Our Mission is Education…

USPS believes that the more educated a boater becomes, the more likely that he or she will be a safe skipper. TSPS’s mission is to increase knowledge of boating safety good practices and to help boat operators, family and crew become competent pilots and navigators.

We provide courses in boating safety, navigation, and other topics both to our own members and, as basic instruction, to the general public, as well as JMRA Class 1 & 2 License classes. Our qualified, enthusiastic, and experienced TSPS instructors lead our classes as a civic service. There is never a charge for instruction; the only costs are for textbooks and instructional materials, plus overhead costs such as classroom rental, and shipping.

While our student manuals serve as the basis of content for each course, they will also serve as indispensable reference books for the boater or sailor long after the course work is completed. And in addition to their knowledge of fundamental seamanship know-how, our Tokyo-based instructors are a valuable source of information regarding local Japanese waters.

Courses available to the public and TSPS members?

Non-USPS Members are able to take either our test preparation course for the Japan Class 1 & 2 License, required to operate small powered water craft in Japan, or one of our Basic Boating courses. The Basic Boating Courses do not allow operation of powered vessels in Japan, but are highly recommended to family or crew members, or to those who want to join TSPS without committing the time and expense to earn the Class 1 or 2 license. Completion of any of the Basic Boating Courses, or acquisition of the Japan Class 1 or 2 license, makes you eligible for TSPS membership.

TSPS Members may take a variety of Basic, Intermediate, Advanced, and Seminar courses. The Intermediate courses build upon the basis of the Basic Boating courses, while the Advanced courses offer progressively more challenging instruction, from coastal piloting to full-fledged ocean navigation, and focus on practical know-how, including Beginning and Advanced Sail, Marine Electronics, Engine Maintenance, Weather, and others.

JRMA license

If you would like to obtain a Japanese boat license we can help with that. Refer to our JRMA course for more details

Basic TSPS Courses

Many of the courses below are scheduled upon demand or when our instructor team learns of interest in them. If you would like to take one or a few of these courses, go to our form and express your interest in enrolling. Our Squadron Education Officer will get back to you with information on your choice of course(s).

These courses are open to TSPS members and non-members.

If you are interested in getting started in boating or sailing, but don’t need to operate your own vessel in Japan, we recommend one of our Basic Boating courses. These will give you an overview of boating rules, regulations, and know-how. There are several alternative textbooks and programs depending upon your needs.

Short Courses. People who sign up for TSPS courses in Japan have needs that vary as much as the winds, and they are equally affected by time limitations and busy schedules. That’s why we’re constantly developing new courses and materials and looking for time windows in which to deliver them. That’s why we also run short one to four-session seminars. Topics have included Weather Apps for mobile devices, Marlinspike, Knots for Sailors, and others. Interest in these courses has been wonderful and we’ll be holding them throughout the year.

We believe these short courses are great skill-builders and quick reminders that when it comes to boating, the learning is nearly infinite.

Learn To Sail is the course for all present and future boaters, sailors, and personal water craft enthusiasts to start their boating education. This course teaches the basic nautical rules and regulations, courtesies of the sea, and the natural forces and man-made dangers that all boaters and sailors face on the water. As sailing and boating is often a family or group activity, the course is of value to all members of a crew. TSPS encourages families and sailor friends to attend as groups to enrich the learning experience.

America’s Boating Course is an innovative learning system that includes an online course, CD-ROM, printed manual and personal contact with United States Power Squadron representatives. It is an interactive, self-paced multimedia rich course for the novice and the old salt, for power or sail, and from yachts to personal water craft (PWC). Its fun, effective, and inexpensive so come on board today!

Coastal Navigation 1 is designed to give the student an introduction to the subject known as Piloting, or the techniques of determining a vessel’s position when it is within the sight or near proximity of land. The course is available to graduates of USPS Boat Smart or America’s Boating Course (See section below). The course teaches the use and application of basic navigational instruments and aids to navigation. It builds upon the knowledge gained in Boat Smart or America’s Boating Course by covering the following subjects:

  1. Mariner’s Compass
  2. Charts
  3. Aids to Navigation
  4. Plotting a Course
  5. Distance, Speed, Time
  6. Determining Position

Coastal Navigation 1 may also appeal to squadron members as a refresher prior to taking the Advanced Grade course of Piloting.

Express your interest in taking a basic course.

Advanced TSPS Courses

As a general rule, a Basic Boating course is a prerequisite for the courses listed below. However, this requirement is waived if the enrollee has previous boating experience and sufficient boating knowledge. These courses are generally open only to members.

Seamanship covers basic knowledge every prudent skipper wants even before leaving port – practical marlinspike, hull design and performance, boat care, skipper’s responsibilities, boating under normal and abnormal conditions, emergencies afloat, and more.

Piloting introduces you to the critical study of marine charts, aids to navigation, adjustment and use of the mariner’s compass, dead reckoning, planning and plotting courses, and taking bearings to determine your on-the-water position.

Advanced Piloting builds on the knowledge gained in Piloting to teach you how to navigate in coastal waters, predict tides and tidal currents, navigate safely with radar, loran C, and GPS, and optimize course planning.

Junior Navigation begins your study of offshore navigation. Learn to use integrated electronic positioning systems, sight taking on celestial bodies with a mariner’s sextant, and positioning & passage planning with special open-ocean charts.

Navigation further develops your understanding of celestial navigation theory and your skills in sight taking and reduction. Also learn to navigate with only minimal survival gear in the event of a disabling boat accident.

Cruise Planning helps you prepare for voyaging afloat – whether just week-ending or multi-month cruising. Learn essentials about equipping and provisioning your boat, crew selection, financing your trip, entering and clearing foreign ports, emergencies afloat, & boat security.

Engine Maintenance won’t make you an expert mechanic, but it will enable you to trouble-shoot most common engine problems and jury-rig many repairs. Covers outboard motors, inboard gas and diesel engines, power trains, and related mechanical systems.

Instructor Qualification provides you with practical techniques and training in making effective presentations – whether as a teacher, meeting chair, public speaker, or everyday conversationalist.

Marine Electronics offers you essential information about boat electrical and electronic systems in terms understandable by non-engineers and non-technicians. Learn about proper wiring and power systems, corrosion and electrolysis, and electronic navigation and safety systems.

Sail guides you through the special terminology and dynamics of sailing, hulls and rigging, wind and water forces and balance, points of sail, sail handling, and navigation rules unique to sailing.

Weather teaches you the basic structure and characteristics of our atmosphere, how to interpret weather maps and reports, and how to make your own skilled observations – all keyed to helping you predict and anticipate weather developments affecting your boating.

USPS Learning Guides are self-study handbooks on specialized boating-related subjects of interest to amateur skippers and navigators. Topics range from GPS to Knots, Bends & Hitches, from Amateur Radio to Oceanography, from Boat Design & Construction to Predicted Log Contests. USPS currently has over 20 different Learning Guides.

Express your interest in taking an advanced course.

TSPS Seminars

TSPS offers short seminars of one to four sessions in length. These are open to TSPS members and non-members.

Powerboat Handling Historically it took many years’ experience to be truly at ease and skilled at handling a powerboat. This skill was achieved over years of on the water trial and error experience.  What about the rest of us?  Here’s a good way to get there quickly and safely.  This seminar is a three-part series: Close Quarters Maneuvering, How Boats Behave and Seas, and Handling at Sea.  The seminar shows you how your boat will behave and why in response to your controls.  You’ll understand what the pro’s have learned the hard way.  This gets you there faster, and with confidence.  Then, on the water you can visualize your actions and execute them easily.  The seminar is often offered with on the water training for a complete experience.  The full-color bookPowerboat Handling Illustrated by Bob Sweet is included as a reference.

Anchoring The Anchoring Seminar has been prepared to assist boaters in understanding the issues and problems involving the theories of anchor weight, the methods used to anchor, and the choices of anchor types for the area of boating. The slides and notations on anchoring are intended to raise awareness of the need for correct anchor choices and the mechanics of proper anchoring techniques. The knowledge gained from completing this seminar will increase the student’s understanding of the conditions and situations involved in anchoring a boat and the need for a proper anchor choice.

The kit includes the Anchoring Quick Guide and Anchoring Seminar booklet.

Basic Coastal Navigation Today, electronics have radically changed navigation, but understanding the basics helps you gain confidence in your equipment and your own skills.

In this seminar, you will learn practical techniques to plan, navigate, and check your progress on the water. You will develop situational awareness skills using your eyes and navigation tools to quickly point to your position on a chart, and be able to use backup techniques when the electronics become suspect. This seminar will help captain and crew navigate safely and comfortably.

The student kit contains The Weekend Navigator textbook, a Seminar Notes booklet, and Maptech’s Chart Navigator Training CD, which includes software and digital charts to gain familiarity with this new technology.

Weather and Forecasting

“A veering wind will clear the sky;
A backing wind says storms are nigh.”

All boaters have heard this mariners’ proverb or similar ones. They have a salty flavor that takes us back to the era of sailing ships. In this seminar students will learn the meteorological basis for them.

The safety and comfort of those who venture out-on-the-water have always been weather dependent. This seminar is a must for boaters who have never taken a weather course. The complex subject of weather is presented in a way that is both understandable and useful. Topics include:

  • Air Masses and Fronts;
  • Winds;
  • Storms;
  • Clouds and Thunderstorms;
  • Fog; and
  • Forecasting

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

Boat Handling Under Power This seminar shows boaters how to depart and dock under a variety of conditions as well as all about trimming the boat underway. The seminar materials include a waterproof USPS Captain’s Quick Guide and Student Notes.

Emergencies On Board This seminar is designed to prepare the prudent skipper for those unfortunate situations involving accidents and emergencies on board. It will provide the skipper with the information to prepare adequately for common emergencies and how to actually deal with them when they occur. Topics such as preventing accidents, running aground, fire, getting lost, towing, medical conditions, as well as other often-encountered emergencies are covered. The seminar comes with the Emergencies on Board Quick Guide—a handy reference to use in responding to emergency situations.

Each student also receives a full color Student Guide for the seminar.

How To Use A Chart Charts provide information essential to your safety afloat. Even with GPS and electronic navigation, the chart is needed to tell you what is around you and between you and your intended destination. A system of symbols is used by cartographers to tell you what lies below the surface of the water and the depths of water. There is key information about visible landmarks and navigation aids to help you navigate your course. The chart also is your link with the GPS via its grid scale, compass rose, and distance scales. A brief introduction to latitude and longitude provides insight to the operation of GPS receivers.

The NOAA Chart No. 1 is the quintessential reference to chart details, but is very difficult to understand. This seminar walks you through what you really need to know in an entertaining and interesting fashion, and provides you with a Maptech Waterproof flip-fold waterproof Chart Symbols and On-the-Water Guide to take along on the boat with you. In addition to showing you all about your chart, this seminar walks you through the essentials of laying out a safe course, and the steps to measure a course with the USPS plotter.

Hurricanes And Boats This is a mini-seminar.  It covers how to select a location and prepare your boat for a hurricane.  The kit includes Student Notes with copies of the slides.

Knots, Bends, And Hitches The Knots, Bends, and Hitches seminar is a hands-on “learn how to tie knots” program geared to a wide range of audiences.  The kit comes with a copy of the USPS Guide Knots, Bends and Hitches for Mariners, a copy of the slide notes and a kit including a die-cut knot board and two lengths of line.  Participants learn about knots, learn to tie a set of the most useful knots, and then get to take the whole package home with them to practice these and a whole host of other knots described in the book.

Man Overboard! This seminar is designed to teach boaters how to react, and then, how to recover a crewmember or passenger who accidentally falls overboard. The seminar covers vessel set-up and man overboard (MOB) equipment as well as maneuvering to keep the rescuer close to the person in the water. It also covers the responsibility of the person in the water in this emergency situation and methods of recovering that person.

The seminar includes a student booklet, seminar registration form, and completion certificate.

Marine Radar This seminar covers how radar functions, radar selection, operation of the radar under various conditions including setting of controls, display interpretation, basic navigation, and collision avoidance using radar. The kit includes The Radar Book written by Kevin Monahan ($25 retail) and Student Notes with copies of slides.

Mariner’s Compass The marine compass is still the boaters primary navigation tool, and an essential tool when all else fails.  This seminar explains how to select, install, calibrate and use your compass on board your boat.  You will learn which features are most important and what will work best for you, how to deal with variation between true and magnetic north, and how to adjust your compass to remove most of the deviation caused by local magnetic influences.  This is an essential seminar for all boaters.

Mastering The Rules Of The Road This seminar provides an explanation with examples of the 37 Rules of the Road for both the U.S. Inland Rules and the International Rules (COLREGS). It simplifies the sometimes complex law relating to boat operation for the recreational boater. It is a starting point for study preparation for the USCG License examination. This seminar includes McGraw-Hill’s The One Minute Guide to the Nautical Rules of the Road by Charlie Wing and Student Notes with slides.

Partner In Command This seminar provides an introduction to boating for crew members who need basic information and who may or may not have taken a boating course. It is designed to provide essential information one may require to assist a skipper in the safe operation of a recreational boat. Included in the seminar are actions in response to emergencies. This seminar includes a text. A Knot Board will be useful to practice tying knots.

Practical On-The-Water Trainings This is an eight hour seminar with the perfect combination of classroom training and 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. It covers use of lines, departing the dock, operating in a fairway, pivoting, mooring, backing, docking, steering – slalom, holding course – range, and a quick stop.

Sail Trim and Rig Tuning This seminar shows in clear and simple terms how to use and adjust sails for optimum performance under a wide range of conditions.  The seminar comes with a waterproof USPS Captain’s Quick Guide written by North Sails and Student Notes.

Tides And Currents The seminar deals with how the sun and moon create tidal patterns, 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 tides and currents from experienced coastal boaters.

Each student receives a full color Student Guide for the seminar.

Using GPS GPS has become a common tool for navigation. However using GPS on the water is distinctly different from a moving map display in your car. This seminar explains the principles of waypoint navigation which you will use. It then shows you how to relate the GPS to your charts which provide essential information about what is around you.

The seminar also shows you how to operate your GPS – what the buttons do, what the screens show, and how to access the functions you need. A handheld GPS is used as the demonstration model, but all GPS receivers function similarly. By the time you have completed the seminar, you will be able to store waypoints into your GPS, activate them for navigation, and use GPS to keep you on a safe, pre-qualified course of your choosing. You’ll also get some tips for choosing a GPS if you don’t currently own one. You will get a copy of the waterproof McGraw-Hill Captain’s Quick Guide Using GPSto take aboard to remind you of the steps, or to show another of your crew how to use your GPS.

Express your interest in taking one of our seminars.