The National Safe Boating Council (NSBC) Training Philosophy

The NSBC identifies gaps in boating safety outreach and training where known voids exist. A gap currently exists in the boating safety community for an easy-to-replicate, on-water boat handling program. The NSBC has addressed this need by developing a program designed to include a step-by-step method to teach precision boat handling and maneuvering, especially suitable for tight or crowded conditions. Our program gives instructors a systematic approach in teaching boat control. The NSBC’s Boat Control Training Program, includes the Essentials of Close-Quarters Boat Control and Open Water Boat Control. This training meets and exceeds requirements of the National On-Water Skills Standard for Powerboats recognized by the U.S. Coast Guard and by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) in 2014. 

As the national umbrella organization for other national, state, regional, and local entities, it is not the objective of the NSBC to directly train the general public.  Instead, the NSBC offers highly regarded instructor and instructor-level credentials for use by recreational boating safety professionals in organizations, businesses, agencies, and entities. 

Additional Background Concerning Our Philosophy

The NSBC is made up of a diverse membership that represents many differing approaches to training in the field of recreational boating. NSBC’s mission addresses equally diverse methods to deliver safe boating, both to the professional and to the general recreational boating public. Training developed by the NSBC is a result of requests by the membership and is often in response to needs sought by other recreational boating entities.

In the early 2000s, boat handling training instructor level certification was not readily available. The NSBC Boat Control Training Program, much like the NSBC Boating Safety Instructor Certification program, was established to fill possible voids within other agencies and organizations. It is the Council’s ongoing expectation that, by training instructors involved in other organizations, recreational boating safety is enhanced.  Trained instructors take the full program, or components of the program, and train their own organization’s membership, clients, supporters, and the general public.  This ‘multiplier effect’ is the ultimate goal of NSBC training. We hope our members, as well as other boating safety organizations, ultimately use the NSBC’s training to spread and advance safety and competencies within the greater boating community, thereby achieving the NSBC’s mission of ‘Safer Boating Through Education, Outreach, and Training.’

According to a recent survey conducted by the Recreational Boating Leadership Council, 75 percent of those surveyed believe boaters education and hands-on skill training could help the dealer sell more boats. Invest in your business by taking one of the NSBC's on-water and online training!

The NSBC offers classroom, on-water, and online training geared towards the professional.

To learn more about a specific program, please click the links below.

Instructor Boat Control CourseThe program combines the Close-Quarters and Open Water  curricula and focuses on stopping, turning, docking, rescues, etc in various wind and current conditions for a novice or beginning boater.

Marina Pro Training - The program uses Close-Quarters and Open Water Boat Control Curriculums to train candidates to becomes trained and certified "Marina Pros." 

Close-Quarters Boat Control Course - Defensive boat handling instructor course focusing on maneuvers and techniques.

Open Water Boat Control Course - Basic boat handling instructor course focusing on how to effectively teach power boating. 

Instructor Training Course - Designed to prepare instructor candidates to teach effective NASBLA-approved basic boating safety courses to recreational boaters nationwide.

Boat Pro Point of Sale Training - This online video series provides time-efficient training opportunities designed to educate marina personnel, recreational boat dealers, marine retailers and others who sell products and services to boaters on how to educate their customers on today’s safety equipment requirements. 

To request a training, please click here


Interested in becoming an Instructor Member or an Instructor-Trainer Member? Benefits include maintaining a valid NSBC Instructor Certification, discounts on Training Materials (student manuals, certificates), and the ability to issue Participation Certificates to students. 

Maintaining Instructor Certification: 
  • Your certification is valid for four (4) years
  • Join NSBC as Instructor member and maintain annual membership: Instructor-Trainer ($100 or $90 with agency); Instructor: ($75.00 or $65.00 with agency)
  • Teach two (2) formal courses within the four (4) years
    • definition for "formal" is ordering the manuals and issuing certificates from NSBC
  • Participate in an update or co-teach
  • Any exceptions, put in writing and email to
  • Report number of students you have trained for each formal course and informal course you teach to