U.S. Boaters who want to ensure that their boat complies with safety requirements are encouraged to get a free vessel safety check. Whether you are a sailor or some other boat user, this is merely a courtesy extended by the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, who will offer an evaluation - there is no law enforcement issue involved.
Coast Guard Auxiliary in a training exercise - now offering free safety evaluations
In fact, the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary advises boaters to be safe by getting a free vessel safety check. Boat safety is important for boaters of all ages and vessels of all sizes. The best way to know a vessel has all the appropriate safety gear is to receive a Vessel Safety Check (VSC).
The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary provides free vessel safety checks for power watercraft users, sailors, or kayakers, and all non-commercial boaters, passenger vessels and commercial fishing vessels.
For more information, go to www.safetyseal.net.
What is a Vessel Safety Check?
A Vessel Safety Check is a courtesy examination of your boat to verify the presence and condition of certain safety equipment required by state and federal regulations.
The vessel examiner is a trained specialist and U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary member who will make certain recommendations and discuss safety issues to help individuals become safer boaters.
The check is not a boarding or law enforcement issue. Citations are not given to boat owners however owners will be given a copy of the evaluation so they may follow the suggestions provided.
Vessels that pass will be able to display the distinctive VSC decal. This does not provide exemption from law enforcement boarding, but you can be prepared to make this a positive encounter.
During a vessel safety check, boat owners will need to have:
• registration or documentation papers ready.
• personal flotation devices in an accessible location and not in the original plastic bags.
• current visual distress devices such as flares, orange smoke and other pyrotechnic devices that have not expired. Pyrotechnic devices have a three year shelf life.
• fire extinguishers fully charged, sufficient in numbers and types for your vessel, and appropriately attached per the label (to be USCG Approved).
• horn in good working order and if required, a bell.
• navigation lights in good working order.
Boats 26 feet and longer require a pollution and MARPOL placard. These may be available at area marinas and boat stores.
Vessels more than 39.4 feet require a copy of the Rules of the Road (COLREGs).
To receive a free Vessel Safety Check, go to www.safetyseal.net/want_vsc.asp