U.S. Department of Homeland Security

U.S. Coast guard Auxiliary

​Flotilla 11-1 Clearwater, FL
The best never rest!

Course Descriptions

GPS for Mariners


Additional subjects covered are: running the simulator, description of all data fields available, proximity waypoints, using the anchor alarm, efficient navigation, communicating with a personal computer, and networking with other instruments.


The recommended presentation of the session involves inviting course participants who already own hand-held GPS units to bring them to the class, increasing interactivity of the educational experience and getting students more involved. However, this class is so effective that even those not possessing handheld units will learn how to use a GPS for practical recreational boating.


This one evening seminar covers the practical application of a marine GPS chartplotter. This session covers the general use of the equipment, different screens, how to enter and edit waypoints and routes. The material follows what is presented in the "GPS for Mariners" textbook. A copy of the text is provided.

About Boating Safely


Introduction to Boating – Types of power boats; sailboats; outboards; paddle boats; houseboats; different uses of boats; various power boating engines; jet drives; family boating basics.     

Boating Law – Boat registration; boating regulation; hull identification number; required boat safety equipment; operating safely and reporting accidents; protecting the marine environment; Federal boat law; state boating laws; personal watercraft requirements.     

Boat Safety Equipment – Personal flotation devices "life jackets"; fire extinguishers; sound-producing devices; visual-distress signals; dock lines and rope; first aid kit; anchors and anchor lines; other boating safety equipment.     

Safe Boating – Bow riding; alcohol and drug abuse; entering, loading, and trimming a boat; fueling portable and permanent tanks; steering with a tiller and a wheel; docking, undocking and mooring; knots; filing a float plan; checking equipment, fuel, weather and tides; using charts; choosing and using an anchor; safe PWC handling; general water safety.

Our Public Education Program

The Coast Guard and the Auxiliary believe that education is the best approach to preventing accidents. Members of the Coast Guard Auxiliary present public education programs as a service to the boating public. The State of Florida requires any individual 
born after Jan. 1, 1988 to have passed a Safe Boating Course before operating a motorboat on public waters. They must carry their Florida Boater Education ID card whenever they operate a power boat. The Coast Guard Auxiliary offers two such programs, and they are mentioned below:



Navigation – The U.S. Aids to Navigation system; types of buoys and beacons; navigation rules (sometimes referred to as right-of-way rules); avoiding collisions; sound signals; PWC "tunnel vision."

Boating Problems – Hypothermia; boating accidents and rescues; man overboard recovery; capsizing; running aground; river hazards; strainers: emergency radio calls; engine problems; equipment failures; carbon monoxide (CO); other boating and PWC problems.     

Trailering, Storing and Protecting Your Boat – Types of trailers; trailer brakes, lights, hitches, tires, and bearings; loading, balancing, and towing a trailer; towing (and backing) a trailer; boat launching and retrieving; boat storage and theft protection; launching, retrieving and storing a PWC.

Hunting and Fishing, Water-skiing and River Boating – Carrying hunting gear and weapons in a boat; fishing from a boat; water-skiing safety guidelines and hand signals; water-skiing with a PWC; navigating rivers, and other boating tips.