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Utility Navigation

Small Boat Program


Minimum Training Requirements for Crewmembers

All NOAA small boat crewmembers must complete Personal Qualification Standards. These standards are currently optional, and will become standard with version 4 of the NOAA Small Boat Standards and Procedures Manual. Requirements are structured by class of vessel.

Class A and I

Class II

Class III and SRV

  • Completed Personal Qualification Standards each boat the Crewemember works aboard. NOTE: PQS for class III and SRV boats is forthcoming.

Minimum Training Requirements for Operators

All NOAA small boat Operators must have a NOAA Small Boat Operator Authorization Form (NOAA Form 57-19-04) listing the boats they are qualified to operate. Further training requirements are structured by class of vessel.

Class A, I, and II

Class III and SRV

  • Appropriate USCG License or Uniformed Service Officer of the Deck
  • Completed Vessel specific Personnel Qualification Standards
  • Certificate from NOAA Component Course
  • Current CPR and First Aid

Be aware that the OMAO Supplemental Policy to NOAA Small Boat Standards & Procedures Manual may require Operators to hold a USCG Fast Rescue Boat certification.

Approved Basic Maritime Skills Courses

All small boat operators must have a certificate proving basic boating and seamanship skills. The Small Boat Safety Board has approved the following courses:

        • NOAA Commissioned Corps – Basic Officer Training Class
        • Any USCG Deck License
        • Federal Law Enforcement Small Boat Training – IBOT or MLETP
        • STCW Fast Rescue Boat (FRB) AND
          • US Merchant Marine Able-Bodied Seaman rating 
          •                                         OR
          • A 2-day minimum, in person, NASBLA approved course
        • Boatwise - Course for NOAA Operators
        • Chapman Powerboat Certification – Basic Power Boating (5 days)
        • Clatsop Community College/MERTS (4 days)
        • Westlawn Institute of Marine Technology
        • Educational Training Company - NOAA Small Boat Operator Course (3 days)
        • AMSEA - NOAA Small Boat Safety Training (4 days)
        • Alaska Department of Natural Resources - Alaska Water Wise
        • Moterboat Operators Training Course - Sientific Boating Safety Association (3-5 days)
        • Moterboat 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 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 avaliability. Only NOAA employees are eligable 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. 

New Vessel Operations Coordinator Handbook

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

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 which their operators may encounter. If your line office or program would like to develop advanced training, please contact 

Small Boat XO.

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.

Contact theSmall Boat XO for class availability.

NOAA Annual Small Boat Evaluation Course

This course is 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 the Small Boat XO for class availability.

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Reviewed: November 5, 2018. Contact us with page issues.

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