USPS Compass

Port captain FAQ

Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about becoming a USPS port captain. For complete information, USPS members should check out the Port Captain’s Guide.

What is a port captain?

Is there a limit to the number of port captains who may serve in a particular area?

Are new port captains appointed each year?

Why does a new port captain appointment require a commander or administrative officer’s approval?

What is the difference between a Waterway and a Port Captain’s Area?

How do I register or change my listing in the Port Captain’s Directory?

How do I know my registration has been received?

Is a port captain’s personal information shared outside USPS-CPS?

Question: What is a port captain?

Answer: A port captain is a USPS member who provides local information and reliable advice to other USPS members about a given boating area. Port captains’ primary expertise lies in their knowledge of local waters and unmarked hazards to safe navigation, but they can also recommend mechanics, sailmakers, repair yards, medical and dental facilities, restaurants and motels.

Port captains are familiar with the activities of local USPS squadrons, the U.S. Coast Guard and the USCG Auxiliary.

Although they are under no obligation to provide more than friendly advice, port captains usually enjoy meeting people and serving other USPS members. Their aim is make fellow members feel they are welcome and have found a friend.

Port captains should project the image of being part of a fraternal organization devoted to boating safety and refer interested people to the nearest squadron or USPS public boating course.

Question: Is there a limit to the number of port captains who may serve in a particular area?

Answer: No. In fact, having multiple port captains—and thus multiple sources of local knowledge—for a given boating area is encouraged.

Question: Are new port captains appointed each year?

Answer: The practice of appointing new USPS port captains each year is discouraged. USPS port captains’ terms are limited only by their capability and the discretion of the appointing squadrons.

Question: Why does a new port captain appointment require a commander or administrative officer’s approval?

Answer: The skills and capabilities of a prospective port captain are best known and recognized at the squadron level.

When a prospective port captain submits a request to be listed in the Port Captain’s Directory, he or she must provide the e-mail address of a squadron commander or administrative officer willing to approve the appointment.

Question: What is the difference between a Waterway and a Port Captain’s Area?

Answer: The Port Captain’s Directory is organized by state and boating areas. A Waterway is a general description of the region where the port captain has special knowledge, for example, a large lake, harbor, or extended river or coastline. A Port Captain’s Area is the specific boating area, such as south shore, inner harbor, river mile marks or distances along the ICW. Individual inland lakes are also examples of PC Areas, while the region within the state would be considered a Waterway description.

Question: How do I register or change my listing in the Port Captain’s Directory?

Answer: The preferred method is to use the online form, but you can also print the form, fill it out by hand and mail it to the database manager listed on the form.

The form provides three registration options: add, change or delete. Please select the correct option before submitting the form.

You should also use the form to submit personal information changes, such as a change of address.

Question: How do I know my registration has been received?

Answer: Upon receipt of a registration form, the database manager checks it for completion and sends an acknowledgment e-mail after the new information has been added to the database and the websites have been updated.

Question: Is a port captain’s personal information shared outside USPS and the Canadian Power & Sail Squadrons?

Answer: No personal information will be disclosed outside USPS and CPS unless a port captain has given permission on the registration form for his or her information to be shared.

To gain access to the online Port Captain’s Directory, users must provide a certificate number and ZIP code.

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