Submission guidelines

Submission guidelines

USPS publications can’t exist without you. Your articles, artwork and photos bring The Ensign magazine and the USPS Compass to life. Many of our contributors have authored books in the marine field and others have won industry awards, including two $5,000 grand prizes in the Boating Writers International writing contest.  So you are in great company.

Even if you don’t like to write or doubt your writing skills, your passion for and knowledge of your subject matter will shine through. Plus you’ll also have the support of a professional editorial staff to polish your prose until it sparkles.


How to submit articles: Email your articles in Word, WordPerfect or rich text format. Use minimal text styling. Don’t forget to include your name and squadron if you are a member.

Types of submissions: We accept all types of articles, but here are a few ideas to get you started. If you have an idea that you’re not sure of, contact a member of the publications staff at 888-367-8777 or by email.

  • How-to pieces including maintenance, repair, safety, seamanship and boat handling tips for both beginners and seasoned boaters as well as cautionary tales of boating blunders
  • Squadron stories featuring civic service projects, educational and social activities with photos if possible
  • Feature articles about exciting boating adventures, cruising destinations, boating how-to’s, DIY projects and more
  • Lighter fare about how your boat got its name, the history behind your squadron’s burgee, short humor, nautical expressions, quotes and more
  • Boating news including legislative issues, new products and product recalls, uncharted hazards, and  more
  • USPS news about projects and programs that explain the subject’s impact and importance to readers

Writing tips:

  • Don’t plagiarize any source or copy information from the Internet without attribution. If you use a source, identify it and use quotation marks for verbatim quotes.
  • Use active voice, rather than passive voice, whenever possible. For example, “John lowered the anchor” (active) versus the passive “The anchor was lowered.”
  • Double-check the spelling of all people, places and objects mentioned. Your subjects will thank you.

Photographers and artists

How to submit photos: Email or upload original digital files in jpeg or tiff format. Photos should be taken at high resolution; the print size should be at least 3×5 inches at 300 pixels per inch. You can leave the post processing to our designers. Please identify people, places and objects pictured in a Word, WordPerfect or rich text document. Obtain the permission of all people pictured and written permission from the parents of all minor children photographed.

How to submit artwork: Please send native-format digital files, high-resolution scans or original artwork.