Sailing Skills & Seamanship
The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary's Sailing Skills and Seamanship Course (SS&S) is
a comprehensive course designed for both experienced and novice sailboat
operators. The course, now in its 6th edition that was published in 2008, is
divided into 15 parts:
There are 15 lessons that will
enhance the skills required for a safe voyage in all conditions. This course is
18 hours in length.
- About Sailboats –
Language of the sea; components of a sailboat; standing and running rigging;
sails; types of sailboats; boat building materials; guidance on selecting
and purchasing a boat.
- How A Boat Sails –
Reading the wind; points of sailing, running, close hauled, reaching, sail
shape; sail adjustments; when the wind picks up.
- Basic Sailboat Maneuvering –
Tacking; jibbing; sailing a course; stability and angle of heel; knowing
- Rigging And Boat Handling –
Stepping the mast; making sail; hoisting the sails; leaving the dock;
mooring; controlling the sails; anchoring; weighing anchor.
- Equipment For Your Boat –
Requirements for your boat; your boat’s equipment; legal considerations.
- Trailering Your Sailboat –
Legal considerations; practical considerations; selecting your trailer; the
towing vehicle; handling your trailer; pre-departure checks; launching;
retrieving; raising the mast; storing your boat and trailer; theft
prevention; aquatic nuisance species; float plan.
- Your Highway Signs –
Protection of ATON; buoyage systems; waterway marks; how waterways are
marked; light characteristics; chart symbols; light structures; lights on
bridges; electronic aids to navigation; navigation publications.
- The Rules Of The Nautical Road -
Two sets of rules; to whom do the rules apply; the general responsibility
rule; general considerations; conduct in narrow channels; traffic separation
schemes; vessel traffic serves; stand-on or give-way; rules for special
vessels; risk of collision; bend signals; restricted visibility; vessel
lights and shapes; vessels at anchor; diving operations; distress signal;
drawbridge signals; penalties.
- Inland Boating –
Types of inland waters; inland navigation; inland seamanship; river
currents; maintaining inland waterways; dams; locks; river charts;
commercial traffic; before you go (This lesson typically will not be taught
in coastal courses).
- Sailing Safety –
Small boat safety; man overboard; cold water immersion; sharing the water
with other boats; fueling; carbon monoxide poisoning; sources of weather
- More On Sail Trim And Boat Handling –
Tuning sailboat rigging; lee and weather helm; headsails and headsail
trimming; handling in heavy weather, reefing sails, knock down, or a
capsize; disabled rudder.
- Introduction To Navigation –
Piloting tools; maps and charts; chart features, chart information block;
other charted information; your magnetic compass; position on earth’s
surface; locating a point on the chart; distance on the earth’s surface;
measuring distance; course plotting; sources of compass error; correcting a
compass reading; positioning; speed-time-distance; dead reckoning;
practicing your art. * Engines For Sailboats – Outboard engines, two and
four cycle; trouble shooting and maintenance; inboard auxiliary engines;
diesel engine maintenance and trouble shooting; batteries; propellers;
galvanic action; basic tool kit.
- Lines And Knots For Your Boat –
Line or rope; rope materials; kinds of rope; measuring rope; selecting your
ropes; care of ropes; making up line; knots, bends and hitches; splices;
securing lines; dipping the eye.
- Weather And Sailing –
Sources of weather information; wind and boating; wind and waves; weather
and heat; fog; non-frontal weather.
- Your Boat’s Radio –
Radios used on boats; functions of radios; licenses; selecting your VHF-FM
radio; installation; operating your VHF-FM; maintain a radio watch; channels
have special purposes; some “no no’s”; copies of rules; calling another
station; procedure words; phonetic alphabet; routine radio check; distress,
urgency, and safety calls; crew training.