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Comprehensive Recreational Powerboat Education 'How-To' Manual Now Available


February 1, 2017

The U.S. Coast Guard's National On-Water Standards (NOWS) Program grant management team and the American Boat & Yacht Council (ABYC) are pleased to announce the release of a new comprehensive "How-to..." guide for designing On-Water instruction using the American National Standard (ANS) for On-Water recreational powerboat operation.

The Power Standard Technical Support Document (Power TSD) was developed to assist education providers, course developers and instructors in designing and implementing recreational powerboating skills instruction and assessment that meets the ANS.

Assists Education Providers

The same team of recreational boating experts who produced the ANS for entry-level powerboat education developed the Power TSD. The 148-page document contains the most complete set of information and tools available to assist education providers, including the following:

• Information about the ANS, why it was developed, and why education providers should use it in their powerboat instruction programs.

• Tips and recommendations from recreational boating experts across the country for how to use the ANS to design, develop and implement courses, curricula, syllabi, and lesson plans that deliver high-quality On-Water, skills-based powerboat instruction, and

• Guidelines for using performance assessment / measurement rubrics to design specific behaviors into programs that result in skilled entry-level powerboat operation.

Additional Tools, Resources

The Power TSD also makes available additional tools and resources that aid in the design and implementation of On-Water instruction, including these:

• The ANS itself (titled On-Water Power Standards)

• An extensively field-tested Checklist Tool for assessing student performance as well as calibrating student evaluations to ensure consistency across instructors

• The ANS for Basic Powerboating Knowledge that can be used to help integrate knowledge and skills development, and

• Information, guidelines and suggestions for how to ensure On-Water, skills-based instructional programming complies with the ANS.

All recreational boating-safety education providers, large and small, national or local, are encouraged to use the materials contained within the Power TSD to develop or enhance their On-Water instruction. By taking an active role in raising the overall quality and availability of skills-based training and instruction for entry-level recreational powerboat operation, education providers can help create a culture of safety in recreational boating that reduces accidents and saves lives on our nation's waterways.

Available For Download

The Power TSD is freely available for download as a PDF on the NOWS Program website ( and the ABYC on-line store ( TSDs are also under development for national standards for Sailboats and Human-propelled craft, which will also be available for free download once completed.

The NOWS Program is part of the US Coast Guard's (USCG) National System of Standards for Recreational Boat Operation that is being used to organize both On-Land knowledge and On-Water skills Standards within a comprehensive system of recreational boating education.

For More Information

US Sailing, the grantee, has engaged an impartial professional facilitator to spearhead the program so that all recreational boating constituencies are equally represented in the organization of this system. A core team of Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) is developing National On-Water Skills-based Standards for SAIL, POWER and HUMAN-propelled domains of recreational boating, as well as an instruction standard that applies to all three domains. 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 Program, please contact National On-Water Skills Standards Facilitator K. Brian Dorval, at



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