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U. S. Coast Guard Auxiliaries: Offers free Vessel Safety Checks

Ah, springtime, the doorway to summer fun.

On Mar. 20, we can say farewell to a harsh winter and hello to spring. Now is the time for recreational boat and watercraft owners to ensure their vessels are in compliance with all boating laws, including vessel safety checks.

Vessel Safety Checks (VSCs) are similar to automobile safety checks that responsible vehicle owners have done on their vehicles by a certified mechanic prior to taking a road trip. Likewise, VSCs are annual safety checks performed for free by certified vessel examiners to ensure vessels are safe, and in compliance with boating laws prior to launching on coastal waterways. This service covers all recreational boats, jet skis, sea-doo, quadskis, and aqua-quads to name a few watercrafts.

The examiner will confirm such necessities as proper location of hull identification numbers, and the attachment of waterproof contact information labels on watercrafts. As well as, ensure appropriate flotation devices, first aid kit, fire extinguishers, sound-producing devices, visual-distress signals, dock lines and other equipments are onboard in accordance with laws concerning passenger capacity and the type of vessel.

A U.S. Coast Guard/Auxiliary VSC Decal is awarded to vessels that pass the safety check. Otherwise, vessels without current-year VSC Decals maybe subject to detention and citations from active-duty Coast Guard, Harbor Patrol or other U.S. waterway law-enforcement officials. The only way to avoid these situations is to be in compliance with boating and waterway laws. Learn more about VSCs and find an Examiner.

Further, it is recommended that all powerboat owners take the Boating Skills and Seamanship Course which meet Federal and State requirements. Also, courses are available for owners of personal watercrafts, paddle and sail boats. Find out about these courses at the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary Website for Auxiliary Public Boating Courses.

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