USPS News Blast October 2016

Participate in Visitation Program, Earn a Merit Mark

To recognize USPS members’ participation in the new U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Recreational Boating Safety Partner Visitation Program, a section has been added to the “Merit Mark Criteria” PDF as contained in the “Merit Mark Resources” folder to define minimum requirements for earning a merit mark, assuming no other service has been performed. Qualifying as a new Program Visitor and performing at least five visitations the first year will earn a merit mark. Thereafter, a minimum of 20 visitations per year will be needed to earn a merit mark. Email: Spencer P. Anderson

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Leadership Development Seminars Scheduled for Raleigh

Sign up for the Leadership Development Seminars LD-101 and LD-102 on 5–6 Jan. 2017 at the Ramada Raleigh Hotel adjacent to USPS headquarters in Raleigh, North Carolina. These seminars, already attended by more than 1,800 members, are designed to develop squadron, district, and national bridge members and committee chairs into effective leaders and role models. Registration and seminar schedule information may be found at The affordable seminars are $49 each and include lunch each day. The Ramada room rate is $67.30 plus tax per night and includes a full breakfast. Reserve your room by calling 919-832-4100 and using code CGUSPS17. This rate is good for 4 Jan. if you plan to arrive the day before. Attendance is limited to 30 per seminar, and the registration deadline is 1 Nov. 2016. Members attending LD-101 and LD-102 can sign up to take LD-103 at the USPS 2017 Annual Meeting in February 2017 in Orlando, Florida. For information on LD-101, contact Ed Kridler at 843-870-5342 or; for information on LD-102, email me or call 252-241-4328. Email: Harold O’Briant Jr.

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Plan Ahead to Avoid Shipping Delays

Due to budget constraints, USPS has reduced staff in the headquarters warehouse. It is important that you plan ahead to get the best shipping rate and avoid delays. Email: Mary Catherine Berube

The Ensign’s Spring 2017 Photo Contest

Show us what you love most about boating by sending us your favorite photos from your time on the water, and you could win a prize! The contest is open to amateur and professional photographers who are USPS members or subscribers of The Ensign magazine. Deadline for submission is 31 Dec. 2016. Winning photos will be featured in the Spring 2017 issue of The Ensign. Use the form at the link below to submit your photos. Email: Amy Townsend

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Why Does My Squadron Need an AED?

Sudden cardiac arrest is almost always fatal without lifesaving treatment. Providing high-quality CPR and an automated external defibrillator can make the difference between life and death. But if squadron members do nothing, the chance of survival diminishes by 10 percent with each passing minute. Having a readily accessible, fully compliant AED at your meetings and events gives your fellow squadron member the best chance of survival. All members are encouraged to take the CPR & First Aid for Boaters course at the USPS 2017 Annual Meeting in Orlando. Squadrons should consider the Safety Committee’s recommendation to create a First Aid Support Team to respond to all health care-related matters. Contact me at 301-767-5905 for more information on taking the course, getting an AED or starting a FAST program. Email: Alan Karpas

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Falling Prices on all 100th Anniversary Items

All remaining 100th anniversary items are now 75% off! That’s right, 75% off. No promo code necessary. Go to, and click on “Sale” to find the 100th anniversary prompt. Rake in your fall savings today! Email: Jacky VanDoren

10% Off Crewneck Sweatshirts in the Ship’s Store

Just in time for fall, our crewneck sweatshirts are 10OFF during October. Available in maroon and gray, they are sure to keep you warm on these fall evenings. Visit and click on "Sale" to see this featured sale item. Email: Jacky VanDoren

New Brunswick Dealer Contest Begins in 2017

At the 2017 Annual Meeting in Orlando, the Program Partner Relations Committee will roll out a new case study contest for squadrons participating with Brunswick Partner Dealers. Look for details soon under the education section of our website. Also, the Discover Boating Boat Show season is upon us once again. If your squadron has a participating show nearby, expect a call from Ronnie Mann about participation or email her in advance. Thanks to all the squadrons that participated in the Tall Ships America 2016 Great Lakes Challenge! Photos coming soon to our website. Email: Shirley D. Heald

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First Timers, Get Ready for Fun in Orlando

We’re looking for a large showing of First Timers at the USPS 2017 Annual Meeting in Orlando! If you haven’t attended a national meeting before, you are a “First Timer”! When you register for the Annual Meeting, please check the box indicating that this is your first national meeting. You will receive a packet of information with everything you need to know about the meeting, voting, etc. At the meeting, you’ll receive a discount coupon for one item from the Ship’s Store and a chance to win a First-Timer Door Prize, as well as an invitation to a reception with the national bridge. See you in Orlando! Email: Lynda Leque

Need Help Developing or Revitalizing Your Squadron?

If so, our team is ready to help you form a new squadron or regain your squadron's confidence. District and squadron commanders and executive officers, be aware that your self-evaluation forms are due soon. We’re looking forward to seeing you in Orlando. Email: Myles Gee

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GRIDS and GRIBS: Computer Weather Forecasting and Navigation

A brand new webinar–GRIDS and GRIBS: Computer Weather Forecasting and Navigation–captures the fascinating world of modern weather forecasting. After providing some historical context, the webinar gets right to the foundation of the modern forecasting process–the giant computer models that are the basis for all professionally produced weather predictions. Most importantly for boaters, the webinar describes the types of forecasts (GRIDS and GRIBS) that these models have made possible, their strengths and weaknesses, how to get them at no cost anywhere in the world, and how to use them in electronic chart plotting. The webinar will be given at 2000 ET on Tuesday, 15 Nov. To register, visit Email: Robert F. Anderson

Disposal of Unwanted and Outdated Pyrotechnic Devices

Vessel examiners are sometimes asked to accept out-of-date or otherwise unwanted pyrotechnic devices for disposal. However, accepting potentially hazardous materials for disposal is not part of the VSC mission. If requested to take possession of outdated pyrotechnic devices, examiners are advised to respectfully decline. Some municipal and volunteer fire departments or law enforcement agencies may accept pyrotechnics for disposal; many will not. Disposal may pose potential health or safety hazards to the individual or to the environment. Examiners should caution boaters against throwing unwanted pyrotechnics overboard, activating them in the marine environment, or disposing of them in household trash. Examiners can also suggest boaters contact local law enforcement or fire protection authorities for guidance on disposing of the unwanted materials. Members should not recommend that they be activated on land or retained on board a vessel as back-ups since older flares may become unstable and their burn rates unpredictable. Email: Mike Wiedel

VSC Deadline Approaching

The VSC Awards cutoff date is fast approaching. If you want your vessel exams to be counted for national awards, the exams must be entered into the USPS national database no later than midnight 31 Oct. 2016. Email: Mike Wiedel

New Bottom Paint Developments

At the Tampa Boat Show, we learned about a new method of keeping growth off the boat bottom using electronic transducers that was developed in Australia. It’s still too early to determine how well they will work to reduce the discharge of paint parts into the water or to keep shellfish off the boat’s bottom without harming the shellfish living nearby. Visit the Annual Meeting Expo in Orlando to learn more. Email: Dick Daybell

Boat Trainer News: Regional Coordinators and Upgrades

Testing is complete on the 3.2 upgrade that will correct and simplify the start-up processes and calibration issues and make the Boating Skills Virtual Trainer units much more stable. A few fun items like a working wind sock and additional personal watercraft and boat traffic will make the upgraded version more challenging. Upgrades will take place over the next few months as units are circulated through USPS headquarters. Regional coordinators will have units available on a first-come, first-served basis within the regions: Ken Voight, California; Al Keim, Pacific Northwest; Pat Antoni, Upper Midwest; George Hallenbeck, Northeast; Lisa Wilson, Southeast; and Dick Pfenniger, Florida and Puerto Rico. Continue to make reservations through the website and turn in Coast Guard tracking forms! If you have questions, email me, Project Manager Lisa Herndon Wilson. Email: Lisa Herndon Wilson

Has Your Squadron Made the 2016 EdFund Honor Roll?

Now that summer is over and life is returning to a more normal pace in your squadron, please consider making your squadron contribution to the Educational Fund so that your squadron becomes an Honor Roll Squadron for 2016. You can find more details on the EdFund website listed below or by calling me at 845-542-3180. Email: Fred Mangelsdorf

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Fall Nautical Cooperative Charting

As we transition into Fall and take that Fall cruise, be sure to check your local chart for any changes to obstructions, landmarks or depths. Look at misrepresented bridges, power lines and docks or piers. These changes should be entered to NOAA’s Nautical Discrepancy Reporting site at After making a report, please email the information to your local Cooperative Charting Area Rep, which can be found at the Cooperative Charting home page using the link below. Email: Diane Julum

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Great Lakes Cruising Club Discounts Continue

We’re pleased to announce that the partnership arrangement with the Great Lakes Cruising Club in which all GLCC online cruising-related webinars are available to USPS members at reduced USPS registration rates will continue this year. Note that there is a NEW discount code Basic1516USPS, so be sure to use this new code when signing up for a webinar. Any user can register with the GLCCSchool site by creating a user ID and password. Email: Jonathan Benman

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USCG Aids to Navigation Reporting

Have you been out on the water lately and discovered a discrepancy with an aid to navigation? Our new reporting situation requires direct reporting to the United States Coast Guard. The USCG Navigation Center has an ATON discrepancy reporting web page that members of USPS should use: It’s important to identify yourself as a USPS member in the comments section of the report and follow up by sending a copy to your Cooperative Charting Area Rep. An Area Rep reporting form will soon be posted to the Cooperative Charting home page. Email: Diane Julum

Get Recognized for Your Public Service Activities

The BoatUS Distinguished Civic Service Award is one of the most prestigious awards a squadron or district can receive. The award recognizes visibility of the BoatUS and USPS mission through local community activities and is jointly sponsored by the BoatUS Foundation and USPS through the national Membership Committee. Please review all application materials prior to submission. The award year runs from 1 Oct. to 30 Sept. Applications should be submitted electronically to the national Membership Committee chair between 1 Oct. and 15 Oct., the award deadline. Email: James Pahl-Washa

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Each One, Reach One

It’s not just a slogan; it’s a plan of action. It’s up to all of us to reach out to friends and acquaintances who have an interest in boating and our mission of being better boaters and on-the-water role models. Reach out by sharing your expertise, your time or even just a friendly smile. Provide a class or a seminar, a vessel safety exam or just a hand with a line at the dock. Remember, we welcome all. Email: James Pahl-Washa

October 2016 Star Calendar

Star calendar 1–31 October 2016

1 Oct     The moon sets early, making tonight great for stargazing. Look for Saturn low in the west at dusk, Mars 2 fist-widths to the upper left near Sagittarius and the Summer Triangle directly overhead.

3 Oct     At dusk, Venus is 2 finger-widths below the crescent moon. The pair sets within 2 hours of sunset.

4 Oct     The moon is at apogee, 63.7 Earth-radii (406,000 kilometers) away.

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