Boating Skills Virtual Trainer

Learn how to dock a boat without getting in the water

How would you like to dock a boat without getting in the water? United States Power Squadrons plans to show you how at the North Carolina Maritime Museum. You’ll have an opportunity to “virtually” maneuver the “Boston Whaler Dauntless 200” on a lake where there are no risks as you approach other boats in meeting, crossing, and overtaking situations.

The United States Power Squadrons has partnered with the North Carolina Maritime Museum to bring a Boating Skills Virtual Trainer for demonstration and use by the public at the Annual Wooden Boat Show.

During the demonstration, visitors will be guided by three LED screens showing an actual Mercury outboard throttle, trim controls, and steering wheel that will allow you to approach and dock your “boat” without fear of damaging anything. There is a working tachometer and speedometer to help manage boat speed. There’s also a working compass to guide you around the lake. The screen will show the dock that the virtual boat is approaching for a landing.

Other boating skill environments include, working with spring lines, departing the dock, mooring, emergency stop, and maneuvering in heavy wind, strong current and day/night situations.

“This is a fun experience for all ages. The three screens give a realistic view as boats and the shoreline pass down the left and right screens. It is not a game, but for serious learners, a wonderful stress-free way to try some maneuvers that won’t scar up the family boat,” said Past Commander “JB” Bagby, public relations officer.

The training unit is funded by a grant from the U.S. Coast Guard. Supporting partners include Brunswick Marine Corporation, BoatUS Foundation, Mercury Marine, Boston Whaler and the National Safe Boating Council.

Fort Macon Sail and Power Squadron is pleased to make the training unit available to the public as a start to National Safe Boating Week sponsored by the NSBC.

To learn the skills necessary to actually get out on the water, the United States Power Squadrons offers boating skills courses and short seminars on a variety of topics. These are taught locally by certified instructors from the Fort Macon Sail and Power Squadron. To locate these and other courses being taught near you, visit and select “Boating Courses and Seminars,” then “Find a Boating Course Near You.” Select “Boating Courses” and enter your ZIP code. You can also contact Educational Officer Ken Link at 252.726.0630, or by email at

The North Carolina Maritime Museum is located at 315 Front Street, Beaufort. 252-504-7440. For more information, visit