For membership information or a boating safety course near you, please call toll free 1-888-FOR-USPS (1-888-367-8777). Information can also be obtained by visiting the NATIONAL USPS WEB SITE at United States Power Squadrons.
You have joined Raritan Bay Power Squadron, part of United
States Power Squadrons, the nation’s preeminent boating education
organization. Your membership opens up to you a broad range of
opportunities to develop and sharpen your boating and other skills, to become
involved in USPS public service activities, and to have lots of fun in the
company of a growing family of like-minded people.
These opportunities don’t require a great deal of work. All you need is a willingness to actively participate in your
squadron’s programs and activities.
The information in this welcome will help you to get started on your USPS adventure. It is intended to provide you with a basic understanding of USPS and our local squadron, Raritan Bay. Here we will provide introductory information about
You can expect to learn a great deal more about USPS over
time through your continuing participation in classes and squadron activities.
To help you along the way, you to involved in . don’t hesitate to ask any of your fellow squadron members anytime you
need help to understand something about USPS or our local squadron.
As with so many new members in the past, we are confident that you will
discover that USPS offers a rich return on the investment of your time.
Once again, welcome!
Raritan Bay Power Squadron is one of 440 local units of United States Power Squadrons. Founded in 1914, USPS is dedicated to safe boating through education. Today,
USPS claims more than 45,000 members nationwide.
We are a tax-exempt 501c(3)
As such, members who incur expenses in the performance of USPS or local
squadron duties may deduct such expenses, including dues, when filing their
federal income tax returns.
The words surrounding the USPS triangular emblem describe
the basic purposes of USPS:
educational, social and public service.
These are our common interests and our shared goals.
We are committed to boating safety through self-education.
We pursue this goal by offering a broad range of boating courses to our
members. We deliver on our public
service commitment in two ways. First,
we offer the best available public boating course.
Second, we strive to improve general boating safety through various public
awareness programs. For example,
through our Cooperative Charting Program, USPS works with the National Oceanic
and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to keep the nation’s nautical charts up
to date. USPS is a major source for
corrections to these charts. And we
are committed to promoting a congenial atmosphere in which long-lasting
friendships develop and pleasant experiences, both
on and off the water,
can be shared. Together
with the Coast Guard Auxiliary, we conduct voluntary
vessel safety examinations. Such
checks are intended to ensure that the vessel has all of the required safety
devices – proper number of life jackets, clean backfire flame arrestor, flares,
and other mandatory items.
USPS is organized
into three tiers - the National Headquarters, District organizations, and
the local Squadrons. First and
foremost, USPS is a “bottom up” organization.
This means that the local squadron is the most important element in USPS.
The primary function of the national and district organizations is to
guide and assist the local squadrons. They also perform certain organization-wide functions (e.g., national
advertising, joint ventures with external organizations, etc.) on behalf of all
squadrons. A team of
officers, referred to as the Bridge, governs each level of USPS.
With the assistance of various committee members and chairpersons, they
are responsible for day-to-day operations of their respective departments.
The Bridge consists of a Commander, Executive Officer, Educational
Officer, Administrative Officer, Treasurer, and Secretary.
Our national organization is responsible for maintaining
nationwide membership records, for developing, producing, and distributing our
educational course materials and for the other responsibilities of our
organization at the national level. Our
National Headquarters is located at 1504 Blue Ridge Road, P.O. Box 30423,
Raleigh, NC, 27622. The phone
number for National is (888) 367-8777. The
FAX number is (919) 836-0813. The
World Wide Web is: USPS.
USPS members can log onto a web site USPS to access information
of specific interest to USPS members.
For instance, you can find out where to fly your USPS ensign, or the
Raritan Bay squadron burgee. You
can find information about educational courses.
When logging on to the member site, no password is necessary.
The next level is the District organizations.
They are responsible for communicating information between the local
squadrons and headquarters. They
also assist the local squadrons by coordinating common activities among the
various squadrons within the district. Raritan
Bay squadron is one of sixteen- squadrons in District 4, which comprises the
northern New Jersey/metropolitan New York area.
The District holds monthly council meetings, attended by the Bridge
officers of the local squadrons. At
these meetings information of interest to all squadrons is disseminated,
educational activities and district wide social and public service activities
are planned. Twice yearly, the
district organization conducts conferences open to all members of each squadron.
These conferences include both
valuable educational content and social activities.
They are a great way to become further acquainted with fellow members in
our squadron and across the district. Among other programs of interest to all members,
the conference agenda features workshops to review courses and programs offered
by USPS. Plans for these courses
are reviewed and suggestions for improvement are forwarded to national
headquarters. A number of changes
in National policy have resulted from suggestions that originated at District
conferences. More information is available on the
D- 4 Website.
More information is available on the D- 4 Website.
Raritan Bay Squadron
Like the national and district organizations, Raritan Bay
squadron has its own Bridge. These
officers, together with additional elected Members at Large, make up the
Executive Committee that conducts the squadron’s affairs much like a board of
directors. Bridge officers are
elected by the general membership to a one-year term of office.
Our squadron is organized to enable us to pursue the objectives stated
above. Our educational mission is
achieved through the Squadron Educational Department, which arranges and
conducts our public Boating courses, as well as the many courses we offer only
to our members, and various seminars open to the public. Headed by the
Squadron Educational Officer, it is composed of a group of course
committees—one for each of our educational offerings.
To learn about available courses, start dates, and course requirements,
contact the Squadron Educational Officer or log on to our squadron web site,
RBPS. Members are also
advised of course starting dates through our monthly squadron publication, Relative
Bearings. There is a brief
overview of courses at the end of this document.
most of the squadron’s non-educational functions are divided between the
squadron Executive Officer, who handles functions external to the squadron
(outward facing), and the squadron Administrative Officer, who is responsible
for internal functions. Our
public service mission is carried out through both our public Boating courses
and the work of the committees that report to the squadron Executive Officer.
These committees help to improve boating safety through public awareness
initiatives, the USPS Cooperative Charting program, participation
in public boat shows, and other activities. In Raritan Bay squadron, the Executive Officer is also
responsible for acquiring new members, and for promoting member involvement in
squadron life. The job of planning
and conducting the squadron’s social and
rests primarily with the committees reporting to the Squadron Administrative
Officer. These committees organize
a wide range of programs and social events, which include group boating
activities, such as cruises and rendezvous, the annual picnic, dinners, meeting
programs, bus trips, and others. We
are always looking for new and different ideas for social activities, and help
in organizing them. The
Administrative Department is also responsible for the squadron publication,
called Relative Bearings.
The squadron includes many other committees and functions, including
Historian, Photographer, Property and Supply Officer, and many more.
Whatever your particular skills or interests, you can be sure we can put
them to good use within the squadron, and we encourage your participation.
We particularly value your input
concerning your needs as a new member. You
can find other squadron committees and their members listed in the squadron
We primarily communicate information and news to you
through our monthly meetings, mailings, e-mail and our Squadron web site (www.rbps.org).
Each month, you will receive a copy of Relative Bearings, the official Squadron publication, in the mail.
It contains reminders of upcoming meetings, classes, squadron events,
interesting articles and much more. It
is essential that we have your correct mailing address.
If you do not receive a mailing in the month following the start of your
membership, contact the Membership Chairman to ensure that we have your correct
mailing address. Notify the
Membership Chairman of any changes to ensure continuity of service.
A growing number of members have a fax number or E-mail address.
If you have a fax or E-mail address, please be sure to provide them to
the Squadron Membership Chairman. On
occasion, we may have the need to contact members using E-mail, fax, or
Squadron members and their spouses or significant others
meet each month (except July and August) at the Keyport Yacht Club.
The Squadron provides a light dinner starting at 7 PM.
This permits some members to arrive directly from work. At these meetings, the Bridge Officers and committee
chairpersons make brief reports to the squadron regarding upcoming events,
educational opportunities, and other items of general interest to members.
Following the short business meeting, there is generally a program of
interest to the members, such as a speaker from an engine manufacturer, a marine
surveyor, interesting video programs, etc.
The evening is capped with socializing and boat talk.
Dress is informal at these meetings, as some members come directly from
their jobs. You will notice some
members wearing USPS blazers. (See
Uniforms below for additional information on this subject.)
You should try to attend the next meeting with your spouse to receive
your USPS Membership Certificate and USPS lapel pin. This is where you will get to meet and know your fellow
members and their spouses. Our
members are eager to meet you and want you to feel welcome. You will also notice that many members are wearing a special
squadron nametag. If you would like
to order one, you may do so at a meeting or by calling the squadron Property
Officer, whose name can be found in the squadron roster. The current cost is $8 and it will take a month or so to
The squadron roster
is printed once each year in March. Your
name and information will appear when it is next printed.
In the interim, new members are introduced to the squadron in our monthly
publication, Relative Bearings.
On the inside cover of the roster, you will find the Squadron
activity calendar. In the back of
the roster are statistics about squadron members.
Notice that a significant number of members do not own boats.
This is the national USPS publication and is sent to every
USPS member by-monthly. It contains
messages from national headquarters, information of interest to all USPS
members, and many interesting boating articles submitted by USPS members from
around the country. You should
receive your first issue in the month following your membership. If it is not received, contact the Membership Chairman.
This is our squadron publication. It is published monthly and includes meeting dates,
notification of events, news articles, photos, stories, and other items of
interest to our members. You are encouraged to submit articles that would be
interesting to fellow boaters and squadron members.
The Best Boating Education
Available In the World
Safe boating through education is fundamental to what USPS
is about. We offer a comprehensive
group of courses to USPS members. You
received a description of USPS courses when you enrolled in the Boating course.
Descriptions are also found on our squadron web site.
When you receive your USPS certificate, you should notify your insurance company of your membership. Many coverage providers extend premium discounts to USPS members. If you are in need of an insurance policy for your boat, consider that USPS has a relationship with a national insurance company, and provides very competitive rates for an excellent policy. You can get a quote through the USPS Internet site, or by calling USPS at (888) 367-8777. In addition, be sure to advise your insurer as you complete other USPS courses. Some insurers provide additional discounts as your boating education expands.
Boat/US Membership Discount
When you passed the Boating
course, you received a packet from Boat/US offering a free one-year membership.
Should you decide to continue your membership in Boat/US at the end of
the first year, you will receive a 50% discount as a USPS member if, when
renewing, you indicate that you are a USPS member.
Although Boat/US has no affiliation with USPS, it has created the Boat/US
Foundation that lobbies in behalf of all boaters, has an interesting quarterly
publication, provides a limited amount of free towing, and offers other services
to its members.
Free Admission to the New York
USPS members presenting a
valid membership card at the Information Desk are admitted free on the first
Monday following the opening of the New York Boat Show.
USPS members receive a
discounted subscription rate to Soundings,
a premiere boating publication.
Towing Service Discounts
You receive discounted membership with SEA TOW and VESSEL ASSIST towing services.
As a USPS member, you may propose others for membership.
Why not consider proposing your family members for membership.
USPS provides special reduced-cost membership categories for family
members. Ask our Membership
chairperson for details. USPS bylaws require that proposed members have passed
an examination to ensure at least minimal boating knowledge.
If anyone you know has successfully completed any
National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) approved
boating course (including the USPS Boating course or the Coast Guard Auxiliary
Boating course), the certification of completion will satisfy our admission
criteria. If someone you know has many years of boating
experience, yet has not completed an approved boating course, he or she need not
sit in a class, but may obtain and read the course manual and then take the
exam. Note that at this time in the
state of New Jersey, one must have at least eight hours of classroom instruction and successfully complete a proctored exam
to receive a New Jersey State Police certificate. If your acquaintance has limited boating education or
experience, he or she can enroll in our next Boating course. We offer these twice yearly in two locations.
Contact our Membership chairperson for additional details.
When you receive your USPS certificate, you will notice
that it contains a set of small squares around the border. This
is where you will attach certification stickers as you complete USPS courses.
You will be advised of the availability and start dates for our various
courses in the squadron monthly mailings and through our web site.
Your next course should be
“Seamanship.” This course picks
up where the Boating course ended. You
have received an outline of the many courses available to you as a member.
Generally, the Elective Courses, such as Weather, Sail, Engine
Maintenance, Marine Electronics, Cruise Planning, and Instructor Development may
be taken in any order, since understanding them does not depend on knowledge
gained from previous courses. By
contrast, Advanced Grade courses: Seamanship, Piloting, Advanced Piloting,
Junior Navigation and Navigation, must be taken in sequence, since they progressively build upon
the knowledge acquired in prerequisite courses.
When a course that interests you is announced, please contact the
appropriate course chairperson promptly, as course materials must be
ordered from headquarters.
Although you are entitled to wear a USPS uniform, it
is never required, and
you may choose not to invest in one.
You may, however, want to consider wearing a navy blue blazer and gray
slacks, with white shirt and dark tie to squadron functions. Women members may want to wear a gray skirt with their
blazer. This is the informal
uniform of USPS. You can obtain a
patch with USPS emblem and, optionally, your grade level to wear on your jacket
pocket. This patch is available
with a backing that slips into your breast pocket.
At meetings, you will see some members wearing this on their blazer.
Any Bridge Officer can tell you where to obtain a USPS blazer pocket
patch. The wearing of slacks and a USPS or RBPS golf shirt, available
from the Property Officer, is common
dress for meetings and most casual activities.
The wearing of slacks and a USPS or RBPS golf shirt, available from the Property Officer, is common dress for meetings and most casual activities.
Members who perform work for the Squadron throughout the
year can earn a Merit Mark.
When you contribute time and effort to the Squadron, perhaps by
actively serving on a committee, helping to teach the Boating course, helping to
organize or run a squadron event, or performing other significant service to the
Squadron, the Squadron Commander may recommend to the USPS Chief Commander that
you be awarded a Merit Mark. Members
who have earned twenty-five Merit Marks are no longer required to pay dues, and
are known as Life Members. We have
several in our squadron. You can,
however, earn only one Merit Mark each year.
In addition to the personal satisfaction of a job well done, Merit Marks
are the only “pay” we receive for our efforts.
If you should choose to obtain the USPS uniform, Merit Mark insignia are
worn on the uniform sleeve. The
number of Merit Marks you have earned is also listed next to your name in the
Flying the USPS Ensign and
As a USPS member, you may fly the USPS Ensign, a picture
of which is displayed on the cover of the Squadron roster.
You may also fly the Raritan Bay Squadron burgee.
Our Flag and Etiquette Officer can explain how and where to fly them on
your particular boat. You can also
find this information in Chapman Piloting (Elbert
S. Mahoney), the “boater’s
bible.” Another extensive source
is the USPS Learning Guide, “How to fly
Flags” available from headquarters. This publication is listed on the
inside cover of the Boating course manual. Much flag flying information is
also available on our national USPS web site. or the LINKS page of our squadron
web site, rbps.org.. Incidentally,
Chapman was one of the founders of USPS. You
can purchase a squadron burgee through the squadron Property and Supply Officer,
who frequently brings them, along
with other squadron logo merchandise, to squadron meetings.
The USPS Educational Fund is a foundation that was
established many years ago for the purpose of aiding USPS with its educational
needs. USPS does not control the
foundation, but receives grants of money from the fund for its educational
needs. For example, the fund
subsidizes the production and printing of our various course materials, which in
turn reduces the cost to our members. The
fund grants many thousands of dollars to USPS each year. Squadron members throughout the country make donations to the
fund. Our squadron donates one
dollar per member each year to this fund from its own educational Fund.
Our squadron has a parallel fund, the Simon H. Goldstein Educational
Fund, which exists for the benefit of our squadron’s educational needs.
If, for instance, if the squadron requires a new teaching aid, this fund
provides the money.
Wherever there is water in the United States, Puerto Rico, the Bahamas and Virgin Islands, there are USPS Port Captains who provide information and local knowledge to our members when they travel or cruise outside their home waters. Members can find a listing of Port Captains on the USPS member web page. Port Captains stand ready to assist fellow USPS members with information regarding repairs, where to obtain provisioning, where good restaurants and hotels can be found, what to do and see, and other information a cruising USPS member may desire. They are a wonderful resource to members whether they are traveling on water or on land. It's like having your own personal travel agent where ever you travel or plan to travel. Port Captains
Now that you have a Squadron roster, you have a wealth of
information and experience available to you.
Whatever information you need regarding boating, there are members who
have it. If you've got questions, we've
got answers. So come to a meeting or other squadron event and ask some questions, or
make some phone calls. If
you have a question about your engine, start by calling the chairman of the
Engine Maintenance course. If you
want to know something about GPS, Loran, or VHF radio, call the Marine
Electronics course chairman. If
it’s a question about a sailboat, contact the Sail course chairman.
You get the idea. Start
thinking about areas you want to learn more about.
Talk to fellow members to get their ideas. Check out any squadron courses that may cover those subjects.
Ask about the supplemental education programs called Learning Guides.
Sign up for a course! The best way to get to know fellow members is to
attend meetings and serve on one of the many committees listed in the roster.
Look over the committees. There
may be a committee that is a natural fit for your skills, interests, or
background. Or maybe there’s one
that can help you develop skills in a whole new area.
If you are willing to serve on one of the committees, let one of the
Bridge Officers know. Most
committees require little time, and the committee chairperson is always eager to
have additional members. You will
be welcomed with open arms by any committee.
You are now part of a great family-oriented organization.
Everything we do involves the family, from picnics to boating activities
to meetings. In order to get the
most out of USPS, you need to put something in.
Get involved in activities! Take
courses! USPS has a lot to offer
you. All you have to do is reach
out and take it. The next step is
up to you. Welcome Aboard!
Raritan Bay Power