Elective Courses

Elective courses can be taken in any sequence and without prerequisites.

Cruise Planning

This course is preparation for a cruise, whether the cruise is for a day, a week, a month or longer. Whether you are going to cruise on rivers, lakes, the coasts, or across the oceans, very valuable information is provided by those who have been there. The topics discussed are: planning the voyage, financing the voyage, equipping the boat, crew selection, provisioning, voyage management, navigation planning, weather, communications, entering and clearing foreign and domestic ports, anchors and anchoring, emergencies afloat, medical emergencies and security.
Engine Maintenance

The new Engine Maintenance course 2007 has been put into one ten chapter course that stresses the diagnosis of modern systems, while also teaching the basics of engine layout and operation. Gasoline inboards, outboards, and diesel engines are taught in a way that reinforces the common aspects of how engines work. This new course is complete in one book with one exam.

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 EM 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 new Engine Maintenance 2007 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

Electronic devices for the recreational boater have come a long, long way over the years. With the advent of solid state digital electronics, sophisticated sensors and radios have become commonplace on our vessels. The Electro-Mechanical Systems Committee has split Marine Electronics into three new standalone “systems” courses. Marine Electrical Systems, Marine Communications Systems, and Electronic Systems for Navigation have been updated and expanded.  The first of these courses, Marine Electrical Systems is available now with Marine Communications Systems and Electronics Systems for Navigation coming soon.  The courses that these replace are still available (See above).

 

 


Marine Communications Systems

Is an in-depth, nine chapter review of those systems available to the recreational boater, or to those with whom he/she shares the water. 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 to set the stage for instruction of radiotelephone operating procedures (both voice and digital messaging are covered). 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.

 

 


Marine Navigation Systems

Electronic Navigation introduces GPS technology from the most basic receiver to chart plotter systems for navigation on board. The process of navigating by establishing waypoints and routes, and then running the planned courses, is demonstrated. Further, electronic charting software for the desktop computer is examined, with creation of waypoints and routes on the desktop and subsequent download to the onboard unit. Despite differences among the various manufacturers' offerings, a thorough discussion of the features being made available is included.

Special attention is paid to apps for tablets and smartphones that provide the electronic navigation function at the helm, for relatively little cost.

Students should be familiar with basic charting concepts such as latitude, longitude, the compass, course plotting, and time/distance calculation, to get the most out of the course.

 

 


Weather

The safety and comfort of those who venture out-on-the water have always been weather dependent. In this course students will become keener observers of the weather, but weather observations only have meaning in the context of the basic principles of meteorology — the science of the atmosphere.


The course focuses on how weather systems form, behave, move, and interact with one another and reflects the availability of all sorts of weather reports and forecasts on the Internet. Wx2008 is a general weather course benefiting those sitting in their living rooms, as much as those standing behind the helm.

 

 



Sail

Sail 2009, is a complete sail course beginning with basic boat designs, rigging and sail processes for the non-sailor.  The course proceeds into the physical aspects of sailing, sail applications, marlinespike, helmsmanship, and handling of more difficult sailing conditions, navigation rules, and an introduction to heavy weather sailing.

Instructor Development

Unlike other USPS courses, the Instructor Development course is not designed to enhance boating skills. Rather, its emphasis is on enhancing presentation techniques and instructor skills. The course has been designed to demonstrate interactive teaching methods focused on adult learning. Students are required to prepare lesson plans and give three presentations to their peers utilizing a variety of teaching aids and presentation skills. The instructor may assign a topic for these presentations or you may use material and PowerPoint slides from existing USPS courses, and they may build on one another

Please let us know what classes you are interested in so we may schedule them.

Courses Offered

ABC3


Advanced Grades

Electives

Seminars

Learning Guides


Educational Calendar

Course Calendar


Directions to Course Venues

Mariner Square Drustack
& Marina - Alameda




Peninsula
Yacht Club


San Leandro
Yacht Club