What is unique about the Chapman School of Seamanship?

The Chapman School of Seamanship is a non-profit organization 501(c)(3) that has been dedicated to increasing boating safety and enjoyment since its founding in 1972 by Glenn D. Castle and Charles F. Chapman.  It was designated the "Maritime School of the State of Florida” by the State Legislature in 1982, and has been one of the foremost authorities on training recreational power boaters for over 35 years.

There are countless books and articles available for self study of the "Maritime Arts”, including the most famous of them all, "Chapman Piloting and Seamanship”.  There are also a number of well respected organizations that do a credible job of teaching specific subjects, such as navigation and boating safety, in a classroom environment.  However, there are few places where serious power boaters can get both excellent classroom training and then have the opportunity to put the "theoretical” to use in real world situations, while underway.

Chapman School’s unique, "Learn at the Helm" approach provides a well balanced combination of classroom and underway instruction that enables individuals to quickly develop new skills and the confidence to go along with them.  Our proven teaching methods have delivered results for thousands of adults and youth from all of the 50 States and over 39 foreign countries.   

What is Chapman Powerboat Certification?

 "Chapman Powerboat Certification” (CPC™) is a 6-level training series that provides the knowledge and skills boaters must possess to competently operate a power vessel in the varying and often hostile conditions encountered at sea.  This innovative program enables students to progress from basic boating skills all the way to advanced ocean cruising through Chapman School’s proven "Learn at the Helm”teaching methods.

Designed for both the experienced and novice boater, the CPC series provides a structured progression of knowledge, skills and abilities to enable boaters to confidently and competently skipper a power vessel in a wide variety of situations and conditions.  Whether it’s a short pleasure trip in their local area or an extended cruise to the islands, CPC graduates possess the ability necessary to expand their boating horizons, safely.

What is the CPC "Passport”?

At each level, students must pass both a written and underway, practical skills test to earn certification.  A record of achievements is kept in each student’s certification "Passport.  This logbook identifies the skills required at each level and thus becomes a convenient means of documenting the student's capability to marine insurers, charter operators and others whenever proof of competence is needed or required.  It is the first "credential” of its kind for recreational power boaters.

Why was the CPC program developed?

The Chapman School of Seamanship has been dedicated to increasing boating safety and enjoyment for over three decades through its various recreational and professional training programs.  The development of the CPC series was a logical evolution of our efforts in those areas.

According to the United States Coast Guard, boaters who have not attended a safety or boating skills course are far more likely to be involved in an accident.  And, it’s been our experience that when recreational boaters have had adequate training, they are much more confident and less stressed because they are better prepared.

While there are several organizations that offer structured training and certification for sailing enthusiasts, there is no recognized authority on power boating in the United States that provides the hands on training and "underway” testing necessary to certify the skill levels of recreational power boaters.  Safety and competence at the helm is a serious matter and that’s precisely why we developed CPC.

Does the Chapman School still offer its Recreational Boating I & II programs?

The Chapman Powerboat Certification series is a natural extension of and has replaced all our highly acclaimed Recreational Boating programs.  In fact, we’ve retained all of the elements of the Boating Basics, Powerboat Handling and Recreational Boating I programs and they form the nucleus of the CPC entry level series.  However, our research shows there is significant need for more advanced training, a fact confirmed by the increasing number of requests we’ve received for cruising and "blue water” skills programs.

In response, we revised our Recreational Boating II curriculum (it’s now called CPC 2000) and added two more levels to place more emphasis on advanced cruising and open water boat handling skills.  CPC 2000 is a 5-day program with 24 hours of underway instruction as part of the "Coastal Cruising” curriculum.  Both CPC 3000 ("Powerboat Charter”) and CPC 4000 ("Offshore Passage”) are all new, 5-day cruising courses for serious boaters in a live aboard format.

Does Chapman School offer any other programs for serious recreational boaters?

The Chapman School of Seamanship was the first organization to offer advanced, hands on training for power boaters through its "Mariner Training” program.  This highly regarded, 9-week immersion course provides 325 hours of hands on training and is excellent for individuals who intend to cruise extensively.  Visit our Mariner Training Program page for details.

Who should attend the CPC courses?

Whether your goal is to learn how to maneuver in close quarters and dock your vessel like a pro, learn navigation, piloting and seamanship or improve your "blue water” skills and confidence, the CPC series provides the knowledge and "at the Helm” training suitable for novice and experienced boaters alike.

How much actual helm time is included in CPC instruction?

While actual helm time differs with each certification level, all CPC courses are designed around Chapman School’s "Learn at the Helm” teaching method.  This unique approach combines an ideal balance of classroom training with the opportunity to put the "theoretical” to use in "real world” situations aboard one of our training vessels.

I’ve already taken recreational boating courses at Chapman’s, do I qualify for certification?

Previous students who’ve successfully completed Boating Basics, Powerboat Handling and or Recreational Boating I have already learned the course material and skills necessary for certification.  However, it is necessary to pass a written exam and boat handling skills test in order to get "CPC Certified”.  Chapman School will provide the opportunity for past students to "upgrade” to CPC certification at no additional cost.  Please contact the school for details.

Do all of the certification levels have to be taken in order? (are there any prerequisites?)

There are no prerequisites for CPC 100, 200, and 1000, so these programs may be taken as stand alone courses in any order that is convenient.  However, each of the successively higher CPC levels must be taken in order because the advanced curriculum builds upon the knowledge and skills learned at the previous level(s).  For example, in order to enroll in CPC 3000, one must have earned both CPC 1000 and CPC 2000 certification first.

If I have experience, can I test out (challenge) a particular level without taking the whole program?  I have boating experience, do I have to start at the beginning in order to get CPC Certified?

We have not yet developed a means for "challenging” any particular level ("challenging” a level means simply taking and passing the written exam and the boat handling skills test without attending any of the classroom and onboard training sessions).  We are considering adding this feature if there are sufficient requests to do so.

I’m interested in attending the CPC 1000 course but don’t have the time right now.  Are there any options for me?

The CPC 100 course curriculum makes up a portion of the CPC 1000 program.  We have scheduled the CPC 1000 classes in a way that allows someone to attend the CPC 100 program over a weekend and "upgrade” to CPC 1000 certification by completing only the last three days of a future CPC 1000 course.

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