The United States Power Squadrons®
Organized in 1914 by Roger Upton of the Boston Yacht Club, the United States Power Squadrons® (USPS) is the world’s largest private boating organization. USPS was originally an all-male organization, but in 1982 changes were adopted to make the membership ‘genderless’. It is a non-profit, non-military and non-governmental organization of men and women who are socially compatible and have a common appreciation for pleasure boating, whether power or sail. Boat ownership is not a requirement for membership. The objectives of the organization are self-education, civic service, and fraternal boating activities. USPS is strictly a volunteer organization. No member on any level is paid for any squadron service they perform. There are no barriers to membership on grounds of race, religion or ethnic background.
The Grand Rapids Sail and Power Squadron
Grand Rapids Power Squadron (GRSPS) was founded and officially chartered as a unit of the United States Power Squadrons® on 29 April 1940 with George T. Brown as our first Commander. The original group of 32 charter members in 1940 has grown to approximately 178 members. The words “Sail and” were inserted into the name in 2007 in an attempt to clarify the purpose of the organization and to be more inclusive. The squadron is now known as the Grand Rapids Sail and Power Squadron (GRSPS).
Each Squadron in the USPS has its own unique flag called a burgee. The GRSPS burgee was designed by Kreigh Collins formerly the designer and creator of the comic strip ‘Kevin the Bold’ in 1941. The size of the GRSPS burgee has a 19” length (fly) or approximately 1 ½ times the 13” height (hoist). Our burgee has a symbolic meaning. The basic colors are blue, yellow, white and red. The verticle blue and yellow field in the upper left corner represents the signal flag ‘G’ [‘Golf’]. The red field with the yellow cross in the lower left-hand corner represents the signal flag ‘R’ [‘Romeo’]. The letters ‘G’ & ‘R’, represent the words Grand Rapids. The white represents our beautiful Western Michigan sky; the blue waves represent the ‘blue’ water which we all may enjoy because of our proximity to ‘blue’ Lake Michigan. The gold trim along the top and bottom edge of our burgee signify that our squadron is over fifty years old.