Why a US Coast Guard Vessel Safety Check is Important!

What Does a US Coast Guard Vessel Safety Check Do For Me?

A US Coast Guard Safety Check is one of the most important things you can do for your boating safety and fun. It can prevent you from getting cited if the Coast Guard checks your boat.

What The Coast Guard Will Check – Requirements

During a free vessel inspection, The Coast Guard Auxiliary representative will check the following and, as applicable, they are required to pass the inspection:

  • Display of Registration Numbers
  • Registration Documentation
  • Personal Flotation Devices
  • Visual Distress Signals
  • Fire Extinguishers
  • Ventilation (as applicable)
  • Backfire Flame (as applicable)

    Coast Guard Vessel Safety Check Sticker
    This Sticker Will be Applied Upon Passing the US Coast Guard Vessel Safety Check
  • Sound Producing Device(s)/Bell
  • Navigation Lights
  • Pollution Placard (as applicable)
  • MARPOL Trash Placard (as applicable)
  • Marine Sanitation Devices (as applicable)
  • Navigation Rules(as applicable)
  • State and/or Local Requirements
  • Overall Vessel Condition
    • Deck Free of Hazards/Clean Bilge
    • Electrical – Fuel Systems
    • Galley – Heating Systems

What The Coast Guard Will Check – Recommended & Discussion Items

In addition to the above required items, the following recommended and discussion items will be reviewed:

  • Marine Radio
  • De-watering Device & Backup 
  • Mounted Fire Extinguishers
  • Anchor & Line for Area
  • First Aid & PIW (Person in Water) Kits
  • Inland Visual Distress Signal
  • Capacity/Certificate of Compliance
  • Discussion Items, as applicable:
    • Accident Reporting – Owner Responsibility
    • Offshore Operations
    • Nautical Charts/Navigation Aids
    • Survival Tips/First Aid
    • Fueling/Fuel Management
    • Float Plan/Weather & Sea Conditions
    • Insurance Considerations
    • Boating Check List
    • Safe Boating Classes
    • Maritime Domain Awareness

What The Most Common Failure Is

I was informed that the most common failure during a Coast Guard Vessel Safety Check is Navigation Lights not functioning. And, quite honestly, that surprised me because functioning navigation lights are one of the most important and cheaply maintained vessel functions. Not only do they protect the boater from collision, they provide visibility for other boaters to avoid collision. By maintaining functioning navigation lights, you’re protecting yourself and other boaters.

How To Get a Coast Guard Vessel Safety Check

If you’d like to get a FREE Coast Guard Vessel Safety Check, just go to The Coast Guard Auxiliary Website and fill out the request form. As I said, it’s free and they will come to you! Get out there, be safe and have fun!

Tight Lines, My Friends!


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