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Port Captain Frequently Asked Questions


Membership in USPS brings with it many intangible benefits. Some are quite obvious and others are not. The USPS Port Captain's program is an example of one of the less obvious benefits and is often overlooked. Here are some frequently asked questions and answers that may dispel any mystery about the national Port Captain's program. Some 500+ Port Captains are ready to serve. Shouldn't you be one of them?










Question: What is a Port Captain?

Answer: A Port Captain is a member of the United States Power Squadrons®, who stands ready, at all times of his or her choosing, to provide advice and assistance to USPS® members, and if the Port Captain chooses, to others making contact.

The Port Captain can recommend mechanics, sail makers, and repair yards in the area as well as medical and dental facilities in his or her locale. the Port Captain can also direct weary sailors and boaters to local restaurants and motels.

The Port Captain is familiar with the activities of local USPS squadrons, the U.S. Coast Guard and the Coast Guard Auxiliary.

While Port Captains are under no obligation to provide more than friendly advice, they are persons who enjoy meeting people and serving their fellow members.

Still, their primary expertise lies in their knowledge of local waters and unmarked hazards to safe navigation. The objective is to provide information, reliable advice and comradeship. Their aim is make fellow members feel they are welcome and have found a friend.

It is inevitable that word of the program will circulate through the boating public....Port Captains are to project the image of being part of a fraternal organization devoted to boating safety. Persons interested in USPS or the public Boating Course (SM) will be referred to their nearest squadron commander or squadron educational officer.

Knowledge, seamanship, service to others, friendship and fraternity -- this has been the essence of the United States Power Squadrons since 1913. P/C/C Pou Bailey, N

Refer to the Port Captain's Guide (pdf format) for further information.

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Question: Is there a limit to the number of Port Captains?

Answer: No. The Port Captain's program is open to all willing to serve. Multiple Port Captains for a given boating area is also encouraged in order to provide access to multiple sources of to local knowledge.

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Question: Should new Port Captains be appointed each year?

Answer: USPS Port Captains serve for terms that are only limited by their capability and the discretion of the squadrons from which they were appointed. The practice of appointing new USPS Port Captains each year is discouraged. Local Port Captains are a choice of each squadron and they will be included as USPS Port Captains program only if a registration is submitted.

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Question: Why does a new Port Captain appointment require Cdr or AO approval?
: The squadron is the backbone of the USPS. It is at that level that the recognition of the skills and capabilities of a prospective Port Captain are best know. The approval process for listing on the USPS Port Captain's Roster is a simple matter of the Squadron Commander or Administrative Officer acknowledging the capability of the person requesting the listing. The approval process is done via email in response to the request for approval which is generated automatically when an "add" request is submitted and an approver email address is included.

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Question: What is the difference between a Waterway and PC Area?

Answer: The Port Captain's Roster is organized by state and boating areas. A Waterway is a general description of the region where the Port Captain has special knowledge. A Waterway is, for example, a large lake, harbor, or extended river or coast line. The PC 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.

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Question: How do I register or change my listing as a Port Captain?

Answer: The preferred method is to use the online form. This form may be accessed at: www.usps.org/national/PortC/pcform.html. It is linked to from both the public and member only Port Captains websites. As an alternative, the form can be printed, filled in by hand and mailed to the database manager listed on the form.

The form provides three options for registration, add, change, or delete. Please select the correct option before submittal. If any at any time the Port Captain's personal information changes, such as a change of address, please use the form to submit the change to the roster.

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

:The registration forms are sent to the database manager who will check it for completeness. When the information from the form has been entered into the database and the online websites have been updated the database manager will send a return email to acknowledge the fact that the changes have been made.

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Question: Is the Port Captains Roster a USPS-CPS private or public document?

Answer: The Port Captains Roster is considered a private document. It is not available to anyone outside the memberships of USPS or CPS. This privacy is protected by the certificate number and zip code login requirement to gain access to the Roster.

Each Port Captain has responded to the question of privacy. Those that wish the list to remain USPS-CPS private will not be listed in any subsequent release to the general boating public..

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Question: Is the personal information shared outside USPS-CPS?
: The Port Captains Roster is an "opt-in" roster. Personal information will not be disclosed outside USPS-CPS unless the individual Port Captain has given approval

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