Where Did We Come From?

Ironically, it was sailors who founded the United States Power Squadrons!


At the turn of the 20th century power craft were coming into vogue as yachts, but had no clubs or organization that sailors had, what, with their prestigious yacht clubs which had no room for stink potters, as the smoke-belching craft were known. (Don’t worry, sailors were called rag haulers.)

Then, one auspicious day in 1914, the Boston Yacht Club was holding a regatta when a nasty nor’eater ripped through the fleet, tearing sails, dismasting many, causing havoc among the sailors. To the rescue came the stink potters who took the incapacitated sail boats in tow and returned all safely home. As a result, the club formed a division specifically for power craft and with the purpose of learning the nautical lore that yachtsmen enjoyed. The idea spread to the New York Yacht Club and beyond. Soon, an independent organization was formed and grew to some 300 squadrons across the country. In fact, USPS is the largest non-profit boating organization in the nation dedicated to the enjoyment of sail and power boating through education and safety.

The Squadrons became known for nautical education and even for instructing naval cadets during both World Wars, earning the praise of President Roosevelt. We have highly professional and all-inclusive courses from the basic to the celestial and anything in between. Instructors are trained members. After a hiatus during World War Two, our squadron, the San Diego Sail & Power Squadron, continues to serve the San Diego boating community.

But, it’s not all courses: We engage in community services activities, such the Vessel Safety Program. Our sailors hold Sail Fleet races and power craft owners hone their skills in Predicated Log races. After these races, there are “results gatherings” at a yacht club. Local cruises are arranged, usually with the Oceanside squadron, San Luis Rey SPS. A favorite get together is rafting up. Also, we hold bi-monthly membership meetings featuring a speaker or a boating presentation, and District meetings with our neighboring squadrons.