USPS-U Overview

USPS University, also known as the Boat Operator's Certification Program, is designed to certify America's Boating Club members at various levels of recreational boating proficiency. We expect that these certifications will be recognized across the boating community, both domestically and internationally. In the United States, The United States Coast Guard (USCG) has asked congress to authorize the Transportation Secretary to establish requirements for standards of proficiency for recreational boaters.

Regarding international recognition, we plan to have USPS certifications meet the requirements of UN Resolution 40, International Certificate for the Operation of Pleasure Craft with the additional knowledge and testing of the CEVNI (European code for inland waterways) navigation rules.

USPS currently plans four levels of Boat Operator Certification:

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

Inland Navigator (IN)

Courses

  • NASBLA (National Association of State Boating Law Administrators) approved safe boating course
  • Boat Handling (BH)
  • Engine Maintenance (EM)
  • Marine Electronics or Marine Electrical Systems

Seminars

  • How to Use a Chart (CHT) (or Piloting, Chart Smart, or Boating courses)
  • Basic Weather and Forecasting (BWF) or Onboard Weather Forecasting (OBWF) (or Weather course or Weather Modules)
  • Using GPS (GPS) or the new Piloting (P) or Advanced Piloting (AP) course
  • VHF Radio and VHF/DSC Marine Radio or Marine Communications Systems

Skills

  • BPH - Basic Powerboat Handling skill demonstration or US Sailing Safe Powerboat Handling on-the-water program
  • FE - Use of Fire Extinguishers

Optional Endorsements

  • IW - Inland Waterways (Navigating Rivers, Dams and Locks seminar)
  • PAD - Paddle craft (canoes and kayaks) - Paddle Smart seminar
  • SA - Sailboating or Sail (SA) course

Note: The optional SA endorsement is required to be IN certified to operate a sailboat. The optional PAD endorsement is required to be IN certified to operate a paddle craft.

Coastal Navigator (CN)

Prerequisite

  • IN Certification

Courses

  • Piloting
  • Weather
  • Marine Communications or Marine Radio Communications

Seminars

  • Mastering Rules of the Road
  • Anchoring
  • Mariner's Compass
  • Tides and Currents (or Advanced Piloting course)
  • Optional Seminar: Marine Radar

Skills

  • NAV - On-Water Navigation
  • PD - Use of Pyrotechnic Distress Signals

Optional Endorsements

  • IN Endorsements plus: 
  • CAN - Canadian Regulations 
  • MEX - Mexican regulations

Note: CN certification to operate a sailboat requires the SA endorsement. CN certification for paddle craft requires PAD.

Advanced Coastal Navigator

Prerequisite

  • CN Certification

Courses

  • Advanced Piloting
  • Cruise Planning
  • Marine Navigation Systems

Seminars

  • Emergencies on Board (EO)
  • Marine Radar (This was optional for CN, but is required for ACN even if the candidate completed AP 2005 or later.)

Skills

  • FA - First Aid (Offered by American Red Cross or American Heart Association)
  • ADN - Advanced Navigation

Recommended

  • CPR/AED - (Offered by American Red Cross or American Heart Association)

Offshore Navigator (ON)

Prerequisite

  • ACN Certification

Courses/Seminars/Skills

Offshore Navigator requirements will be posted when finalized.