FAQ

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Results are derived from the Bellingham Sail and Power Squardon and United States Power Squadrons® websites.
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+ What is the Bellingham Sail and Power Squadron?

Bellingham Sail and Power Squadron (BSPS) is the local chapter of the United States Power Squadrons®, a non-profit organization, which has served our community for over 50 years, teaching boating safety, offering camaraderie for sailors, power boaters, and kayakers plus working with the community to further common public interests.

To learn more about the Bellingham Sail and Power Squadron visit our About Us page or contact the Commander.

+ What are the benefits of membership in the Bellingham Sail and Power Squadron?

Membership in Bellingham Sail and Power Squadron provides educational opportunities, with courses and seminars, both in the classroom and on-the-water plus exchanging ideas with experienced fellow-boaters. Ample fellowship opportunities come about through monthly member dinner meetings, cruises, and special events like picnics. Squadron members work together on projects dedicated to helping the community.

Squadron members can also qualify for discounts on insurance, products and services.
BSPS Resources
USPS Member Benefits

+ How do I join the Bellingham Sail and Power Squadron?

To join Bellingham Sail and Power Squadron, the local chapter of the United States Power Squadrons, visit the Membership page which shows the dues structure along with a downloadable membership application.

For further information contact the Membership Chair.

+ What educational opportunities does the squadron offer?

BSPS offers many courses, seminars, and on-the-water sessions. For a complete listing of current offerings visit the Education page.

+ Where can I obtain information about upcoming events?

Upcoming events include monthly member meeting with interesting speakers, courses, seminars, cruises, picnics, etc. Visit Upcoming Events to see what is on the horizon.

+ How can I volunteer to help with squadron activities?

To learn about volunteer opportunities and find a match for your skills, interests, and available time, contact the Membership Chair.

+ How can I manage my personal information?

To learn about how Bellingham Sail and Power Squadron treats your personal information read the Privacy Policy. To change your preferences or update your information, contact the squadron Secretary.

+ What is a Vessel Safety Check?

A Vessel Safety Check is a no-cost, independent review of the safety equipment and features of your boat. Performed by members of Bellingham Sail and Power Squadron, who are certified Vessel Safety Examiners, a successful examination gives you a Vessel Safety decal, issued for the calendar year, demonstrating to everyone (including law enforcement) your dedication to safe boating.

For additional details check the Vessel Safety section of this site.

+ What is Cooperative Charting?

Through the Cooperative Charting program, squadron members review the current status of nautical information in the local waters and advise National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) of any discrepancies. The programs has many facets and allows squadron member to make meaningful contributions to the safety of local boater.

For additional details check the Co-op Charting section of this site.

+ How do I obtain a Washington State Boater Education Card?

Boaters in Washington need to have their Washington State Boater Education Card with them when operating a boat with an engine this is 15 horsepower or greater. Boater operators born before January 1,1955 are exempt but may choose to get a card if they plan to boat in Canada or Oregon since both require mandatory education.

To obtain a Washington Boater Education Card, you must pass an approved course, complete an application and mail it, along with $10, to Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission Boating Programs. Details about the state requirements are available at http://www.parks.wa.gov/442/Mandatory-Boater-Education.

To learn more about an approved course go to the ABC tab on the Education page of this site.

+ What are Merit Marks?

Merit marks are awarded annually to recognize members for contributing to the goals of the Bellingham Sail and Power Squadron. The Officers of the Bellingham Sail and Power Squadron recommend members for merit marks based on their substantial contributions and efforts. The merit mark is the only means the squadron has for recognizing members and is a very coveted honor.

For additional information or if for questions about merit marks contact the Commander.

+ What do all the acronyms mean?

Adadministrative,administration
AGadvanced grades
AOadministrative officer
APadvanced piloting
BDUbiographical data upload
/Ccommander (as in V/C,Lt/C)
Captcaptain
Cdrcommander
Chchair
CoChcooperative charting
Comcommittee on,committee for
ComSyscomputer systems
CPSorCPS/ECPCanadian Power and Sail Squadrons
Ddistrict
D/Cdistrict commander
DEOdistrict educational officer
ECelective course
Ed,Edueducation, educational
EdFundeducational fund
EDMeducational department manual
EDNeducational department notice
EMengine maintenance
Exexecutive (as in ExCom)
F/Ltflag lieutenant
HQheadquarters
IMinstructional manual
1/Lt,Ist/Ltfirst lieutenant
IDinstructor development
JNjunior navigator, Junior Navigation
LBlocal board for
LDleadership development
Ltlieutenant
MEmarine electronics
Memmembership
MImember involvement
MMmerit marks
Nnavigator, navigation, national
Nomnominating, nominations
OMOperations Manual
Opoperations
OToperations training
Ppilot, piloting
P/past (as in P/C)
PRpublic relations
R/rear (as in R/C)
Sseaman, seamanship, safety
Ssquadron (as in SEO but never SC)
Sasail
Sec,Secysecretary
SEOsquadron educational officer
SMstudent manual
SN,Neducational achievement award (senior navigator)
Sqdnsquadron
TAteaching aids
Treastreasurer
VSCvessel safety check
Wxweather
XOexecutive officer

+ How do I obtain a Maritime Mobile Service Identity (MMSI)?

Modern marine radios now feature Digital Selective Calling (DSC) for routine operations and for automated distress hailing. These features can only be used if your radio is programmed with a unique code called a Maritime Mobile Service Identity, or MMSI.

The United States Power Squadrons is authorized by the Federal Communications Commission and the US Coast Guard to issue MMSIs to US flagged vessels not subject to Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Convention requirements. This includes almost all recreational boats.

Vessels required to have FCC ship station licenses, including US flagged pleasure craft making international voyages, must obtain their MMSIs directly from the Federal Communications Commission.

Click here for the United States Power Squadrons MMSI portal for information on which license(s) you need and where to obtain them.

+ What is Bell Signals?

Bell Signals is the newsletter for Bellingham Sail and Power Squadron and is published monthly except for July. The newsletter contains interesting articles and reports on activities as well as announcements about upcoming educational and social events.

The current issue as well as past issues can be viewed and downloaded from this website on the About Us page.

+ Who are the advertisers/sponsors of the Bellingham Sail and Power Squadron?

The current advertisers/sponsors of Bellingham Sail and Power Squadron are in each issue of Bell Signals. Members are encouraged to support the advertisers/sponsors by using their services and products whenever possible. A list of the sponsors is available the Sponsors tab of the Resources page on this site.

+ How do I become an advertiser/sponsor?

To learn about advertising in Bell Signals contact the Advertising Coordinator.