Advanced Grades

The courses that compose the core of the USPS educational program are known as the Advanced Grades courses. Completion of these courses is recognized with the award of a "grade" that can be thought of as being similar to the various degrees one can get from traditional educational facilities. The numbering below is the suggested sequencing for these classes.

Boat Handling

General boat handling and seamanship skills.


Introductory course on navigation with a focus on GPS and traditional dead reckoning skills suitable for use on inland waters and protected waters.

Advanced Piloting

An extension of the Piloting course covering other electronic navigation tools along with traditional methods suitable for use on longer trips in coastal waters.

Junior Navigation

An introduction to offshore navigation utilizing both electronic and traditional techniques. This course is the introduction to celestial navigation in which the sun is used to determine one's position in the absence of electronic aids.


An continuation of Junior Navigation in which traditional celestial navigation skills are extended to include the use of the moon, planets and stars.