The Piloting course is the first in a sequence of USPS courses on navigation. This new course focuses on navigation as it is done on recreational boats today and embraces GPS as a primary navigation tool while covering enough of traditional techniques so the student will be able to find his/her way even if their GPS fails. The course includes many in-class exercises, developing the student’s skills through hands-on practice and learning.


Topics include:
  • Charts and their interpretation
  • Navigation aids and how they point to safe water
  • Plotting courses and determining direction and distance
  • The mariner’s compass and converting between True and Magnetic.
  • Use of GPS-typical displays and information they provide, setting up waypoints and routes, staying on a GPS route.
  • Pre-planning safe courses and entering them into the GPS
  • Monitoring progress and determining position by both GPS and traditional techniques such as bearings and dead reckoning
  • The “Seaman’s Eye” - simple skills for checking that one is on course.


P/C Jim Mahoney, AP
P/C Jim Mahoney, AP, is currently the Squadron Educational Officer (SEO). Jim has been an active boater since his first boat in 1973. That boat somehow grew from 17 to 35ft over the years. He has taught Piloting and other courses since 1998 and is working on becoming a vessel examiner.
For course dates, check the "Calendar". If not scheduled, call Call SEO P/C Jim Mahoney, AP at 508-655-5244. Courses will be offered based on Member interest and requests.