Slideshow and Curriculum

Chapter 3 - Watercraft 101


For this module you will need:

  • Watercraft 101 PowerPoint presentation
  • Boat models, if available
  • Boat(s) ready for outdoor boat anatomy session
  • Key to “Name That Boat Game”


The purpose of this module is to ensure inspectors know where to look on watercraft for AIS and are knowledgeable about boat terminology.  This is important because most inspectors are not ‘boat people’ when they are hired.  This module is also critical to set the students up for success in the subsequent inspection module.  The watercraft module is divided into three activities:

  1. Presentation on watercraft
    1. Boat Terminology
    2. Watercraft Risk Assessment
    3. Boat Anatomy – Where Do We Look
    4. Name that Boat Game
    5. Three unique complex watercraft – Ballast, PWC, Pontoon
    6. Boat Compendium for ANS Inspectors
  2. Outdoo session on boat anatomy (usually done between ‘c’ and ‘d’ in presentation)
  3. Group activity - repeat

In this module, we focus on general boat anatomy and terminology.  At the same time, we start to gain detail on watercraft risk.  The presentation has several different portions that break up the information into smaller learnable segments.  The presentation is reinforced with an outdoor session in which the concept of H.E.A.D. is introduced for the first time.  The module is concluded with a group session in which the students have an opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned, and ask questions.


PowerPoint Presentation –Watercraft 101

The presentation for this module is quite long and therefore time management is essential.  The beginning of this slideshow is extremely important, as it methodically introduces the students to boats for the first time.  The presentation begins with an overview of boat terminology focused on the places most likely to have mussel attachment or standing water.  This is a great time to use boat models to show the class visually while presenting.  Focus on the areas of the watercraft that can hold standing water and remind the students what they learned in the biology module about veligers and other AIS being microscopic or small enough to be transported in standing water.  Introduce the importance of the bilge plug – asking the boater to pull it during inspection; having the boater put it in before launch, instructing inspect everythingthe boater to leave it out during transport.  The beginning slides also cover marine propulsion systems.  It is important that students know the physical difference between trolling motors, outboards, inboard/outboard and inboard engines, in addition to their abilities to transport AIS. 


Next, the presentation reviews the watercraft risk assessment, defines simple and complex boats and explains hand-launched, non-motorized watercraft.  It is important that students learn these differences by definition at this point so they can flow through the inspection risk assessment and Activity Log coming up in the next module on inspection protocol.


In the third section, the trainer will quickly go through the “where do we look?” section of the slideshow.  These slides are arranged in the order of H.E.A.D.  The trainer should also conduct the outdoor session in the order of H.E.A.D.  By doing this module in that order, it will be much easier for inspectors to follow the step-by-step inspection procedure in the next module because they will already be practiced moving around a watercraft in that order.


The fourth portion of the slideshow is the “Name That Boat Game”.  The purpose is to reinforce watercraft risk types, marine propulsion systems and hand-launch/simple/complex/very complex definitions, by allowing the students to demonstrate module knowledge.  This is a really fun way to engage the class and evaluate what they have learned.  The trainer sballasthould flip through the slides with no commentary and allow students to write down answers in their curriculum books. Once everyone is done, the trainer should go back and review the answers.  Students can grade themselves.


Lastly, the presentation covers the three types of complex watercraft that are unique and inspectors often find challenging – ballast boats, pontoons, and PWCs.  Ballast boats are built so that they don’t pump dry.  Tell them we will talk about how we mitigate that risk in the inspection and decontamination procedures modules.  Just let them know they are a challenge and why at this point.  Begin to convey the concept of unverifiable standing water.  There are a lot of good things about pontoons in that they trailer high, accessible underneath, motor down during transport, etc.  But in rare cases pontoons can be challenging because they have lots of dark, wet nooks and crannies; and damaged pontoons can leak and hold standing water with no method for draining or decontamination.  PWC are a higher risk than originally thought because they can move a lot of water, some have ballast, they use jet engines, and the inspector must remove cover.  Go over inspection process for PWC in boat compendium.  It provides a great segue into the Boat Compendium. 


Quickly show the students the Boat Compendium pages and tell them the chapters are arranged by manufacturers and this is essentially a reference document for inspectors.  They should read it and use it.  Let them know the graphics were provided by the manufacturers and the chapters were approved by them.  Also, introduce the inspector survey and explain how the program staff created the book to serve the requests of the inspectors that year.


Outdoor Session – Boat Anatomy

The purpose is to reinforce the presentation by showing the students the parts on a boat and allowing them to touch the boat, compare parts, and look at them closely. 


The group activity is honestly one of the easiest and requires no prep in advance.  Take a group of students to a boat outside and go through the anatomy pointing out the important parts of the watercraft.  Begin at the bow with the hull and proceed through in the same order you would inspect a boat – port side of hull and trailer then starboard.  Next transom, then engine….  Use the correct terminology (e.g. port, not left).  Be sure all students see the boat and know what you are talking about (e.g. point and touch the part directly). Begin moving the students around the watercraft in the order of the step-by-step inspection procedure.  Reinforce repeatability.


Do not get lost in the inspection procedure or triggers for decontamination in this activity.  Teachers should be saying “this is this” and “that is that” and no more.  Let the students learn the anatomy of a boat, and the terminology at this point, without overloading them with procedures yet to come.


Group Activity – Repeat

The watercraft module is concluded with an opportunity for students to share what th

ey have learned, and for instructors to evaluate if students understand the important concepts.  Engage the class in a brief facilitated session in which students tell instructors one place on a boat that they need to look for AIS.  Write these down on a flip chart and post them on the wall for the duration of the class.  This time should also be used for questions and answers before moving onto the next module.

pointing to plug

Trainer pointing out the bilge plug during the boat anatomy session.














Students should learn the following in the watercraft module:

  • Boat Terminology and Anatomy
    • Identify the key parts of a boat by name; know where they are located and their functions
    • Identify marine propulsion systems and understand how they can transport AIS
  • Watercraft Risk Assessment
    • Know what a hand-launched, non-motorized watercraft is
    • Know the definition of a simple boat
    • Know the definition of a complex and very complex boat
    • Understand why biological risk is related to watercraft complexity
    • Identify different types of watercraft (e.g. ski boat, wakeboard, cabin cruiser, etc.)
  • Understand why ballast boats, pontoons and PWCs can be more challenging for inspectors and how they are capable of moving AIS.