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Volunteers Teaching Safe Boating!

Sarnia is located in Ontario, Canada on the border with the United States and across the Bluewater Bridge from Port Huron, Michigan.  Members of Sarnia Power and Sail Squadron boat out of the communities of Brights Grove, Camlachie, Corunna, Forest, Grand Bend, Mooretown, Petrolia, Point Edward, Port Franks, Sarnia, Wyoming, Strathroy and much of Lambton County.  Whether powerboat, sailboat, personal watercraft, jet boat or paddler, Sarnia Squadron Members are often found boating on Lake Huron, Lake Erie, and Lake St. Clair as well as the Detroit River and St. Clair River.  Others cruise to the North Channel, Georgian Bay, the Trent-Severn Waterway and Lake Ontario.  Local marine facilities to Sarnia include: Bridgeview Yachting Centre, Sarnia Bay Marina, Sarnia Yacht Club and Lake Huron Yachts.

Sarnia Squadron

Weather Centre

Boating Seminars and Courses

Canadian Power and Sail Squadrons have a wide array of seminars courses you may select from to increase your boating enjoyment.

Read below to wet your appetite.


Boat Pro

Open to the Public
The Approved Boating Handbook: Boat Pro and its seminar provides you with the opportunity to prepare for your Pleasure Craft Operator Card (PCOC) exam.

Clearly the best of the PCOC seminars available, this highly acclaimed seminar was one of the first to be accredited by the Canadian Coast Guard.

Crossing the border? CPS is a provider of safe boating courses approved by both the Canadian Coast Guard and the U.S. National Association of State Boating Law Administrators.

Upon successful completion you will receive a one year complimentary Associate Membership to CPS with access to member benefits associated with this membership.

Get the Pleasure Craft Operator Card today from CPS.

Maritime (VHF) Radio Course

Open to the Public

The Maritime Radio course provides emergency radio procedures, as well as everyday operating techniques. The course prepares you for the Restricted Operator Certificate (Maritime) with DSC Endorsement examination.

You will be taught the uses of VHF radios, choice of frequencies, operation, phonetic alphabet, procedural words and phrases as well as Digital Selective Calling and the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System, (DSC/GMDSS).

Be sure that you and your family take the Maritime Radio course.

DSC Upgrade - Maritime (VHF) Radio Course

Open to the Public

For people that already have a Restricted Operator Certificate (Maritime), get your DSC certification today.

The new DSC technology is now available on all new VHF Radios.  Take this quick upgrade seminar if you wish to get your DSC endorsement (required).  Covers Digital Selective Calling and the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System, (DSC/GMDSS).

Be ready to use the new DSC technology by taking this upgrade seminar.

Navigating with GPS

Open to the Public

The objective of this manual/seminar is to enable the operator of a recreational small craft to navigate safely and efficiently to any destination, using primarily a GPS receiver and conventional charts. It is restricted to only the navigational aspects of GPS, and may suggest when additional skills are required as a backup.

To select a route to follow, utilizing a GPS receiver, requires a knowledge of basic navigation principles. Without such knowledge, the navigator must place complete reliance and blind trust upon complex equipment and the ability to use it properly, under all circumstances.

When properly installed and operated, modern electronic navigation systems are generally very reliable. These inexpensive and portable hand held systems are available to serve as primary, back-up, or lifeboat navigation systems.

Although the controlling authorities go to great lengths to ensure reliability and accuracy; the signals upon which all such systems depend are not always available. A more common cause of navigation failure is human error. Many mistakes are made in entering and in sequencing of data. Incorrect positions or commands are often inserted and wrong waypoints selected, sometimes with disastrous results, as the computer does precisely what it is commanded to do.

This course outlines procedures designed to minimize the possibility of human error in the operation of electronic navigation equipment.

Introductory Course

the Boating Course

Open to the Public

Canadian Power & Sail Squadrons' premier course for the recreational boater.

Whether you are interested in power, sail or canoe, this course is for you. It contains expanded, detailed boating-safety information. As well, the challenge of plotting and navigation skills, and the interaction with other boaters all await you in this exciting, "chock-full-of-info" course. Successful completion of an "accredited" examination at the end of certain sections will allow you to achieve operator competency and a Pleasure Craft Operator Card (PCOC), as well as an offer of CPS Associate Membership. Successful completion of the examination(s) at the end of the entire course will provide you with the opportunity of Regular Membership and all its associated benefits, along with the PCOC.


Advanced Courses


Prerequisite: Boating Course

A graduate of the Piloting Course will have the theoretical knowledge to be able to handle a boat in rough weather, and to deal with emergency situations.

Course content: Boating Course subjects are expanded to include Relative Bearings and the Running Fix; effects of current and leeway, and new skills in marlinspike and coastal navigation are learned.

Course kit includes: Student Notes, Homework Folder, Training Chart "A".

Advanced Piloting

Prerequisite: Piloting Course

You will learn advanced coastal navigation principles to enable you to know, at all times, where you are. The vessel's position can be determined by using landmarks and aids to navigation - allowing for current, leeway, tides and tidal currents.

Course content: Become familiar with charts; the compass; steering and timing a course; tides and tidal currents; effects of current and leeway; methods of determining position; Running Fixes; aids to navigation; electronic navigational aids, and the sextant.

Course kit includes Student Notes; Homework Folder; AP Training Chart; Chart No. 1; D.O.T. Tides in Canadian Waters

Celestial Navigation

Prerequisite: Advanced Piloting Course

This course combines the original works of Junior Navigator and Navigator and applies the sciences of cartography and astronomy to set a course and determine a position at sea. Emphasis is placed on "how" to navigate and, with basic math and calculator skills, the student will have little difficulty. For proper study, the student will require the use of Bowditch, current-year Nautical Almanac and Star Finder. (These items must be ordered separately). The student will also require a scientific hand-held calculator with trigonometric capability.

Course content: Use of the sextant, electronic navigation, the Nautical Almanac, sight reduction by formula and scientific calculator, the Pilot and Great Circle charts and much, much more.

Course kit includes: Student notes, homework folder, forms, Sight Reduction Table, Dip Short Tables and necessary charts.

Elective Courses (no prerequisite)

Distress Signalling

Open to the Public

Do you know what mandatory distress signals are required for your boat? Do you know how to use them? Can you signal a distress situation in all conditions (day and night)?

The Distress Signalling seminar will train your family on the use of flares as well as alternate non-pyrotechnic signals.

Don’t wait until an emergency occurs. Be trained on Distress Signalling today!

Marine Maintenance 

Open to the Public

The Maintenance course will expand the average boat-owner's knowledge of vessel maintenance.

Course content: Seasonal maintenance and repairs to wooden, fibreglass and metal hulls are stressed. Sections are devoted to maintenance for electrical and mechanical systems; spars, rigging and ground tackle; fire and safety protection; moorings and berths; trailers; tools and fittings.

Course kit includes Student Notes and Homework Folder.

Extended Cruising

Open to the Public

This fascinating course focuses on the unique aspects and challenges of sailing offshore, in order to maximize the enjoyment and minimize the risks for those on board the boat.

Course content: Passage planning and the voyage; oceanography and the weather; checklists and repair kits, and Maritime Mobile Nets.

Course kit includes Student Notes and Homework Folder.

Seamanship Sail

Open to the Public

This introductory course will teach some of the basic sailing techniques for safe operation under various conditions, and will encourage the participant to become a more competent sailor.

Course content: Spars and rigging; sails and theory of sail action; sailboat handling; pilot and cruising under sail (day sailers and keelboats). Fire safety and sailboat racing are included as additional information.

Course kit includes Student Notes, Homework Folder, and Collision Regulations

Fundamentals of Weather

Open to the Public


This new introductory weather course, first published Sep. 2000, is designed for the coastal and Great Lakes mariner. 

The course consists of seven chapters: 

  • How the Sun causes Weather

  • What Causes the Wind to Blow

  • Water in the Atmosphere
    Clouds - Signposts of the Skies

  • Fronts and Frontal Weather

  • Thunderstorms and Tornadoes

  • Forecasting the Weather

The Course Kit includes, Student Notes, Homework Folder, Homework Answers, Cloud Chart, State of the Sea Chart, and Mapping Weather booklet.

Global Weather

Open to the Public


The Global Weather Course is designed for those who wish to make ocean crossings or for the student who would just like to gain a more in depth knowledge of meteorology.

While it can be used as a stand alone module, it does assume a certain familiarity with the basic principles of weather. For those who do not possess this knowledge, it would be wise to first take the CPS introductory weather course, "Fundamentals of Weather".

Global Weather consists of six chapters, some highlights of which are shown below:

* Equilibrium in the Atmosphere, explains stability, instability in detail and the effect of atmospheric adiabatic vertical temperature profiles.
* General Circulation, covers terrestrial wind circulation, El Nino, La Nina and Jet Streams.
* Air Masses, deals with their classification, characteristics and their source regions.
* Extra Tropical Cyclones, explains how they are formed and the interaction of the fronts within them.
* Tropical Cyclones, takes the student from the hurricanes of the Atlantic to the typhoons of the Pacific, how they are formed, their dangers and how to react with their approach.
* Forecasting, teaches how to interpret the professional weather map and explains in detail the various aspects of making a personal forecast. 

Videos & Information Booklets

Distress Signalling

Do you know what mandatory distress signals are required for your boat? Do you know how to use them? Can you signal a distress situation in all conditions (day and night)?

The Distress Signalling seminar will train your family on the use of flares as well as alternate non-pyrotechnic signals.

Don’t wait until an emergency occurs. Be trained on Distress Signalling today!

Enviro Boater

Most boaters are already environmentally conscious, because every aspect of boating – fair winds, sunshine and sparkling, clean water – seems to go hand in hand. However, if you are a boater who hasn’t given much thought to your effect on the environment, the Enviro Boater Guide should provide some interesting reading.

Finding Your Way with GPS

The aim of this book is not to provide an exhaustive course on all of the intricate details and operation of the versatile Global Positioning System. Rather, it is written to help the new users of one of the many hand-held gps receivers, which are becoming more and more common in daily life, go out and get back safely to their point of departure from a familiar place. In it we hope you will find the information and explanations that are usually missing from the operators’ manuals and glossy brochures of the market place.

GPS is one of the technical marvels of the “space age” that has put exceptional positioning accuracy into the hands of anyone who will take the short time needed to learn about its pros and cons. We will try to help you do just that. You will find simple explanations of the system which makes GPS so effective as a navigation and location aid. We will suggest methods of extracting the maximum navigational and safety information from your equipment. We hope that the increased confidence of safely navigating “in the bush” or “on the water” will surprise you, and perhaps help you bring home the one that didn’t get away.

Enjoy the experience!   

Navigating with GPS

This seminar will introduce you to the versatile Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers that are now common in everyday life.

GPS is one of the technical marvels of the space age which has put exceptional accuracy into the hands of anyone who will take the short time needed to learn about its pros and cons. Within this course you will find simple explanations of the system which makes GPS so effective as a navigational aid, and methods of extracting the maximum navigational information from your equipment. Improved position information, course planning and real time speed/direction data improves your boating safety and cruise enjoyment but reduces transit time and fuel consumption.

Take the opportunity to attend Navigating with GPS. The results may surprise you.

Depth Sounders

This mini-course will introduce the recreational boater to the various types of echolocation devices that are common on smaller recreational vessels. In it you will find information that is often missing from the manuals and glossy brochures of the market-place.

Depth Sounders have evolved into compact electronic aids that allow you to determine a great deal of information about the seabed beneath your boat. They are at once a safety device, a navigational guide, a method of determining the makeup of the bottom, and a view of fish and plant life. We will look at the history and development of depth sounders, the various types of units available today, and discuss how they are best used. By understanding their principles of operation and the purposes of the different features, you will be able to select the unit that best fits your needs and pocketbook.

All types of boaters; recreational, sport fishermen and commercial, can benefit from depth sounders. We hope this short course will be of value to you.   

Cruise the Net & Jet the Net Videos

  The Powerboat Television Show, in conjunction with the Canadian Coast Guard, has produced two boating safety programs, one for Boaters and one for Personal Watercraft Riders. They are designed to pass on safe and courteous boating practices primarily to new boaters.

Capitalizing on the fascination with the Internet, the programs portray a family "cruising" and "jetting" the Net looking for information about boating and PWC riding. They access "The Safety Net" as part of the "Boater's Network" and find an interactive series of Modules that relay the information all boaters require. These modules are informative, educational and entertaining. They humorously enact various aspects of safe boating and PWC riding.

Time (both videos: 60 minutes

BoatWise (seminar for kids)

  Boatwise is a Resource Kit for the Program Leader that is designed to provide the essential information to help make children safer on or near the water. It is a resource guide and NOT a course. It is meant to be adapted and used to suit individual needs.


Sarnia Power & Sail Squadron is a unit of

Canadian Power & Sail Squadrons - Escadrilles canadiennes de plaisance

national web site: www.cps-ecp.ca

Our Pennant showing our location within the Great Lakes Region.

Western Ontario District

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Last modified: April 23, 2010