Small Boat Handler Course
Section One — Aids to Navigation and Rules of the Road
- Introduction to aids to navigation
- Buoyage system
- Chart symbols and letter designations
- Primary shapes for buoys
- Obstruction, mid-channel, and special types of buoys
- Beacons and daybeacons
- Ranges, range markers
- Intracoastal waterways, lakes, and rivers
- Class project—Develop buoy recognition game using flash cards
- Reasons for rules of the road
- The danger zone
- Windward and leeward clearances
- Stand-on and give-way vessels
- Sailboat right of way
- Sailboat rules
- Lights required on boats
- Emergency lights
- Sound signals
- Safety equipment
- Visual signaling devices
Section Two—Boating Safety
- Boating safety and first aid
- Checking the hull
- Motor size compared with the boat
- Fueling—dangers, precautions, and procedures
- Loading a small boat
- When not to go out
- Distress signals
- Equipment—anchors, line, signaling, first aid kit
- Project — Have class develop a checklist.
- Seamanship—Review sea terms (see glossary).
- Knots — Have class learn to tie overhand, square, sheet bend, bowline, clove hitch, two half hitches, and belaying to a cleat.
- Class project — Prepare to cruise. Have class demonstrate on an actual boat the checklist, and procedures covered in items 1–12.
- Types and uses of anchors
- Wind and current
- Conclusion — Present Small Boat Handler’s Bar, No. 04052, to those successfully completing the course.
Note: Most of the requirements for earning the Small Boat Handler’s Bar are met by each state’s National Association of State Boating Law Administrators boating safety course. State agencies provide group instruction, as well as online instruction and testing. NASBLA-approved boating safety courses are also taught by the U.S. Power Squadrons and the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary.