The St. Clair Shores Sail & Power Squadron offers various classes on different topics, including hurricane preparation, engine maintenance and navigation.

The St. Clair Shores Sail & Power Squadron offers various classes on different topics, including hurricane preparation, engine maintenance and navigation.

Photo provided by Matt Grafton

Local United States Power Squadrons ready for boating season

By: Jonathan Szczepaniak | C&G Newspapers | Published June 22, 2022


MACOMB COUNTY — It’s that time of the year.

As the summer nights kick in and the temperature welcomes boaters to the lake, it’s important to understand the safety measures that each boater is responsible to abide by when venturing out.

A safe start is making sure your vessel is up to date with both state and federal regulations, and one nonprofit has made safe boating its primary mission.

United States Power Squadrons, America’s Boating Club, founded in 1914, has prided itself on just that.

“It’s like a boat club that promotes boater safety,” said Matt Grafton, who runs the St. Clair Shores Sail & Power Squadron. He said the group has continued, along with 450 other squadrons, to encourage boater safety by offering classes in navigation, piloting, and engine maintenance.

Each squadron works in cohesiveness with other local squadrons and the U.S Coast Guard Auxiliary. Local squadrons in the C & G Newspapers coverage area are Grosse Pointe, Mount Clemens, Birmingham, and Anchor Bay.

While memberships — which cost $81 for one person and $133.50 for a family in St. Clair Shores — can allow members to gain extensive knowledge about vessels, the squadrons offer a free-of-charge vessel safety inspection. Membership rates vary depending on the squadron.

Vessel inspections are available for nonmembers and can be scheduled over the phone.

Within a week, a trained specialist will be ready to examine your vessel. While the examiner will be a part of the squadron or the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, no citations will be given if certain safety measures are not met.

Specialists are there to make recommendations and offer certain ideas on potential safety issues. The checklist will consist of registration and vessel numbers, navigation lights, anchor and line, life jackets, fire extinguishers etc. The full list can be found at

“We do a lot of crawling around and looking around at things,” Grafton said. “We’re very thorough.”

The inspection takes on average 45 minutes.

If cleared, boaters will be given a sticker recognized by the U.S Coast Guard as an owner of a vessel that complies with all state and federal regulations.

It’s an incentive offered in hope of attracting more boaters to ensure their vessel is properly equipped with all safety equipment.

Squadrons also offer boater safety classes, boat handling classes, hurricane preparation seminars, and much more.

“We just want to promote safe boating,” said Pam Homer, secretary of the Mount Clemens Power Squadron. “We want people to take classes; that’s what we really want.”

All classes available to members can be found on a local squadron’s website. Find your local squadron at

Members also have access to membership meetings and the annual commander’s ball, as well.