So in the near future everyone who drives a boat will have to take a free class offered by boats US, the link is here: http://www.boatus.org/california/
This class takes about four hours if I remember correctly.
But in addition since I work at a facility that does scientific diving, we were also required to take a MOCC course, it's the motorboat Operator Certification Course. The course was designed by the us dept of the interior and is used to train USCG and US fish and wildlife employees but also other entities. When I got the manual https://www.usf.edu/research-innovation/research-integrity-compliance/documents/boating/mocc-student-manual.pdf
I thought I would be super bored like a lot of other training I have to do. The class is about 4 days, 8 hours each day with 3 to 1 students/instructor ratio. It turned out the class was one of the best things I've ever done. It's expensive at around 500 per person I think but my work paid for it as it was part of our full time Aquarist program. A lot of it was developed after a horrific accident at UC davis where several students and faculty died on a boat accident in the Sea of Cortez.
We covered things from knots that you would use regularly boating, to testing out pfds and rescues. We did a lot of on the water boat maneuvering like nosing the boat bow to a tight spot on a landing, having one person jump off and then securing the bow and using the engine to pull the stern alongside, 45 degree docking and a bunch of other stressful maneuvers for tight areas. We did high speed turns on a course, and MOB retrievals. I've run boats for about 35 years and I was amazed at how much I took for granted. Even simple launching was covered pretty thoroughly like the reason for chain crossing and the steps you should be doing when you launch your boat.
Because we do a lot of dives for specimens one of the focuses was having a float plan where you let someone know where you are going, timing etc. It's way more involved than that because there was also risk assessment but you get the idea, I can't even go over everything that I learned because it was pretty immense.
At any rate, you guys should look at taking the free boats us course for now and if they open up the MOCC course to everyone I'll let you guys know. It's not as thorough as a captains course for sure but it sure was eye opening.