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Utility Navigation

Small Boat Program


Minimum Requirements for Crewmembers

Minimum Requirements for Operators

Class A, I, and II
Class III and SRV

Approved Basic Maritime Skills Courses

All small boat operators must have a certificate proving basic boating and seamanship skills. The minimum standard is USCG Auxiliary Boating Skills and Seamanship (BS&S). Any equivalent course must cover all of the significant topics of the USCGAux BS&S curriculum and must be, at minimum, of equivalent duration (approximately 24 hours dependent on location). Requests for BS&S equivalency shall be sent to the LOSBO or the Small Boat Program Manager for review.

The Small Boat Program has issued a Memorandum for Approved Equivalent Maritime Skills Courses. This provides the framework for approval of equivalent courses and the current list of approved courses. 

 The Small Boat Safety Board has approved the following courses:

        • NOAA Commissioned Corps – Basic Officer Training Class
        • Any USCG Deck Officer License
        • Federal Law Enforcement Small Boat Training – IBOT or MLETP
        • Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) Law Enforcement Academy, NASBLA Boat Operations and Training Program
        • STCW Fast Rescue Boat (FRB) AND
          • US Merchant Marine Able-Bodied Seaman rating 
          •                                         OR
          • A 2-day minimum, in person, NASBLA approved course
        • Custom Boatwise In Person Course for NOAA Operators
        • Chapman Powerboat Certification – Basic Power Boating (5 days)
        • Clatsop Community College/MERTS (4 days)
        • AMSEA - NOAA Small Boat Safety Training (4 days)
        • Motorboat Operators Training Course - Scientific Boating Safety Association (3-5 days)
        • Motorboat Operators Certification Course - Department of Interior (3-5 days)
          • This course was developed by the Department of the Interior but is applicable to NOAA small boat Operators. It reviews minimum requirements for the safe operation of motorboats and includes a review of legal requirements, preparations, navigation, operations, emergency procedures, rescue, self-rescue, trailering, fire suppression, and basic seamanship.
          • Contact Chad Yoshinaga for class availability. Only NOAA employees are eligible to attend NOAA-sponsored MOCC classes.

NOAA Small Boat Component Course

The NOAA Small Boat Component Course is a one-day (8 hour) instructor-led classroom session. The course covers NOAA's small boat policies, risk assessment, and team coordination training. View the NOAA Component Class Instructor list to set up a class. To learn more, view the NOAA Small Boat Component Student Handbook.

New Vessel Operations Coordinator Guide Book

The new NOAA Small Boat VOC Guide Book is intended as a guide for newly appointed Vessel Operations Coordinators. The handbook is a living document. Personnel are encouraged to add to the handbook as new procedures, policies, and best practices are identified. To add to the handbook, please contact the Small Boat XO at

Advanced Training

Operational Training

                          NOAA does unique work, which may require specialized training. Some local units have developed their own courses for this unique work (ie: inshore surf ops). Some line offices require additional training in their Supplemental Small Boat Policy to address specific issues that their operators may encounter. If your line office or program would like to develop advanced training, please contact Paul Moreno (202-577-5765)

Outboard Maintenance Training

                    Currently there is no course on outboard motor maintenance. Local community colleges, vocational schools, and manufacture technical certification programs are all good places to find training.

NOAA Small Boat Component Instructor Course

This class trains people to become certified NOAA Small Boat Component Class instructors. It focuses on instructional training methods with hands-on teaching of the NOAA small boat policy, risk assessment, and team coordination training. There is no set schedule for the course but it is given when there is enough interest and/or need. The process to become an instructor is laid out in the NOAA Component Instructor Qualification Process document. 

Contact Paul Moreno (202-577-5765) for class availability or any questions.

NOAA Annual Small Boat Evaluation Course

This course seeks to train students on effective evaluation of Class A, I, and II boats, using the ASBE checklist standards. The class is a combination of lectures and hands-on evaluations of small boats. It is recommended for anyone who conducts or supervises ASBE’s.

Contact Paul Moreno (202-577-5765) for class availability.

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Reviewed: September 27, 2022. Contact us with page issues.

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