Boating Courses

Canadian Power and Sail Squadrons offers a variety of classroom based Boating Safety and Navigation courses at locations across Canada. You can search for a course of interest to you in several ways here on our website.  

To search for your course, you may browse our full listing of courses described below and then select your course by clicking on the course name.  As well, you can utilize our course search areas by location, category or course name on the right-hand side of this page.

You may also choose to purchase our textbooks and course materials for home study here

Course Descriptions

Introductory Courses
Course
Boating Basics (PCOC) Boating Basics (PCOC)

All operators of motorized pleasure craft are required to show proof of operator competency. All you need to know for the Transport Canada test is presented in an easy to read format that is both informative and entertaining. You can be confident that this study guide meets all the standards established by Transport Canada’s Office of Boating Safety.

As an extra benefit, if you pass the test offered by Canadian Power and Sail Squadrons, your Card is recognized by BOTH Transport Canada and The National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (USA). You may contact Canadian Power and Sail Squadrons to locate a testing facility in your area.

See course table of contents.

Boating Basics (PCOC) Boating Basics (PCOC) – Mandarin

All operators of motorized pleasure craft are required to show proof of operator competency. All you need to know for the Transport Canada test is presented in an easy to read format that is both informative and entertaining. You can be confident that this study guide meets all the standards established by Transport Canada’s Office of Boating Safety.

As an extra benefit, if you pass the test offered by Canadian Power and Sail Squadrons, your Card is recognized by BOTH Transport Canada and The National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (USA). You may contact Canadian Power and Sail Squadrons to locate a testing facility in your area.

Beyond the PCOC Boating 2: Beyond the PCOC

The PCOC makes sure you have immediate navigation and safety skills but it’s just the beginning of what you should know when you get on a boat. In the second of our Boating Series, you are introduced to the art of navigation, anchoring, ropes, lines and knots – not to mention what to expect when the boat is moving under power. This course also has a number of optional topics that will be taught depending on your interests; these include towing, trailering and a check list for layup and launch.

Suggested Prerequisite: Boating 1: Pleasure Craft Operator Card (PCOC)

5-6 weeks one evening per week

See course table of contents.

Introduction to Navigation Boating 3: Introduction to Navigation

The third course in our series explores navigation further as you learn how to plot and label on paper charts as well as what the skipper should be doing before setting out and when under way, handling a boat under sail as well as your environmental responsibilities and electrical hazards,. This course also has a number of optional topics that will be taught depending on your interests; these include tides and currents, canals and locks, and collision regulations.

Suggested Prerequisite: Boating 2: Beyond the PCOC

5-6 weeks one evening per week

See course table of contents.

Boating Essentials Boating Essentials

Enjoyment and safety on the water require knowledge. Boating Essentials will take you to the next level in your boating education. Technology has changed the way we navigate. However, in order to use a GPS/chartplotter effectively, you should understand the use of paper charts and coastal navigation. The topics covered in this course; magnetic compass, global positioning and charts, navigation, conning, plotting, digital charting, anchoring, lines and ropes will increase your boating knowledge and make your adventures on the water safe and enjoyable.

See course table of contents.

Boating Essentials Boating Essentials including PCOC
Get your PCOC card and learn about plotting and navigation.
 
*Formerly The Boating Course. See both listings for courses near you.
PCOC for Youth PCOC for Youth
The Operator Card seminar, ages 8-12.
 
The Approved Boating Handbook and the Student Workbook prepares kids aged 8-12 for the Pleasure Craft Operator Card (PCOC) exam. The Student Workbook is full of activities that assists children to learn the material found in the Boating Handbook.

Whether your child takes the class or simply uses the kit as a study guide, upon successful completion of the test, you will receive a one-year complimentary Associate Membership to CPS, with benefits.

Stay safe with CPS.

Maritime Radio
Course
Maritime Radio Maritime Radio

The Maritime Radio course teaches emergency radio procedures and everyday operating techniques. Learn all about the uses of marine radios, choice of frequencies, operation, phonetic alphabet, procedural words and phrases, as well as Digital Selective Calling and the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System, (DSC/GMDSS). All mariners, including recreational boaters, will want to take advantage of the many features and capabilities of this innovative form “automatic” radio. Secure your lifeline. Be sure that you and your family take the Maritime Radio course.

This complete package with CD, and the new Digital Selective Calling, will prepare you for the Restricted Operator Certificate (Maritime) with DSC Endorsement exam. To operate a maritime radio, you need the certificate. It's the law!

See course table of contents.

Maritime Radio Maritime Radio - DSC Update
This seminar is for holders of Restricted Operator Certificate (Maritime) issued before January 1st 2005.
 
This seminar is for holders of Restricted Operator Certificate (Maritime) issued before January 1st 2005. Learn about the new Digital communication channels on new Maritime radios and their use in an emergency situation. Digital Selective Calling could save your life in an emergency situation.
Electronic Courses
Course
Electronic Charting Electronic Charting

This course takes over where Navigating with GPS leaves off, with the more advanced features of electronic charting. Learn about the different kinds of electronic charting, how they were developed, their advantages and disadvantages, and how to use them. Get the latest information about connecting your GPS to a laptop, desktop, PDA or tablet computer, and navigational programs. You get practical knowledge by using an electronic charting program that is included on the accompanying CD with over 200 electronic charts.

Electronic Navigation Electronic Navigation

This course will allow the pleasure craft operator to navigate safely knowing his exact location at all times. You will learn to navigate using GPS and paper charts as well as electronic charting devices. It includes a CD containing a number of charts and a full scale simulator of a chart plotter to help you learn by doing. Join with others to share experiences and knowledge.

See course table of contents.

Navigating with GPS Navigating with GPS

This seminar will introduce you to the versatile Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers. With this course, you will learn simple explanations of the system which makes GPS such an effective navigational aid as well as methods of extracting the maximum navigational information from your equipment. Improved position information, course planning and real time speed/direction data improves your boating safety and cruise enjoyment, while reducing transit time and fuel consumption.

RADAR for Pleasure Craft RADAR for Pleasure Craft

This course covers the different types of RADAR equipment, their capabilities and limitations. Understand the available features and how they apply to your needs. Learn to navigate using RADAR, and to determine where you are.

Boat Electrical Systems
Elective Courses
Course
Boat and Engine Maintenance Boat and Engine Maintenance

Keep the water on the other side of the wall! From spark plugs to bottom paint, this course covers all the basics for “do it yourself” boaters.

This course will equip you with the knowledge required to prevent onboard problems, carry out specialized tasks and tackle both short-term troubleshooting as well as long-term boat care.  It features practical information and handy tips suitable for both new and existing boat owners. The dream of owning, maintaining and using your own boat without great expense can be achieved through the completion of the Boat & Engine Maintenance Course.

See course table of contents.

Extended Cruising Extended Cruising

Are you ready to ‘cut the ties that bind’? Extended Cruising is an essential first step in understanding the elements of the long-distance passage making lifestyle under sail or power. Through this course you will become confident in the boat you select by understanding seaworthiness, stability, and other design concepts. You will gain an awareness of the maintenance required for critical systems, passage planning, provisioning, and visiting foreign countries, safety issues, emergency preparedness and weather tips.

If you want to cruise coastal waters, experience remote anchorages far from home or explore countries across oceans, Extended Cruising provides you with a deeper understanding of the skills necessary for confident, safe passages.

See course table of contents.

Introduction to Weather Introduction to Weather for Recreational Boaters

Winds, waves, fog, lightning, hail, tornadoes .... hurricanes! The wise boater respects and anticipates mother nature’s many moods. Beyond “red sky in the morning”, this course provides boaters with the tools to find and accurately interpret weather reports and forecasts, and to develop keen judgments in “reading” the sky and sea for optimum boating safety in and around Canadian waters. Newly developed for adult learners, this course will measure learning success not by closed-book, memory-work exams, but by practical, open-book applications of learned concepts to actual boating situations.

Topics:

1. The Atmosphere, Temperature, Heat
2. Wind, Pressure, Waves
3. Water, Humidity, Fog, Precipitation
4. Stability, Clouds
5. Thunderstorms and Tornadoes
6. Mid-Latitude Weather and Storms
7. Overview of Special Topics: e.g. hurricanes

Fundamentals of Weather Fundamentals of Weather

Winds, waves, fog, lightning, hail, tornadoes …. hurricanes! The wise boater respects and anticipates Mother Nature’s many moods. Beyond “red sky in the morning”, the new CPS Weather Course provides boaters with the tools to find and accurately interpret weather reports and forecasts, and to develop keen judgments in “reading” the sky and sea for optimum boating safety.

See course table of contents.

Global Weather Global Weather

Global Weather expands on concepts introduced in the Fundamentals of Weather.

In this course you will study topics like El Niño, summer monsoons, or lake effect snows. Work with measurements such as air pressure, temperature, dew point and wind direction/speed to sharpen your forecasting skills.

Appreciate the inner workings of tropical cyclones (hurricanes) and chinooks. Develop skills in offshore sailing and advance planning including the use of weather services and interpreting data.

Study the weather in all its moods.

See course table of contents.

Maintenance Marine Electrical Maintenance

Learn how to maintain electrical systems in your boat properly and safely.

Enrol in the Marine Electrical Maintenance Course with your local Canadian Power and Sail Squadron, because PEACE OF MIND IS PRICELESS!

Sailing Sailing

Do you want to learn more about sailing?  Do you want to improve your sailing skills and your understanding of how sails work?

This Sailing Course covers the practical and theoretical basics of sailing and sailing seamanship. The range of topics is broad: from a description of different sailboat rigs, sail plans, hull types, and rigging to stability, balance, and the physics of sailing; from sailing at different points of sail to handling heavy weather and storm conditions; from spinnaker handling to reefing; from leaving the dock to mooring and anchoring.  It also covers sailing safety, navigation rules, and sailing tactics.

Whether you are a new sailor or you are an experienced sailor and want to increase your sailing knowledge and skills, this course is for you.

See course table of contents.

Advanced Courses
Course
Seamanship

Do you know what to do if a boat on fire calls you for help?  Can you deal with emergencies on your own boat?  Build your confidence on the water, and make your boating a safe and fun experience, by taking the CPS Seamanship Course.   You will learn how to cope with these situations, as well as many other aspects of boating, such as relative bearings, knots and splicing, medical emergencies, coping with adverse weather, and much more.

See course table of contents.

Advanced Piloting Advanced Piloting

Knowledge of the basics of navigation and planning cruises on a maritime chart is just the start.  Expand that knowledge by using a variety of electronic devices to chart your course and enable you to plan your course under tidal, current and windy conditions.  By learning more about dead reckoning, fixes and running fixes you will have attained a high degree of proficiency in navigating through coastal waters.  In the CPS AP Course we cover GPS, Chart Plotters, Radar, SONAR, Autopilots and more.

See course table of contents.

Junior Navigation Junior Navigator

When the GPS ceases to work, be guided by the sun.

This is the first of a two-course program of Offshore Navigation for the recreational boater. Learn to use a marine sextant to derive lines of position and a running fix from sights on the sun. When you are boating offshore, remember that GPS is not infallible, nor always available. Be confident when no aids to navigation or land objects are in sight.

See course table of contents.

Navigation Global Navigation

Use the stars to find your way.

This is the second of a two-course program of Offshore Navigation program for the recreational boater. It introduces the navigator to route planning for going offshore, may the voyage be long or short.  While overshadowed by the new electronic systems, the art and science of celestial navigation is still a valuable asset to the offshore boaters.  This course provides the student with the fundamental knowledge and practical skills of celestial navigation.  It involves the use of a sextant for taking sights on the sun, planets, moon, and stars.

See course table of contents.

Seminars
Course
Marine Diesel Engine Seminar
Marine Systems Related Maintenance
Sail Trim and Rig Tuning
Working with Fiberglass
Boat Projects: Maintenance and Improvements

Many boaters would like to repair or upgrade their boats but may not have the confidence to undertake the job.  David Salter, your instructor in this seminar, has many years of experience building, repairing, and upgrading boats.  If you need advice and direction to tackle a project on your boat you are welcome to contact David at salterd@sympatico.ca.

From among the projects David reviews he will select one or more for each workshop that may be of general interest and suggest a practical outline on how to approach each one.  If you contact David, he may cover your project in his next seminar. During the seminars, David will also discuss techniques and tools that he has found to be most useful as well as sources for materials not readily available in Kingston.
Online
Course
Navigation

The CPS Navigation Course deals with learning celestial positioning on bodies in addition to the Sun (covered in the JN course).You will first learn to reduce these sights by the Law of Cosines method. Later in the course you will learn an additional method of sight reduction - the Nautical Almanac Sights Reduction (NASR) method.  You will also learn sight planning techniques.  With that knowledge you will have the tools to take sights and complete your Navigation Sight Folder. 

The course will be delivered via GoToMeeting, a technique enabling you to take the course on-line in the comfort of your own home using a PC or tablet device capable of accessing the Internet.