United States Power Squadrons®
Teaching Safe Boating Since 1914
Chief Commander Frank Dvorak, SN
1504 Blue Ridge Road
Raleigh, North Carolina 27607
The United States Power Squadrons
Application For Consideration of a 2014 Commemorative Stamp
In 2014, the United States Power Squadrons 40,000 volunteer members will celebrate the
100th anniversary of the organization’s unique service to our nation. Six U.S. presidents
have honored it. All fifty states and the territorial governors issued a joint proclamation in
2004 praising its important contributions. It is heralded as the nation’s largest boating
At the Boston Yacht Club in 1912, the United States Power Squadrons had its genesis as
an innovative training division for operators of the newly available power boats. By
1914, Franklin Roosevelt, as Under Secretary of the Navy, realized its value and encour-
aged the formation of a national organization. In both world wars, in addition to its boat-
ing programs, the Power Squadrons instructed government endorsed naval training
In recent decades its services have expanded. In cooperation with United States Coast
Guard it has provided non punitive vessel safety checks for recreational vessels in coop-
eration. In support of the efforts of the Department of Homeland Security it has promoted
citizen awareness and training. In the era of fiscal constraints, it is the nation’s primary
source of information on the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration’s
(NOAA) nautical charts.
As has been true for almost a century, its major mission is with cities and towns, boating
interests and individuals, fostering programs for safety information and education. Today,
its USPS University offers diverse courses, seminar offerings, and on-the-water training.
It is the nation’s major source for educating boaters and saving lives. For these reasons
the United States Power Squadrons’ members seek the issuance of a 2014 commemora-
tive stamp in recognition of its valuable national service
In 2014 The United States Power Squadrons
Completes 100 Years of National Service
Rear Commodore Roger Upton, founder of the Power Squadron of the
Boston Yacht Club in 1912, observes drills and maneuvers aboard his
yacht, Elizabeth. Early USPS logo is also shown.
Page 1 of 9
In the beginning of the Twentieth Century recreational yachting in the United States was largely
confined to sailing craft and large steam yachts manned by professional crews. Yacht clubs taught
and promoted the sport of sailing and as motor yachts joined the fleet, there were few activities
Roger Upton, a Massachusetts businessman, was a sailing member of the Boston Yacht Club in
1909. Because wind power was so often unreliable, he bought a 35-foot motor launch with a gaso-
line engine to serve as tender for his ketch and as a towing vessel when she was becalmed. The
reliability of power appealed to him and he grew to love power boating. As the yacht club’s Rear
Commodore, his ideas concerning the need to train power boaters were accepted and he was placed
in charge of
the fleet. A
right, he soon
kept the divi-
Early Power Squadron boats practicing drills based studies,
on U.S. Naval maneuvers. cruises, races
modeled after U.S. Naval maneuvers. At the time, the laws of the United States governing nav-
igation applied only to steam vessels, and they were governed by a board of steamboat inspectors
who were old, crusty, sea-going men.
These inspectors had no use whatsoever for the small internal-combustion yachts and it was their
fondest hope to gain control of these boats and have them supervised by the same stringent rules
which governed the ocean liners and other vessels powered by steam. Upton and other United
States Power Squadron founders set out to protect power yacht operators from the stigma of being
Page 2 of 9
During the summer of 1912, twenty vessels of the yacht clubs’ new Power Boat Division were in-
vited to go with forty of the club’s windjammers on the annual Boston Yacht Club cruise to Port-
land, Maine. During the cruise a screeching nor'wester blew up. Many of the sailing yachts were
dismasted or otherwise disabled. The power yachts under Upton's command went to their rescue,
towing disabled craft to port. No loss of life or sail boats was reported.
The event was
published in a
cle, with ac-
photos of the
M a g a z i n e ’s
1912 issue. It
was written by
son Story, a
feature writer Motorboats To The Rescue - 1912: An oil painting by marine artist Donald
for The Demers, based on the event and magazine articles on the rescue.
and a member of the Powerboat Division of the Boston Yacht Club. This article generated great
publicity for the proficiency of the Division’s members. Assisted by a three-page story in Yacht-
ing Magazine and additional coverage in Motor Boating Magazine, more interest was generated
and yacht clubs in New England, the New York Metropolitan area, and elsewhere began talking
about emulating something similar in their own yacht clubs.
At the annual Boston Yacht Club Meeting in January 1913, the
name was changed to "Power Squadron" and the club-within-a-
club was officially recognized with its own section in the Boston
Yacht Club year book, shown at right. Only when a prospective
member was able to pass a fairly stiff examination in advanced pi-
loting subjects was he authorized to fly the group’s streamer.
Though powered vessels were referred to as "stink boats" by sail-
ing members, their owners and operators were held in great es-
teem for the knowledge they had acquired of seamanship and
Page 3 of 9
In June 1913, Roger Upton called for delegates representing
seventy clubs and associations of powerboat owners to as-
semble at the New York Yacht Club during the New York
Boat Show. Commander Roger Upton explained in detail the
reasons for forming the Boston Yacht Club Power Squadron,
and told of what was being accomplished by instructing
power yachtsmen about the rules of the road and boat han-
Franklin Delano Roosevelt, then assis-
tant secretary of the Navy, was
an honorary member of the
Boston Yacht Club. He had
observed Power Squadron
naval-type drills as a
guest aboard Upton's
yacht, “Elizabeth” and
had been greatly im- Early photo of N.Y. Yacht Club
pressed with the activi-
Franklin D. Roosevelt ties of the Power Squadron. FDR sent his aide, Captain William
F. Fullam, to attend the meeting. Fullam praised the organization
in the highest terms possible and complimented the officers for the
training they were providing with their naval-type drills.
The United States Power Squadrons emerged as a national organization at a 1914 February 2nd
meeting. The group elected Roger Upton as its first Chief Commander and Charles F. Chapman, the
Editor of Motor Boating Magazine, as its Treasurer. They appointed Rear Admiral DeWitt Coffman,
Commandant of the Boston Navy Yard, to the new Governing Board.
Later that year, following a joint program of drills and maneuvers involving Power Squadron mem-
vessels and the
U. S. Navy,
hosted a USPS
ginia” (seen on
the horizon of
Departing For Drills And Maneuvers With Units Of The U.S. Navy -1915.
An oil painting by marine artist Donald Demers based on historic data.
Page 4 of 9
Arthur J. Tyrer, Deputy Commissioner of Navigation of the Department of Commerce, was also
an active member beginning a continuing relationship with the department.
The motorboat gained in popularity, and squadrons grew both in number and in size. The United
States Power Squadrons was incorporated on 19 February 1915. As the squadrons grew, the in-
ternal educational program developed to keep pace. By January 1917, the organization had 477
members in twenty squadrons as it developed its first course dealing with celestial navigation.
The popular offering was published in installments in the organization's periodical, The Ensign.
World War I
The World War threatened to engage the nation and on 6 April l917 the United States declared war
on Germany. All Americans became very active in the preparedness movement. Charles F. Chap-
man sent a letter to Secretary Roosevelt, volunteering the entire United States Power Squadrons
instructional program for the training of men for naval coastal defense. Roosevelt accepted the pro-
posal with gratitude.
In New York City, The
Power Squadrons estab-
lished four free nautical
schools, enrolling over
3,000 students. Similar
schools were organized by
squadrons in Boston, De-
troit, Newburgh (NY), New
Haven and Washington,
D.C. Squadron members
and over 5,000 of the men
who attended these classes
entered the armed services
and, based in significant on
the quality of their Power Squadron training
The Post War Period
The quality of instruction taught by members greatly expanded in quality. By October 1932, there
were 1,431 members in 15 Squadrons. By the end of 1938 there were upwards of 5,000.
On 14 January 1939, the organization celebrated its 25th Anniversary at New York's Hotel Astor.
In honor of the occasion, President Roosevelt sent a letter of congratulations, greatly praising its
civic service. Later that same year, the President accepted honorary membership in USPS, be-
stowed upon him by vote of the Governing Board.
Page 5 of 9
World War II
Once again, the world
erupted into war. On 8
December 1941, less than
twenty-four hours after
the attack on Pearl Har-
bor, Power Squadron
leadership sent a telegram
to President Roosevelt
and the Secretary of the
Navy offering USPS sup-
port for America's war ef-
fort. For the second time
in 24 years, President
Roosevelt accepted this
support with appreciation.
New York City Power Squadron class during World War 2 During World War II
over 3,000 USPS members enlisted in the armed forces, including its chief commander, William
Anderson, who was sworn in as a navy lieutenant commander. Once again, Power Squadron night
courses mushroomed, and instructors taught navigation and allied subjects in squadron classes.
Thousands of members served with the Red Cross, Merchant Marine and other war-related serv-
ices, contributing significant assistance to our nation. More than 25 squadrons actively assisted the
Coast Guard. Friendly cooperation between the two organizations has been traditional ever since.
Post War Growth
After the war the organization experienced rapid growth. A Sail course was added in 1953. In May
1959, the national secretary reported 45,000 members in 268 Squadrons. A Marine Electronics
course was published in 1961 and by 1966, when Commander Chapman was awarded his 50th an-
nual merit mark, the organization had recorded a membership of over 60,000 in 348 Squadrons.
From the standpoint of teaching, the Educational Department constantly sought improved course
materials and better participation by members. As part of that effort, a new Piloting course was in-
troduced followed by Cruise Planning. A further indication of the latest techniques to improve
membership knowledge was the Operations Training program and its offshoot, Leadership De-
velopment. When today's better-informed members set out to insure their boats, USPS boasts its
own marine insurance program with both low rates and sound coverage.
To celebrate the 75th anniversary in 1989, five large USPS ensigns traversed the United States and
Canada. These ensigns visited every squadron and many units of the Canadian Power Squadrons.
Two special ensigns flew on board the NASA shuttle Atlantis and logged 1.6 million miles in their
journey over all seven seas between 4 and 8 of that year. Still another went to Moscow.
Page 6 of 9
That year President George Bush welcomed the Power
Squadrons’ Chief Commander, William D. Selden at a
White House ceremony. There the President signed a
proclamation honoring USPS. USPS has also been hon-
ored by Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt, Eisenhower,
Nixon, Clinton, and George W. Bush.
Proclamation Of The Governors Honoring USPS Pres. George Bush honoring USPS
In 2004, to celebrate the Power Squadrons’ Ninetieth Anniversary, Rear Commander Robert Green
coordinated an extraordinary national project. Five national proclamations traversed the country
and were signed personally by every state and territorial governor recognizing the United States
Power Squadrons for their significant national contributions.
Other Famous People have also Honored USPS
Yes, that is the late Walter
Cronkite, one of America’s
most respected journalists,
aboard his yacht “WYNTJZ”
in Martha’s Vineyard. Wal-
ter joined USPS in 1961 and
always gave credit for his
beginning knowledge in sea-
manship and navigation to
his USPS training.
Others who provided
support for the programs of
USPS were John Wayne,
Joey Bishop and Joe Na-
math, all avid boaters.
Walter Cronkite Aboard his yacht, WYNTJZ. Photo by Peter Simon
Page 7 of 9
THE “TALL SHIPS” OF OP SAIL and USPS
Since 1976 USPS has been extremely supportive and highly involved
in all Op Sails , also known as the Tall Ships. For the Bicentennial
celebration, a large international fleet gathered in New York City on
the Fourth of July and then in Boston. In each USPS members
served important roles. In the 1986 New York City Liberty Week-
end, they provided 35 USPS skipper owned boats to serve as water
taxis. These impressive nautical parades served to interest several
million observers in sailing vessels and boating traditions.
Today’s United State Power Squadrons
As the squadrons entered the new century, it continued it skilled educational programs. The recent
development of the USPS University is the heart of its expanding educational program which now
includes thirteen different
courses and over eighteen
seminars for the public cover-
ing every possible area of
recreational boating educa-
Its long-standing relationship
with Coast Guard Auxiliary
flotillas was further strength-
ened when the two groups
agreed to cooperate in their
courses.The Power Squadrons
also maintains close ties to the
United States Coast Guard,
the National Oceanographic
and Atmospheric Administra-
tion (NOAA), and the Depart-
ment of Homeland Security.
With the United States Coast
Guard, it developed a Vessel
Safety Check Program under federal rules. It provides boaters with free non-punitive examinations
of recreational vessels to certify their meeting all required safety standards. In addition it alerts
owners with additional safety orientations.
Under the Department of Homeland Security the Power Squadrons educate the public about nau-
tical security rules. They also play an advisory role to recreational boating clubs concerning sug-
gestions about nautical activities that should be reported to authorities. Some squadrons take an
active role in security watches. Page 8 of 9
With NOAA’s direction, the organization provides the nation with another crucial service: simply
called the “Cooperative Charting Program”. The United States Power Squadrons has become a sig-
nificent resource for monitoring nautical chart data. Its members continuously review the location
of chart markers, record nautical landmarks and survey all inland and coastal water depths with
special electronic data collector programs. In these times of drastic budget cuts this volunteer serv-
ice alone is saving the tax payers millions of dollars.
Along with these nation-wide services, squadrons provide their local communities with clear boat-
ing safety advisories. They work with municipalities, boating clubs and civic groups. They have
become the “go to” organization for information and education about boating safety.
Starting as a club-within-a-club in the early 1900s, and with the encouragement of then Assistant
Secretary of the Navy, Franklin D. Roosevelt, to become a national organization, the United States
Power Squadrons today is a private, self-supporting, non-profit boating safety education organi-
zation with an in-
No other group
can boast of more
dedicated or more
of their time and
resources to edu-
cate each other in
all aspects of boat-
ing, and to pro-
moting the cause
of safe boating President Franklin D. Roosevelt accepting Honorary
Membership in the United States Power Squadrons in 1939.
courses and other civic services.
We hope you will agree that the 2014 100th Anniversary of the United State Power Squadrons is
certainly an occasion worthy of the issuance of a Postal Service commemorative stamp.
Page 9 of 9
Stamp Design Recommendation
Motorboats To The Rescue - 1912: An oil painting by marine artist Donald Demers,
based on the event and magazine articles on the rescue.
1914 - 2014
for 100 years.
The event that brought the power squadron movement to public attention occurred
during the summer of 1912. Twenty vessels of the Boston Yacht Club’s new Power
Boat Division were invited to join forty windjammers on the club’s annual cruise to
Maine. During the cruise a screeching nor'wester blew up causing many sailing
yachts to be dismasted or disabled. The power yachts under Roger Upton's command
went to their rescue, towing disabled craft to port. No loss of life or sail boats was re-
The event was publicized in a six-page article, with accompanying photos of the
rescue boats, in Motorboat Magazine. The author was George Hudson Story, a fea-
ture writer for the Boston Globe. This article stimulated significant publicity for these
Power Boat Division members’ skills
A three-page story in Yachting Magazine and further coverage in Motor Boating
Magazine, generated additional attention. Yacht clubs in New England, the New York
Metropolitan area, and elsewhere began to create their own power squadrons.