For classes please email or call (973) 937-8268.

We offer a natural progression of courses, from beginner to advanced, for any boater.   These are comprehensive, in-depth courses that typically run between 6 and 8 weeks. 

  • Seamanship
  • Piloting and Navigation
    • Piloting
    • Advanced Piloting
    • Junior Navigation - Celestial navigation
    • Navigation - Celestial navigation
    • Electronic Navigation
  • Boat systems operation and maintenance
    • Engine Maintenance
    • Marine Electrical Systems
    • Marine Communication Systems
  • Weather
  • Sail
  • Cruising and Cruise Planning
  • Boat Operators Certification (BOC)


Build boating confidence and competence for safe and fun on-the-water adventures.  Seamanship provides a foundation of knowledge and skills in boat handling and maneuvering, boat operation, skipper's responsibilities, and boating techniques that will advance your boating enjoyment.

What's included?

For both sail and power boats, Seamanship covers a wide range of topics, including:

  • Types of boats and how they behave on the water
  • Anchoring in various conditions
  • Docking and line handling
  • Close quarter maneuvering
  • Rules of the road
  • Communication with other boats
  • How to respond to various emergencies
  • Marlinespike/basic knots
  • And other interesting topics

This course is normally completed in 8 two-hour sessions: six sessions of study, one session of review and one session for the exam.



Learn the essentials of safe coastal and inland navigation using basic GPS in conjunction with charts and other marine data.  The Piloting course teaches you how to use the GPS along with traditional dead reckoning techniques for planning and laying out safe routes, as well as ensuring that you are on-course while underway.

What's Included?

  • Charts and their interpretation
  • Landmarks and navigation aids (buoys, daymarks, lights, etc.)
  • Plotting courses and determining direction and distance
  • The mariner's compass and converting between True and Magnetic
  • Use of GPS - basic GPS displays and information they provide, setting up waypoints and routes, staying on a GPS course
  • Pre-planning courses and entering them into the GPS
  • Monitoring progress and determining position by both GPS and traditional techniques such as bearings and dead reckoning
  • The "Seaman's Eye" - simple skills for checking that one is on course

Ten classes of two hours each normally are scheduled for presentation of this course. In addition the students have seven days to complete an open book exam.



Do you want to navigate unfamiliar waters in limited visibility or take an extended cruise with confidence?  Learn to use radar, chart plotters, AIS and other electronic tools to supplement basic GPS navigation.  Obtain a thorough understanding of piloting techniques in a variety of coastal tide, current and wind conditions.

What's Included?

  • Advanced positioning techniques, such as advancing a line of position to obtain a running fix
  • Use a variety of electronic tools:  radar, depth sounders, autopilots, chart plotters, laptop computer software, and more
  • Hazard avoidance techniques using electronics (e.g., avoidance waypoints or safety zones in GPS)
  • Collision avoidance using radar, GPS, and AIS
  • Working with tide and current data to determine clearances, depth of water and effects of current
  • Piloting in various wind and current conditions
  • The “Seaman’s Eye” – simple skills for checking that one is on course

Ten classes of two hours each normally are scheduled for presentation of this course. In addition the students have seven days to complete an open book exam.


JUNIOR NAVIGATION - Celestial Part 1

What happens when your GPS fails? Have fun and satisfy your curiosity about boating in the days before electronics in the Junior Navigation course.  Learn to use a marine sextant to take sights on celestial objects such as the sun.  Even if you are not traveling long distances off shore, remember that GPS is not infallible, nor always available.  Be confident when no aids to navigation or land objects are in sight.

In Junior Navigation, you will continue to use GPS as the primary position sensor as you learned in Piloting and Advanced Piloting, but with celestial navigation as your backup technique. Because terrestrial landmarks are no longer visible to the offshore navigator, you will learn to use a marine sextant and the sun as your reference point, derive a line of position, and develop a running fix. You will also learn to calculate your latitude from a noon sight on the sun.

What's Included?

  • Determining precise time
  • Using the Nautical Almanac
  • Taking sextant sights of the sun
  • Reducing sights to establish lines of position
  • Determining latitude from a noon sight
  • Using special charts and plotting sheets for offshore navigation
  • Setting offshore navigational routines for recreational craft

This interesting and challenging course emphasizes the practical aspects of daytime celestial navigation. You will also learn to prepare a sight folder that documents your positioning skills using sights taken on the sun. The course will take approximately 14 weeks to complete and you will have two additional weeks to complete an open book exam.


NAVIGATION - Celestial Part 2

Learn navigation using all the celestial bodies! Use navigational software tools to plan and execute an offshore voyage. In the event of a loss of electronics on board, you’ll be glad you took this course and developed the necessary backup skills for an offshore voyage. Even if you have no plans to travel offshore, you will be able to impress your boating friends with your depth of celestial knowledge.

The Navigation course will teach you how to use the moon, planets, and stars to determine your position at morning and evening twilight to supplement daytime sights on the sun, moon, and bright planets. You will also get access to and use navigational software tools that can be used to plan and execute any voyage.

What's Included?

  • An overview of how the celestial bodies in the sky appear to us on earth
  • Finding local mean time of solar and lunar phenomena and converting these times to watch time
  • Reducing sights of the moon, stars, and planets by the Law of Cosines and Nautical Almanac Sight Reduction methods, along with sight data averaging
  • Achieving acceptable 2- and 3-body fixes, using both traditional and electronic tools
  • Determining your latitude from a sight on Polaris, the north star
  • Provisioning an emergency navigation kit and constructing emergency plotting sheets
  • Using navigational software to plan an offshore voyage (Visual Passage Planner 2) and execute a voyage (OpenCPN)

As with the Junior Navigation course, you will learn to prepare a sight folder that documents your positioning skills using sights taken on the moon, planets and stars. The course will take approximately 10 weeks and, you will have two additional weeks to complete an open book exam.





Overwhelmed by all those functions on your GPS or chart plotter?  Want to use your tablet or smartphone to help you navigate on your boat?  Interested in using a desktop computer program to plan your cruise and then copy that information to your GPS?  This course covers the topics you need and want to know.

What's Included?

  • Navigating by establishing waypoints and routes
  • Running the planned courses
  • Electronic charting software for the desktop computer
  • Tablet and smartphone apps that provide the electronic navigation function at the helm
  • Hands-on exercises on a PC that simulates GPS functions
  • Using charting software and a chart plotter emulator
  • Overview of the Automatic Identification System (AIS)

This course is usually completed in eight two-hour sessions, followed by an exam.



Two areas of prime interest to boaters are operation and maintenance of their mechanical and electrical systems aboard.



Modern engines offer high reliability and good performance through the use of computerized systems for fuel delivery and engine timing. Most of these systems are “black boxes” that can no longer be serviced by weekend mechanics with ordinary tools. The Engine Maintenance course covers those repairs that do-it-yourselfers can still perform, teaches how to diagnose problems that might be beyond your ability to fix, and how to share information with your mechanic so the right repairs get performed. The Engine Maintenance course also covers basic mechanical systems such as drive systems (propellers), steering systems, and engine controls. The last chapter discusses solutions you might use to problems that could occur while afloat and away from a repair facility. Gasoline, diesel, and outboard engines are treated independently in this chapter.



Marine Electrical Systems (MES) covers the practice of wiring your boat, including boat electrical wiring practices and diagrams, direct and alternating current power, galvanic and stray current corrosion, and lightning protection. Troubleshooting is emphasized throughout, so students should feel comfortable performing even tricky wiring tasks after passing this course.


Marine Communication Systems (MCS) is an in-depth, nine chapter review of communications systems available to the recreational boater. Radio history and spectrum definitions are presented along with definitions of radio circuits that the student should learn, to choose the best communications method for his/her situation. One chapter is devoted to the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) and another to FCC Rules and regulations. 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.



For boaters, knowing the forecast isn't enough; you need to understand its impact on you and your boat.  Gain the knowledge and confidence to venture out on the water.  Be a responsible skipper, protect your friends and family and take this course today.

What's Included?

  • How weather systems form, behave, and move
  • Where to get weather reports and forecasts on the Internet
  • Using full color photographs and drawings to understand weather in the United States
  • Using Daily Weather Maps - learning aids with a compete explanation of map symbols designed to develop weather map reading and analysis skills
  • Understanding NOAA’s Sky Watcher Chart - a reference to assist in identifying cloud types

The Weather Course is designed to be conducted over ten two-hour sessions including time for review and the multiple choice closed book exam.



Learn about basic sailboat designs and nomenclature, rigging, and safety from experienced USPS sailors.  Then tackle the physical aspects of sailing forces and techniques, sail applications, marlinespike, helmsmanship, and handling of difficult sailing conditions.  This course will benefit non-sailors as well as novice and experienced sailors.

What's Included?

  • Types of sailboat rigs and hull shapes, including sail configurations and standing rigging
  • Wind and water forces affecting sailboat stability and balance
  • Sail shape and tuning the standing rig
  • Steering and helmsmanship
  • Sailing upwind, downwind and spinnaker handling   
  • Heavy weather sailing and storm conditions
  • Boat operations including docking, anchoring and safety issues

Course completion is usually accomplished in nine two-hour sessions, followed by a closed book exam.



Want to take a "road trip" on the water?  Gain the confidence and practical skills needed to explore ports and coves for a weekend or weeks at a time.  Take Cruising and Cruise Planning and join your fellow boaters for raft-ups and rendezvous up the river, down the bay, and along the coast.

What's Included?

  • Cruise preparation and planning
  • Boat and equipment
  • Anchors and anchoring
  • Security
  • Chartering
  • Cruising outside the United States
  • Crew and provisioning
  • Voyage management
  • Communications
  • Navigation
  • Weather
  • Emergencies

The Cruising and Cruise Planning Course can be comfortably taught in eight two-hour sessions including time for review and the multiple choice closed book exam.


Do you want to establish your boating credentials? Maybe upgrade your boating resume´ for chartering or state requirements? Maybe save on insurance premiums? Your USPS Boat Operator Certification will accomplish all of the above, and more. Get tested in a supportive environment and become USPS certified!

The BOC Program certifies USPS members at various levels of recreational boating proficiency.  Each level of certification requires achievement of prior levels, the successful completion of particular skills and seminars, plus the demonstration of essential skills on the water.  There are four levels in the program: 

  • Inland Navigator
  • Coastal Navigator
  • Advanced Coastal Navigator
  • Offshore Navigator

Skills certifications are conducted by qualified USPS BOC Certifiers.