Standards Established for Boating Instruction

Published on December 14th, 2015

The U.S. Coast Guard’s National On-Water Standards (NOWS) grant management team and American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC) has approved the publication EDU-1 On-Water Power Standard, which is the first of three proposed skills-based American National Standards (ANS) for On-Water instruction in recreational boating safety.

The Standard gained formal approval on November 12, 2015. Course designers using the EDU-1 On-Water Power Standard and NASBLA’s standard ANSI/NASBLA 103-2016: Basic Boating Knowledge — Power now have the full spectrum of skills and knowledge boating standards available to integrate into safe recreational boating education programs. The EDU-1 On-Water Power Standard is available for free download from ABYC’s store

As part of the US Coast Guard’s goal to raise the overall quality, availability, and consistency of On-Water skills-based instruction, the NOWS Project team of Subject Matter Experts, working in partnership with ABYC using its ANSI-approved process, and hundreds of volunteers across the country, completed the development of the POWER domain standard in just over 4 years.

The standard was developed on paper and then field-tested at six different venues across the country (Edison Sailing Center, Ft. Myers, FL April 26-28, 2013; Annapolis Sailing School, Annapolis, MD – May 3-4, 2013; SUNY Maritime, Bronx, NY – May 21-23, 2013; Mentor Harbor Yachting Club, Cleveland, OH – May 31-June 2, 2013; Capital Yacht Club/DC Sail, Washington, DC – June 21-23, 2013; Coronado Yacht Club, Coronado, CA-July 12-14, 2013).

Functioning as an American National Standard, the POWER standard identifies the fundamental skills that entry-level recreational powerboat operators should be able to demonstrate after receiving instruction. The standard is freely available for voluntary application by organizations providing recreational boating safety instructional programs. Also under development are national standards for On-Water Skills-based instruction in HUMAN-propelled craft and Sailboat operation.

More information about the Standards can be found at: or

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This effort is part of the US Coast Guard’s (USCG) vision of a National System of Standards for Recreational Boat Operation – that will organize both in-classroom knowledge and On-Water skills standards within a comprehensive system of recreational boating education.

US Sailing, the grantee, has hired an impartial professional facilitator to spearhead the project so that all recreational boating constituencies are equally represented in the organization of this system. A core team of 43 Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) is developing On-Water Standards for SAIL, POWER and HUMAN-propelled domains of recreational boating. More information can be found at

For more information related to the On-Water Standards Grant, the SME Team members, their role in the program, and other details about the National On-Water Standards project, contact National On-Water Skills Standards Facilitator K. Brian Dorval at

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