Skip to content

Inshore Powerboat Cruising

Inshore Powerboat Cruising

Course Description

To responsibly operate a cruising powerboat within sight of land for multiple days in unfamiliar waters


It is required that Inshore Powerboat Cruising courses and examinations be conducted on cruising powerboats with adequate equipment to complete all certification outcomes. The suggested minimum length is 34 feet.


The prerequisite for Inshore Powerboat Cruising is Basic Powerboat Cruising certification.

Certification Requirements

Successfully complete the following knowledge and skill requirements with confident and safe command of the boat.


Practice Skills


1. Obtain an appropriate weather forecast for your cruise and plan accordingly.
2. Check the location and condition or operation of all U.S. Coast Guard required safety equipment.
3. Describe the need for and perform the daily checks of the engine fluids and mechanical parts, manual and electric bilge pumps,
and the electrical, mechanical, fresh water, marine head and holding tank systems.
4. Describe how to operate the battery charger, inverter, and generator (genset).
5. Perform a complete check and demonstrate safe use of the galley stove and stove fuel system.
6. Participate in menu planning and provisioning.
7. Inventory, stow and secure provisions, cooking and eating utensils.
8. Check the security and operation of all hatches, ports and companionways.
9. Inventory and check the condition of all bimini tops, cockpit awnings and dodgers where applicable.
10. Inventory and check the condition of all tools and spare parts.
11. Check the condition of dinghy, oars and outboard if applicable.
12. Participate in cruise planning to include identifying destinations, establishing GPS waypoints, and identification of re-provisioning locations.
13. Inventory and check the currency of all necessary charts, tide and current tables, cruising guides and navigation tools.
14. Inspect all applicable deck gear.

Operations and Skills

15. Brief the crew on safety, responsibilities and trip plan.
16. Demonstrate the operation of emergency steering alternatives if applicable.
17. Demonstrate helm and boat control in a variety of wind and sea conditions.
18. Hold position at an anchored object bow into the wind and stern into the wind with minimal throttle actions.

Docking and Mooring

19. Use appropriate helm and crew coordination to leave from and return to a mooring, a slip (stern first and bow first) and a dock.
20. Demonstrate the appropriate use of spring lines for leaving and returning.

Navigation Rules, International-Inlan

21. Identify and correlate visual observations of Aids to Navigation and landmarks with chart symbols.
22. Plot a fix using visual lines of position derived from compass and/or ranges. Correlate position with depth soundings.
23. Maintain a proper DR plot with time/speed/distance calculations.
24. Determine the boat’s position electronically and plot it on a chart. Enter a waypoint into a GPS; determine the range and bearing to that waypoint; adjust the boat’s heading so as to proceed along that bearing.

Emergency Procedures

25. Approach and recover safely a simulated person in the water using at least two methods, e.g., Race Track, Lifesling, or Williamson Turn.


26. Select an appropriate anchorage and demonstrate or observe anchoring with two anchors using one of the following methods: bow and stern, two anchors off the bow at 60°, or two anchors off the bow at 180° (Bahamian Moor).

Securing a Boat

27. Clean the boat; install any covers.
28. Set electrical and bilge systems for dock operation.
29. Secure locks, hatches, lockers, docklines and fenders.



1. Understand factors that influence fuel consumption.
2. Understand the boat’s tank capacities (fuel, water, holding, and propane) as they relate to the planned cruise.
3. Understand the documentation required for the vessel and crew both nationally and internationally.
4. Understand the legal responsibilities of an operator and the courtesies to be observed when entering a foreign port.
5. Understand applicable federal, state and local regulations.
6. Understand responsibilities, liabilities and procedures as a bareboat charter customer.


7. Understand the advantages and disadvantages of different propulsion and steering systems.
8. Understand techniques for managing a dinghy while underway and moored.
9. Understand proper rafting techniques at docks and at anchor.

Navigation and Piloting

10. Understand how to extract information from tide and current tables needed for trip planning.
11. Understand the use of waypoints for trip planning.
12. Recognize the limitations in the use of electronic navigation devices.
13. Understand the appropriate use of a ship’s log.
14. Understand the actions required for operation in restricted visibility.
15. Understand the meaning of the visual observations of water color.
16. Understand the use of such navigation publications as charts, cruising guides, Coast Pilots and Light Lists.
17. Understand the buoy systems of IALA regions A and B.

Emergency Procedures

18. Understand methods of getting a person in the water on board.
19. Understand a plan of action if your vessel has an engine failure, steering failure, taking on water, grounding, and galley fire.
20. Understand how to minimize the hazards of lightning to crew and vessel.

Anchoring and Mooring

21. Understand the use of a tripline/anchor buoy.
22. Understand the procedures for clearing fouled anchor rodes, and for recovering an anchor from under another boat.
23. Understand the procedures for dealing with a dragging anchor.
24. Understand the advantages and disadvantages of the following anchoring methods: bow and stern, two anchors
off the bow at 60°, two anchors off the bow at 180° (Bahamian Moor), and Mediterranean Moor.
25. Understand securing a boat to a mooring.