Boat Operator Certifications

The Boat Operator Certification program recognizes the skills of America's Boating Club members at different levels of recreational boating proficiency.  A certified boat operator will represent the fulfillment of an America's Boating Club training program: an operator who is knowledgeable, competent and safe.  To achieve certification at a given level, a candidate must complete Advanced Grade courses, Elective courses and America's Boating Club Seminars relevant to that level.  In addition, candidates must demonstrate their proficiency in a set of practical skill tests.  BOC Certifiers are trained to conduct and evaluate these skill tests and provide coaching to members for skill development.

There are currently four levels of certification available to members:


To be certified, a member must be at least 16 years of age, be mentally and physically capable of operating a boat, and have sufficient visual and auditory sensory ability to do so. Holding a driver's license will suffice to certify meeting these requirements.

Inland Navigator (IN)
  • Courses
  • Seminars
    • How to Use a Chart
    • Basic Weather and Forecasting
    • Using GPS
    • VHF Radio and VHF/DSC Marine Radio
  • Skills
    • Basic Powerboat Handling skill demonstration or US Sailing Safe Powerboat Handling on-the-water program
    • Use of Fire Extinguishers
  • Optional Endorsements
    • Inland Waterways
    • Paddle craft
    • Sailboating


Coastal Navigator (CN)
  • Prerequisite
    • IN Certification
  • Courses
  • Seminars
    • Mastering Rules of the Road
    • Anchoring
    • Mariner's Compass
    • Tides and Currents (or AP course)
  • Skills
    • On-Water Navigation
    • Use of Pyrotechnic Distress Signals
  • Optional Endorsements
    • Endorsements plus:
      CAN - Canadian Regulations
      MEX - Mexican regulations


Advanced Coastal Navigator (ACN)


Offshore Navigator (ON)
  • Prerequisite
    • ACN Certification
  • Courses
  • Seminars
    • USPS Webinar – Thunderstorms/Severe Weather Forecasting
    • USPS Webinar – 500 millibar charts / Grib files
  • Skills
    • Offshore Navigation (ONC)
    • Current First Aid
    • Current CPR/AED
  • Recommended but not Required
    • The Voyager's Handbook: The Essential Guide to Bluewater Cruising, Beth A. Leonard, ISBN-10: 0713684771



BOC Endorsements certify special additional skills such as type of boat or region of boating; examples include Canadian Regulations, or paddle or sail boats.  Endorsements may be applied at any level of BOC certification.

Certification at any level requires successful completion of all prescribed elements including USPS courses, seminars and skills demonstrations on the water or, in some cases, ashore (some are US Sailing programs).

Start Your Education Journey Today!

Contact our Squadron Educational Officer to get your BOC Passport.