The Boat Crew Qualification Program

Surface Operations and the Boat Crew Qualification Program are the heart of many flotilla activities.  Crewmembers and Coxswains are qualified in accordance with the current Auxiliary Boat Crew Training Manual COMDTINST M16794.51A The Coxswain can request and receive orders for a patrol that is multi-mission in nature. Patrols are carried out in accordance with the Auxiliary Operations Policy Manual COMDTINST M16798.3E.


Required Pre-Qualifications:

The following pre-qualifications apply to all trainees:

Basically Qualified (BQ) Status
: Prior to the start of the program, all Trainees must have completed a boating safety course offered by the Auxiliary or U.S. Power Squadrons, and have BQ status within the AuxiliaryYour Boat Crew training builds on this foundation.

FEMA ICS Training:  As Boat Crew, you will be an integral part of the USCG's operations program.  A basic understanding of the Incident Command System, used throughout the nation, is essential.  This training is on/line self study.   You should complete your ICS requirements prior to the start of the training program.

Team Coordination Training (TCT):  TCT is a course developed by the USCG to promote safety by working as a team.  These principles are used extensively in your underway training. Trainees should complete their 4 hour course requirements as soon as practical.

Crewmember Qualification:

Once the Trainee has completed each of the required tasks and has been signed off by their Mentor they will then be tested on their knowledge and skills. This is a two part test that includes an examination of shore side and underway tasks by a Qualifications Examiner.  Once approved by a Qualifications Examiner, an Auxiliary member may be certified by the District Director of Auxiliary (DIRAUX) as a Crewmember in the Boat Crew Program. Crewmembers perform their duties under supervision of a Coxswain.  They stand helm, lookout, towing watches and anchor watch as well as other tasks that may be directed by the Coxswain.

Coxswain Qualification:

A Coxswain will have been trained as a Crewmember and, beyond that, will have mastered additional knowledge and a number of other skills (Auxiliary Boat Crew Qualification Guide, Volume II: Coxswain COMDTINST M16794.53A). Most importantly, a Coxswain will have developed leadership and decision making skills in high stress situations through both experience and training. After approval of knowledge and skills by a Qualifications Examiner, a Coxswain may be certified by the DIRAUX to receive orders for an operational facility (OPFAC).  The operational facility used for a patrol must have been inspected and”offered for use" by completion of the appropriate form. That offer must have been "accepted" by the DIRAUX. Often, but not always, the vessel offered for use belongs to the Coxswain who receives the patrol orders.  

The Coxswain is responsible and in charge of the boat and crew during the patrol for which Coast Guard orders have been issued.  The Coast Guard places great trust in the Coxswain's ability to provide leadership, coordination and risk management skills in the execution of an ordered mission. 

Personal Watercraft - Operator (PWC) Qualification:
An Auxiliarist who meets knowledge and skills performance standards as approved by a PWC Qualifications Examiner may be certified as an Auxiliary Personal Watercraft (PWC) Operator.  These standards are set forth in the (Auxiliary Boat Crew Qualification Guide, Volume III: PWC Operator, COMDTINST M16794.54A).  A PWC Operator  is eligible to receive orders for patrols using a PWC that has been offered for use and accepted as a PWC facility.


Currency Maintenance:

Currency maintenance insures that members maintain their proficiency and ability to safely perform their duties. Coxswains and Crew are required to be underway at least a certain number of hours annually(12), and to perform a set of tasks with a Qualification Examiner every third year.

TeamCoordination Training (TCT):

To enhance and maintain skills inherent to the teamwork needed for safe and well-executed patrols, Crewmembers and Coxswains are required to attend training seminars called "Team Coordination Training."  Updates are required every five years (every two years for Qualification Examiners).  Team Coordination Training stresses six personal skills:  adaptability/flexibility, assertiveness, communication, decision-making, leadership, and situational awareness in order to minimize risk during the execution of tasks during a patrol. 

Orders - Authorization for Patrols:

Orders for facility movement, whether for vessel or aircraft movement, or land mobile radio facility activation and/or movement is one of two general kinds of orders that may be issued to Auxiliarists.  Such orders are considered "assignment to duty."  These orders may be either written or verbal, and may be reimbursable or non-reimbursable. Orders are issued by an "Order Issuing Authority" or OIA, which is usually a Group or Sector. (Small Boat Stations are not OIAs.) Auxiliarists may not use any facility or special purpose facility for any Coast Guard or Coast Guard Auxiliary purpose or mission unless appropriate patrol orders have been issued and the facility has been properly offered and accepted for use.  The Patrol Order Management System (POMS) is the mandatory method of issuing patrol orders to operational facilities.  This system is an online web-based tool.   An OIA must issue or authorize orders before an Auxiliary Member conducts any patrol activity.