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Boating Courses

Boating Courses

One of the main goals of HSPS is “boating safety through education” – we believe that an educated boater is a safer boater. In addition to its public education program, HSPS teaches a series of outstanding courses that cover advanced seamanship, navigational techniques, and boat handling, maintenance, and enhancement topics.  Learn how to become a member of HSPS and take any or all of these courses.

Advanced Grade Courses

Five Advanced Grade courses are offered by USPS.  They are designed to be taken in sequence because each builds on skills taught in the previous course.

  • Seamanship covers basic deck seamanship, marlinspike (knots and ropes), anchoring and rafting, basic boat care and maintenance, and nautical and USPS customs and etiquette.
  • Piloting is the first and most basic navigation course, covering chart reading, course plotting, and basic coastal or inland navigation, including basic GPS usage. This course goes into more detail than the charting information covered in the public courses.
  • Advanced Piloting covers more advanced coastal navigation techniques, navigation in tides and currents, and more advanced GPS usage.
  • Junior Navigation teaches the basics of offshore navigation, including basic celestial navigation using the sun and offshore course planning.
  • Navigation is the most advanced navigation course taught by USPS, covering more advanced celestial navigation techniques, emergency navigation, and additional sight reduction techniques.

Elective Courses

Seven Elective Courses are offered by USPS.  They cover separate and independent topics and therefore may be taken in any order according to a member’s interests and time.

  • Engine Maintenance covers the operating principles and basic care and maintenance of outboard and inboard engines, including diesels.
  • Marine Electrical Systems covers installation and maintenance of both boat electrical systems (AC and DC) and marine electronics (VHF radio, radar, GPS, etc).
  • Marine Communication Systems covers theory, operation and maintenance of marine radio (VHF & SSB), RADAR, and satellite communication systems
  • Cruise Planning covers topics of interest for someone planning a cruise – whether for just a weekend or for a year – including preparation and planning, anchoring, security, chartering, and cruising outside the US.
  • Weather covers weather forecasting and reading weather patterns on-board.
  • Sail covers everything from the basic elements of how a sailboat works to sail trim, rig tuning, and sailboat racing.
  • Instructor Development teaches effective communication skills for not only USPS instructors but everyone, covering various methods of presenting information to others, effective use of audiovisual aids (including PowerPoint), etc.

On the Water Field Trips to Galveston Bay

To reinforce the classroom experience we include three on the water field trips each semester. These are low-key, fun outings on Galveston / Trinity Bay in HSPS member boats. We have a varied fleet: small outboard runabouts, mid-size outboard center consoles, small daysailors, blue water cruising sailboats, large power cruisers and trawlers. The cost is free to all active HSPS students in classes, seminars or boating safety classes. To register contact Robert Campbell at or 713-594-1876.

  • Sunday September 29, 2013 0800 – 1600
  • Sunday November 17, 2013  0800 - 1600

Fall 2013 Schedule

Seamanship (southwest)

  • Location: 6910 Bellaire Blvd Suite #15, Houston TX 77074
  • Time: 7-9 PM Tuesdays
  • Date of first class: Tuesday September 17, 2013
  • Number of classes: 8
  • Prerequisite: none
  • Course Description: http://www.usps.org/national/eddept/s/main.htm

 Piloting (southwest)

  • Location: Location: 6910 Bellaire Blvd Suite #15, Houston TX 77074
  • Time: 7-9 PM Thursdays
  • Date of first class: Thursday  September 12, 2013
  • Number of classes: 10
  • Prerequisite: none
  • Course Description: http://www.usps.org/national/eddept/p/main.htm

  Advanced Piloting (southwest)

  • Location: 6910 Bellaire Blvd Suite #15, Houston TX 77074
  • Time: 7-9 PM Mondays
  • Date of first class: Monday  September 16, 2013
  • Number of classes: 10
  • Prerequisite: none
  • Course Description: http://www.usps.org/national/eddept/ap/main.htm

Navigation (southwest)

  • Location: 6910 Bellaire Blvd Suite #15, Houston TX 77074
  • Time: 7-9 PM Thursdays
  • Date of first class: Thursday  September 19, 2013
  • Number of classes: 12
  • Prerequisite: Junior Navigation
  • Course Description: http://www.usps.org/national/eddept/n/main.htm

Marine Electrical Systems (southwest)

  • Location: 6910 Bellaire Blvd Suite #15, Houston TX 77074
  • Time: 7-9 PM Mondays
  • Date of first class: Monday September 16, 2013
  • Number of classes: 8
  • Prerequisite: none
  • Course Description: http://www.usps.org/national/eddept/me/main.htm

Marine Engine Maintenance (southwest)

  • Location: 6910 Bellaire Blvd Suite #15, Houston TX 77074
  • Time: 7-9 PM Tuesdays
  • Date of first class: Tuesday  September 10, 2013
  • Number of classes: 10
  • Prerequisite: none
  • Course Description: http://www.usps.org/national/eddept/em/main.htm

Boat Operator Certification

For information on achieving certification as a boater, please see our separate page.

For more information on member courses, or to sign up, please call Robert Campbell at (713) 594-1876 or email