The Shearwater University Powerboating school is exceptional in its quality of instruction, highly refined skills procedures, and student-centered customization of instruction, based on your background, your goals, your boat, and your learning style.  

Basic Powerboat Cruising

Build a solid foundation of skills & knowledge on the water for cruising safely and confidently through the Salish Sea.  Earn the Internationally recognized US Powerboating Basic Powerboat Cruising Certificate, and your Washington State Boater Card.

Course Content:

  • Cruising powerboat systems: understanding, operation, maintenance, and recommendations.
  • Pre-cruise checks for boat, conditions & crew
  • Basic trip planning & navigation for local cruising.
  • Close quarters maneuvering and docking.  Our exceptional training meets the SU standard of "2 people, 1 line, any conditions, full control".
  • Boating knots
  • VHF radio operation for hailing, marine weather, and emergency calls
  • Boating knots
  • Piloting safely in open water
  • Learn and apply navigation aids and navigation rules
  • Anchoring procedures that make you stay stuck!
  • Crew overboard rescue procedures: Reuniting quickly & safely, and getting them back on deck.
  • Learn on your boat or a charter boat: single or twin engines, inboard, outboard or stern drive.

Prerequisites:  None, but Navigation Essentials is strongly recommended before or soon after.


  • Contact us for custom scheduling on your boat or a charter boat.  The earlier you schedule, the more options you have.
  • The number of class days will depend on the size, complexity and condition of the boat, your boating background skills & experience, your goals, and your learning style/pace.
  • For small powerboats, a minimum of 3 days is recommended.
  • Larger cruising powerboats require at least 4 days, with 5-6 days being common for new powerboaters.

Tuition:  $600 per day for up to 4 students on the boat, inclusive of all materials and certifications.

Inshore Powerboat Cruising

Take your cruising skills to the next horizon and prepare for multi-day cruises through the Salish Sea and beyond.

Earn the US Powerboating Inshore Powerboat Cruising Certificate AND the US Powerboating Night Operations Endorsement.

Qualify for the International Proficiency Certificate, and charter powerboats worldwide.

Course Content:

  • Cruising larger powerboats for longer distances within sight of land
  • Deepen systems understanding, operation and trouble shooting for larger powerboat systems and longer voyages.
  • Planning and provisioning for multi-day cruises, including fuel capacity, burn rates, and cruising range.
  • Application of advanced navigation skills for planning, plotting, and piloting your route.
  • Use of GPS chart plotter for constructing and following routes.
  • Advanced anchoring techniques, including dual anchors, Mediterranean mooring, and an enhanced stern shore tie procedure for the Inside Passage.
  • Advanced docking strategies.
  • Emergency preparedness and incident management.
  • Crew overboard recovery techniques for day and night.
  • Night Operations training, including night navigation/planning, lights, hazards mitigation, piloting in the dark & fog, and radar navigation, entering a marina at night.



  • Five days of advanced cruising training on the Salish Sea is standard.  We will customize your class, with more or fewer days based on your background, goals, and learning style/pace.
  • We cross the border to include customs and Canadian Islands. 
  • Contact us for custom scheduling.  The earlier you schedule, the more options you have.

Tuition & Fees:

  1. $600 per day for up to four people on your boat or a charter boat.  (More than four students? Give us a call.)  Includes class materials & certifications for all on board.
  2. Charter boat cost, if needed, is extra.  Call to arrange.

Powerboating Cruise-&-Learn

For those who want a complete and immersive maritime learning experience, this class combines the US Powerboating Basic and Inshore Powerboating Certifications, plus the Night Operations Endorsement, plus the Washington State Boater Safety Card in a real-world, real-time Salish Sea cruise.

Course Content:

All of the powerboat cruising standards listed above for the Basic and Inshore Powerboating classes, plus the Night Operations are included in this class.  The added bonus is that you get to learn from the many contextual situations that naturally occur in and island-to-island cruise, with multiple anchoring and docking scenarios for deepening your training and skills.  Crossing into Canada is included when the border is open.

Prerequisites:  Coastal Navigation or equivalent training.

Scheduling:  A 7-day immersive learning while cruising experience.  Contact us for custom scheduling.  The earlier you schedule, the more options you have.

Tuition & Fees:

  1. $4,200 for 7 days of instruction and up to four people on your boat or a charter boat.  Includes class materials & certifications for all on board.
  2. Charter boat cost is extra.  Call to arrange.

Custom Instruction on Your Powerboat

Learn the skills you need to safely operate, maneuver and cruise your personal powerboat - large or small.  Skills focus is whatever you need:

  • Close quarters maneuvering & docking
  • Anchoring techniques
  • Crew overboard recovery
  • Applied navigation & piloting
  • Night operations & fog
  • You name it

Prerequisites:  Exactly where you are in your powerboating skills and experience.

  • Your boat in your marina
  • Custom instruction based on your current skill-base and your goals.
  • Consider the value of spending a day focused on close quarters maneuvering & docking skills, or anchoring procedures, or emergency preparedness including crew overboard drills, or whatever your need is.
  • Taught by a professional educator with a lifetime of experience cruising the Salish Sea and the Inside Passage.
  • Contact us to schedule.
  • Tuition: $600 per day includes instructional materials and Certifications for up to 4 people.

Prerequisites:  Exactly where you are in your powerboating skills and experience.

Venu:  Your boat out of your marina, or a charter boat, or anywhere in the Salish Sea.

Scheduling:  Contact us for custom scheduling

Tuition:  $600 per day includes up to 4 students on the boat.