Powerboat Cruising Course Description

24-Hours of instruction in this private course

The Powerboat Cruising course teaches you how to responsibly operate a powered cruising vessel during daylight hours and within sight of land in light to moderate wind and sea conditions.

Certification requirements include successfully completing the following knowledge and skill requirements with confidence and safe command of the boat and in light to moderate conditions and stronger conditions with an awareness of limitations in these conditions.

Upon completion, you will be certified to safely operate a cruising powerboat of at least 26 feet in length.  No prerequisites for this course.

Course is divided into four 6-hour days according to your availability.

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  • Private Course
  • Includes fuel, boat, course materials, instructor, and insurance
  • $4,500 for one person. Add a second person for an additional $1,900



1. Recognize and obtain forecasts of local weather conditions.
2. Determine current and wind direction.
3. Check inventory, location and operation of U.S. Coast Guard required safety equipment.
4. Check the engine systems applicable to your boat: engine controls, mechanical and fluids daily checks, ventilation, and cooling.
5. Check electrical system applicable to your boat: main battery switch, electrical control panel, and batteries.
6. Check bilge pump system as applicable to your boat: operation of manual and electrical pumps, intake maintenance, and alarms.
7. Inspect anchoring system applicable to your boat: anchors, shackles, rodes, chafing equipment and windlass.
8. Operate a VHF radio including: operation of controls, channel usage, procedure words, weather channels, and a radio check.
9. Conduct pre-start procedure for engine and equipment used.
10. Put on a life jacket.
11. Pre-check all other equipment specific to your boat not indicated above.
12. Tie and state use of the following knots and line handling techniques: cleat hitch, bowline, round turn with two half-hitches, and coiling.

Docking and Close-Quarters Maneuvering

13. Use appropriate helmsman and crew coordination for departure suitable to the conditions: line handling, fending off and boathandling.
14. Use appropriate helmsman and crew coordination for arrival suitable to the conditions: deploying fenders, boathandling, stopping and tying up.
15. Maneuver in close quarters: speed and momentum control, windage and prop walk control, and command of the crew.
16. Start, stop and back the boat with appropriate shifting techniques.
17. Turn boat 180 degrees in close quarters.
18. Control the boat at minimum control speed using intermittent power.
19. Hold position at an anchored object bow into the wind and stern into the wind with minimal throttle actions.

Navigation (Piloting)

20. Identify Aids to Navigation in the harbor and local waters.
21. Identify chart symbols and corresponding visual observations.

Navigation Rules, International-Inland

22. Apply Navigation Rules while underway.

Boat Control in Open Water

23. Transition from displacement speed to high speed safely and in control.
24. Steer a compass course and a range with minimal rudder controls.
25. Turn safely at high speed.
26. Slow and stop the boat safely after operating at high speed.


27. Anchor the boat with appropriate scope.
28. Retrieve an anchor.

Emergency Procedures

29. Approach and recover safely a simulated person in the water.
30. Simulate procedure and operation of VHF radio in emergency situations.

Securing a Boat

31. Clean the boat; install any covers.
32. Set electrical and bilge systems for dock operation.
33. Secure locks, hatches, lockers, docklines and fenders.



1. Identify weather information sources.
2. Understand weather recognition and forecasting techniques for a day cruise.
3. Understand types, carriage and use requirements of life jackets.
4. Understand use of a float plan.
5. Understand applicable federal, state and local regulations.
6. Understand additional equipment appropriate for the boat and location.
7. Understand trip planning that includes consideration of distance, time and fuel consumption, and identifying local hazards.
8. Understand procedures for crew briefing, including how to move safely around a boat.
9. Understand proper fueling techniques and inherent dangers.
10. Understand the prevention, dangers and symptoms of cold water immersion and hypothermia.
11. Understand the dangers, symptoms and avoidance practices associated with carbon monoxide poisoning.
12. Understand the effects of drinking alcohol or using drugs while boating and the boating laws pertinent to operating a boat while under the influence.
13. Understand the prevention, symptoms and first aid treatment of heat emergencies, hypothermia and seasickness.


14. Be familiar with nomenclature for basic parts of the boat and engine.
15. Understand how to check battery voltage, and consumption and recharging.

Powerboat Theory

18. Understand basic powerboat hull shapes and how they affect turning.
19. Understand how wind and seas will affect handling.
20. Understand the concept of pivot point and turning radius.


21. Understand the differences and alternatives for leaving and returning in different wind and current directions.
22. Understand how to heave a line.

Navigation (Piloting)

23. Understand Aids to Navigation (buoys, daymarks, regulatory marks and other marks) specific to your local waters.

Navigation Rules, International-Inland

24. Understand the concept of constant bearing and decreasing range to avoid collisions.
25. Understand basic Navigation Rules, International-Inland, for collision avoidance and appropriate sound signals.
26. Understand navigation light requirements for recreational boats.
27. Know divers flags and understand appropriate actions.

Boat Control in Open Water

28. Understand the appropriate methods for handling significant waves and large wake.
29. Understand boat handling for adverse weather conditions and dangerous inlets.

Emergency Procedures

30. Understand person in the water rescues, including: Race Track, Lifesling, Williamson Turn, constant visual contact, communications, rescue plan, sequence of maneuvers, boat handling.
31. Understand the dangers associated with approaching a person in the water.
32. Understand approved distress signals.
33. Understand appropriate methods for assisting a conscious person from the water.
34. Understand the procedure for anchoring in the event of engine and/or windlass failure.
35. Understand procedures after running aground.
36. Understand use of fire fighting equipment on board: regulations, types, location and operation.
37. Understand the requirement to render assistance to a boat in distress to the extent you are able.
38. Understand the boating accidents that require an accident report as well as how, when and where to file the report.


39. Understand anchoring procedures and appropriate amount of scope.
40. Understand types of anchors and their advantages and disadvantages.
41. Understand how to determine the required scope of an anchor rode.