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VOL. 10 NO. 2
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Vessel safety checks

Is your boat ready for the season?

Vessel safety checks

As we approach the start of the boating season, it’s a good time to prepare for and schedule your vessel safety check.

A VSC typically takes 15 to 30 minutes to complete, depending on your boat’s size and type. When your boat passes all inspection categories, you will know that it meets the minimum safety requirements. A current VSC decal shows the U.S. Coast Guard that your boat had the required equipment when the VSC was conducted.

If your boat does not pass the VSC, you will receive a written report advising you of what needs to be corrected.

A successful VSC gives you peace of mind knowing that your boat meets federal safety standards and that in an emergency you will have necessary equipment aboard to assist in saving lives or summoning help. You will also avoid substantial fines should you ever be boarded by the Coast Guard.

Some marine insurance companies offer discounts for boats that successfully complete a VSC. Decals are valid only for the calendar year in which they are issued and become void should the operator/owner fail to maintain the vessel’s equipment or the vessel itself.

Items checked during a VSC include

  • Boat registration number
  • Registration/documentation papers
  • Personal flotation devices
  • Visual distress signals
  • Fire extinguishers
  • Ventilation
  • Backfire flame control
  • Sound producing devices/bell
  • Navigation lights
  • Pollution placard
  • MARPOL trash placard
  • Marine sanitation devices
  • Navigation rules

A boat must also meet the requirements of the state in which it is being examined to pass the VSC.

Visit the USCG website for a more detailed list of VSC requirements, or schedule a vessel safety check now.
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