “yacht club” with boating and social activities for all types of recreational boaters. With over 27,000 members organized into 356 local clubs across the country, America’s Boating Club is comprised of families who contribute to their communities by promoting safe boating through education.
However, everyone that is a part of the organization is passionate about having a membership that encourages spending time together. Members build their community through a variety of events like parties, meetings and even just getting together for no reason at all.
Gary Cheney, chief commander of the United States Power Squadrons, said, “We are United States Power Squadrons but we are also America’s Boating Club. We go boating and have fun doing it. Our squadrons are social clubs as well as providers of high quality boating education — allowing members to enjoy the sport and camaraderie of boating and any number of activities that keep us together. Togetherness is what this lifestyle is all about. We joined the organization for the boating education, but we stayed for the friends.”
Members are vital to strengthening the communities they live in and know it’s important to live their values by giving back through public service and volunteer opportunities. Members provide courtesy vessel safety checks, help the NOAA’s National Ocean Service keep nautical charts accurate, and organize beach cleanups.
“Our commitment is to continue learning, teaching, laughing, and helping our fellow members enjoy boating,” continued Cheney. “Whether you’re passionate about cruising, racing, making new friends, volunteering in your community, or learning from experienced boaters, your local squadron has the resources you need to engage your passions and, perhaps, instill some new ones.”
If you are looking for in-person boating education from certified instructors, United States Power Squadrons – America’s Boating Club offers several types of training to meet each student’s needs. These in-depth courses are several weeks in length and the most popular is the America’s Boating Course which takes four weeks to complete. This course gives students the basics and essential skills needed to get out on the water safely and meets most states’ boating education requirements. Boat Handling is designed to build competence and confidence on the water with an in-depth look at practical boating skills. Marine Navigation and Advanced Piloting focus on the skills needed to effectively use charts and marine electronics as well as a knowledge of winds, currents, and tides. Junior Navigation and Navigation, a must for oceangoing captains, teach boaters about planning and monitoring your voyage using modern marine electronics and how celestial observations can help you estimate your vessel’s position with confidence. Other in-depth courses include Cruising and Cruise Planning, Engine Maintenance, Marine Electronics, Sailing, and Weather.
If you are interested in rounding out your knowledge or discovering something new, the brief boating education seminars led by experienced volunteer instructors are short and focused, usually lasting two hours. These seminars are specifically designed to boost your boating confidence. Topics include: Boat Handling, Navigation, Facing the Environment, Safety, Techniques, and Cruising.
United States Power Squadrons — America’s Boating Club Hands-on Training program helps boaters develop the skills and techniques that will take their boat-handling and seamanship abilities to the next level, whether on fresh or saltwater. These intensive courses last one or two days and combine classroom technical education and on the water real-world techniques to cover applicable topics like docking, anchoring, boat handling, maneuvering, and rescues.
In addition, the organization offers a number of online courses, allowing students to proceed at their own pace. America’s Boating Course is now available in Spanish and English online. In addition, the organization offers a number of online seminars such as AIS Electronics for Boaters; How to Use Your GPS; Planning Your Cruise; Weather for Boaters; All About Marine Radio; Rivers, Locks and Lakes; Crew at the Helm, and Hurricane Preparation.
United States Power Squadrons – America’s Boating Club also offers live webinars so instructors and students can meet in a virtual classroom. The sessions are usually recorded for students to review. Previous webinars have included: Crossing Borders, GRIDs and GRIBs: Computer Forecasting and Navigation, Marine Weather Forecasting, Thunderstorm/Severe Weather Forecasting, and Oceanography.
Beginner, intermediate or advanced — whatever your skill level, the United States Power Squadrons — America’s Boating Club has a class to enhance your boating knowledge, fit your schedule, and keep you boating. Local squadrons are located throughout the country and online classes can be taken from anywhere in the world. Just think, maybe you too will join for the boating education and stay for the friends.
Visit www.americasboatingclub.org to find a squadron near you and to join!
This article first appeared in the Fall Issue (Sept/Oct) 2018 of Great Lakes Scuttlebutt magazine.