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Seminar Titles and Descriptions Page 2
Cruising Boats and Systems

Are you a boater with the cruising bug? Having the right boat, systems and electronics can make cruising more enjoyable. This seminar outlines your options and helps you determine what is right for your type of cruising. Understand the basics of:

  • Cruising boats

  • Navigation, electrical and plumbing systems

  • Marine appliances

  • Safety gear and equipment

  • Anchoring

  • Communications

Crusing Boats Systems
Planning your Cruise

From chartering or cruising in exotic places or foreign waters to gunk holing in remote areas, this course gets you started on the adventure of your dreams.


In no time, you’ll learn how to choose the destinations, length, and season for your cruise as well as how to plan meals and provision your boat.

Planning the Cruise
Weather for Boaters

Weather makes the difference between a great day and a lousy day on the water. Recognize and prepare for whatever weather comes your way. Learn to recognize the early signs of changing weather; how to anticipate storms, squalls, fog, and wind shifts; and become familiar with basic weather elements and how they affect your boating experience.

Weather for Boaters
All About Marine Radio

Marine radios provide boaters the best and most reliable communication on the water. Marine radios have many advantages over cell phones, especially in an emergency. You can use a marine radio to secure a marina slip, call for bridge openings and much more.


Discover the different types of marine radios as well as how and when to use them.

All About Marine Radio
Sail Trim and Rig Tuning  

Are you getting the most out of your sailboat?  Learn how to set up your boat's rigging and how to use and adjust your sails for optimum performance under a wide range of conditions.  You'll sail like a pro using the tips from this seminar.  The seminar includes a copy of seminar Student Notes. The waterproof Captain's QuickGuide Sail Trim and Rig Tuning by Bill Gladstone and North Sails is optionally available.

What's included?
  • Sail terminology

  • Rigging terminology

  • Mainsails

  • Headsails

  • Trimming tools

  • Wind flow on sails

  • Sail twist and tensioning

How to Use GPS  

Sure, GPS can get you where you need to go, but did you know you can use it to steer your boat accurately?  Enhance your boating experience by getting the most out of today's feature-packed GPS devices.  Learn how to store and use waypoints, build and execute routes, and monitor steering.  You can also get tips on connecting your GPS to your VHF marine radio, which opens up a new world of digital hailing and distress signaling. The seminar materials include a copy of the Student Notes.  A waterproof McGraw-Hill Captain’s QuickGuide Using GPS to take aboard to remind you of the steps, or to show another of your crew how to use your GPS, is optionally available.

What's included?
  • What GPS does

  • Waypoint navigation

  • How to operate your GPS

  • What the buttons do

  • What the screens show

  • How to use the key functions

  • How to navigate safe course

  • Tips on choosing a GPS that’s best for you

How to Use a Chart 

Whether you're planning a cruise, going fishing, or traveling to a local marina, knowing how to read and use nautical charts is essential to safe boating.  Charts include must-have information, including bottom contours, hazards, and aids to navigation, to help you travel safely. Each student receives a Student Guide for the seminar. An optional waterproof flip-fold Chart Symbols and On-the-Water Guide to take along on the boat with you is also available.

What's included?
  • What charts show navigators above the water

  • Chart features

  • Chart scales

  • What charts show navigators below the water

  • Aids to navigation

  • Latitude and longitude

  • Planning your course

  • What’s in your way

Confidence in Docking/UnDocking

Docking can be one of the most stressful tasks you can perform, especially if your are a new boater.  Closely related as a source of anxiety is maintaining control of your boat at slow speed in close proximity to other boats and fixed objects. 


With the knowledge you'll gain in this seminar, coupled with your on-the-water practice, your confidence in docking and slow-speed maneuvering will increase and your boating will be both safer and more enjoyable.

Introduction to Navigation

Do you want to learn practical techniques to plan, navigate, and check your progress on the water? It's not that hard, and modern marine electronics like GPS and Chartplotters make it even easier.

This seminar will introduce you to using nautical charts to determine safe routes, creating waypoints in your Chartplotter and other GPS devices, and basic electronic navigation and planning using the free downloadable OpenCPN software. This seminar is a great foundation for advanced courses that teach piloting and celestial navigation skills.

The student kit includes the Introduction to Navigation booklet with integrated discussion to the instructor PowerPoint classroom presentation, including directions to download navigation charts and the OpenCPN software application.

What's included?
  • Nautical charts

  • Waypoint navigation using a chartplotter

  • Navigation planning using OpenCPN software

  • Navigation while underway

  • What to do when things go wrong

Boating with Confidence

Boat handling away from the dock or marina is often called "at sea".  This seminar has been designed to acquaint you with general boat-handling situations and teach you skills to handle your boat at sea. 


You'll gain confidence about basic operations; trimming your boat; operating on plane; handling seas and waves; dealing with bars, rivers, rivers, and bends; and other situations you will encounter along your cruise. 


And you'll have a better understanding about issues you can control, issues that the environment will present, and how to use and tie the two knots most often used when at sea: the sheet bend and the bowline.

Rules of the Road 

Don't leave the dock without knowing the rules of the road.  This seminar simplifies the sometimes complex U.S. Inland Rules and International Rules, or COLREGS, for the recreational boater. Through examples, you'll discover how to avoid collisions in various situations, the differences between power and sailboat rules, and the special rules for fishing vessel. This seminar includes Student Notes with slides. McGraw-Hill's The One Minute Guide to the Nautical Rules of the Road by Charlie Wing is optionally available. This seminar is also a starting point for study preparation for the USCG License examination.

What's included?
  • Avoiding collisions

  • Meeting head on

  • Crossing

  • Overtaking

  • Sailing vessels

  • Vessel responsibilities

  • Fishing vessels

  • Lights and shapes on vessels

  • Sounds signals

  • Restricted visibility

  • Distress signals

Marine Radar  

Don't get lost in the fog.  Whether you want to navigate safely or decide what equipment to purchase, this seminar provides clear advice.  Learn how RADAR works, how to use it effectively, and its limitations as a piloting aid.  You'll receive a copy of the Student Notes that has copies of the slides used in the seminar. The RADAR Book by Kevin Monahan is optionally available.

What's included?
  • RADAR basics

  • Operator controls

  • Operator aids

  • Collision avoidance

  • Navigation

  • RADAR display

  • Target identification

  • Headings

  • Ranges

  • Rain and snow effects

Basic Weather and Forecasting  

Are the winds too strong?  What is a small craft advisory?  The safety and comfort of those who venture out on the water have always been weather dependent.  This seminar, a must for boaters who have never taken a weather course, will help you answer these questions and gain an understanding of the forces acting on your boat.  Understand the forecast and know what to expect, whether you're in a kayak, trawler, sailboat, or schooner.  This seminar presents a complex subject in a way that is both understandable and useful.

Each seminar participant receives a Student Guide with slide images and complete notes written especially for the seminar. An optional waterproof McGraw Hill Captain’s QuickGuide – Onboard Weather Forecasting – designed for onboard and field use is also available.

What's included?
  • What causes weather

  • How weather systems move

  • Why winds blow

  • What clouds tell us

  • How storms and fronts create foul weather

  • Why fog forms

  • Where to get the best professional forecasts

  • How to refine them using your own observations

Basic Weather Forecasting
Hurricane Preparation for Boaters 

When a named storm threatens, you need to be prepared and protect your boat.  In this short seminar, you'll learn how to select a location from which to weather the storm and prepare your boat for a hurricane. The kit includes Student Notes with copies of the slides.

What's included?
  • Check vessels and gear

  • Review marina/dockmaster contracts

  • Make plans

  • Check your trailer

  • Prepare a storm plan

  • Lessons learned from storms

  • Hurricane anchoring

  • Be storm ready

  • Your responsibilities

  • Post-hurricane efforts of US Coast Guard and law enforcement

  • Insurance

Hurricane Prep
Tides and Currents  

Cruise confidently in coastal waters, secure in your knowledge of tidal conditions.  Even if you are an inland boater, you may travel to an area where knowing about tides and tidal currents is important.  Discover what causes the tides to rise and fall and what causes the currents to flow. Learn where to find sources of information about tides and tidal currents, simple ways to predict height of tide and speed of current flow and how to use both print and electronic tide tables.  Learn about how tides and currents affect your boat’s performance from experienced coastal boaters.

Each student receives a full color Student Guide for this two-hour seminar.

What's included?
  • Causes and effects of tides and currents

  • Predict the time of highest tide before it begins to fall

  • Predict the vertical movement of the water

  • Safely navigate low tide

  • Determine the speed of the current and when it reaches maximum flood

  • Deal with mean high and low water

  • Use NOAA charts and tables

  • Factor in tides and currents when anchoring

Tides and Currents
Emergencies on Board

Learn how to adequately prepare for common emergencies and deal with them when they occur.  Gain practical knowledge about accident prevention, running aground, onboard fires, getting lost, towing, and medical emergencies.  A must-have for skippers, this seminar provides valuable skills for anyone venturing on the water. The seminar comes with a full color Student Guide for the seminar. The Emergencies on Board QuickGuide—a handy reference to use in responding to emergency situations—is optionally available.

What's included?
  • Prevent accidents

  • Make emergency calls and signals

  • Deal with running aground

  • Handle a person overboard situation

  • Put out files onboard

  • Deal with losing power

  • Deal with medical conditions

  • Deal with steering failures

  • Deal with getting lost

Emergencies on Board
Fuel and Boating

Discover what every boater needs to know about gasoline and diesel fuel, including computing and evaluating fuel consumption, caring for your fuel system, and fueling a boat safely.  Learn how to handle fuel safely and to respect its lethal potential.  Learn how to avoid running out of fuel. Each student receives a full color Student Guide for the seminar.

What's included?
  • Practice environmentally safe fueling

  • Control and prevent “oily waste” discharge

  • Know the differences between gasoline and diesel engines

  • Understanding torque, horsepower, transmissions and propeller issues

  • Measure and predict fuel performance

  • Employ special “rules of thumb”

  • Calculate range and distance

  • Recognize fuel problems

Fuel and Boating
Partner in Command

Are you a crew member or passenger who has no idea what's going on during a boat trip?  Learn the essential skills you will need to help the skipper safely operate a recreational boat, including how to respond in an emergency.  You'll become an asset on board with Partner in Command.

The Partner in Command seminar includes an introduction to boating, understanding anchoring, docking, and navigation, preparing for bad weather, first aid and on-board emergencies, and more. This comprehensive seminar is presented in 2-4 hours and comes with a full color Student Guide for the seminar

What's included?
  • Communications, including VHF marine radio

  • Calling for help

  • Signaling equipment

  • Safety and safety equipment

  • First aid

  • Starting and running the engine

  • Tool kits

Partner in Command
Man Overboard  

People fall overboard, especially in rough weather and high seas.  Discover how to equip and maneuver your boat to retrieve someone in the water.  Essential for all boaters, this seminar teaches you what to do if you fall overboard, as well as how to retrieve someone else. The seminar includes a full color Student Guide for the seminar.

What's included?
  • How to recover a crewmember who has fallen overboard

  • Vessel set-up and man overboard (MOB) equipment

  • Maneuvering to keep the rescuer close to the person in the water

  • Methods of recovering the person overboard

Man Overboard
Using VHF/DSC Marine Radio 

Get familiar with your boat's VHF marine radio in just two hours.  Experienced instructors teach you how to use VHF radio like a pro, including the new digital selective calling (DSC) rescue feature.  You'll also get tips on purchasing and installing VHF to get the most out of your investment.


A handy waterproof McGraw-Hill Captain's QuickGuide Using VHF is optionally available with essential information that you should have aboard. This QuickGuide explains to anyone on your crew how to use the radio, a real benefit if you’re unable to help in an emergency.

What's included?
  • How VHF radios work and their controls

  • Using the correct channels

  • Using correct procedures and terminology

  • Advanced methods of communication

  • How digital selective calling (DSC) equipped radios work and their controls

  • Practice DSC calls using the included DSC simulator on CD

Using VHF
Knots and Line Handling
Knots Bends Hitches

All thumbs when it comes to securing your boat and gear?  In this hands-on program, you'll learn to tie the most useful knots using the included step-by-step USPS Guide Knots, Bends and Hitches.  Take the materials home to practice the many other knots described in the guide. The McGraw-Hill book Knots, Bends and Hitches for Mariners is also available

What's included?
  • Practical skills

  • Rope selection

  • Marlinespike seamanship

  • Rope versus line

  • Size

  • Parts of a line

  • Classes of knots

  • Line construction

  • Strength

  • Applications

  • Common knots for mariners

  • Care and handling

AIS Electronics for Boaters

Our newest Boat Systems seminar, can help you decide if Automatic Identification System (AIS) electronics are right for you.


AIS electronics aren’t just for commercial vessels. Using AIS can help you navigate crowded waterways easily and safely.

With AIS marine electronics onboard, you can identify potential dangers and quickly make decisions on the water. Many systems share your boat’s information with other boats so they can also make better, safer boating decisions.

In this course, you will learn what AIS does, how it works, whether you need an AIS system, how AIS is different from radar, how to use AIS to navigate more safely, and what to consider when integrating AIS with your existing electronics.

AIS Electronics
Trailering your Boat

Overcome boating boredom by trailering your boat to areas with better fishing, weather, or camping facilities.  You'll gain the skills and tips needed to safely move your trailerable boat as well as maintenance hints and boat ramp etiquette.  Get tips on protecting your gear before, during, and after transit, and learn the "one-block rule".

This two-hour seminar includes how to select tow vehicles, hitches, and trailers, how to safely and securely trailer your boat, launch it, and retrieve it, and how to operate and maintain your trailering equipment. The seminar includes video segments provided by the US Coast Guard and excellent slide notes. An optional excellent book titled Trailering Your Boat, written by Bruce Smith and published as a USPS Guide by McGraw-Hill is also available. This book serves as an excellent reference on all of these topics.

What's included?
  • The challenge of trailering

  • Choosing your vehicle

  • Types of hitches

  • Choosing and equipping your trailer

  • The art of towing

  • Launching your boat

  • Retrieving your boat

  • Trailering sailboats

  • Maintenance

Trailering the Boat
Practical On the Water

Do you learn better with hands-on training and retain more of what you learn? Then our Practical on the Water Training seminar is for you!  An excellent complement to our basic America’s Boating Course, this eight hour seminar is the perfect combination of four hours of classroom training and four hours of hands-on on-the-water training. It provides an explanation of how your boat handles and why. Video clips let you visualize the maneuvers prior to your experiencing them on the water. Each student receives a copy of Powerboat Handling Illustrated, a DVD, a Student Manual, and a certificate acknowledging his/her training.

What's included?
  • Use of lines

  • Departing the dock

  • Operating in a fairway

  • Pivoting

  • Mooring

  • Backing

  • Docking

  • Steering, including a slalom course

  • Holding course on a range

  • Quick stop

Crossing Borders  
Crossing Borders

If you live in the border states, you can cross international borders and visit our neighbors to the north or south. But what do you need to know? This seminar explains the immigration and customs process and the programs that enable boaters to easily cross into Canada, Mexico or the Bahamas. Be prepared by having the correct documents; we can help you get there. Each student receives a full color Student Guide especially written for the seminar.

What's included?
  • Understand the immigration and customs process

  • Prepare and carry the correct documents for your crossing

  • Who are and how to contact the proper authorities

  • Timelines for the entry and departure processes

  • What can’t be carried across the borders

Propane Systems on your Boat

Propane and butane, also known as LPG (Liquified Petroleum Gas), are the most common cooking fuels used on boats. While efficient, cost effective, and widely available, these fuels can also be dangerous. This seminar gives you the tools you need to use propane fuel safely on the water. It explains boat propane systems, propane safety, and how to keep your boat and crew safe. Students receive a detailed student guide, with a glossary, inspection checklist, and standard operating plan for what to do when there is a leak.

What’s Included?

  • How LPG works

  • Components of a typical bulk delivery system, what they do, and how they work together to deliver fuel to appliances

  • Risks of using LPG and how to mitigate them through prevention—how to inspect and maintain your LPG system, test for leaks and locate them, operate your LPG appliances safely

  • What to do in an LPG emergency


This seminar will not teach you how to install or repair an LPG system. Those tasks should only be performed by technicians certified by ABYC (American Boat and Yacht Council) in marine LPG systems.

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