As we approach the upcoming boating season, the U.S. Coast Guard reminds ALL recreational boaters that one of the most important steps you can take to be safe on the water is to get a Vessel Safety Check (VSC). As the owner and operator, it is your responsibility to ensure the safety of your boat by having a free bow to stern check of your boat by a qualified member of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary or United States Power Squadrons or your state boating agency’s vessel examiner every year.
“A Vessel Safety Check is the prudent way to ensure that you and your family can enjoy a day of safe boating.” says Mr. Jeff Hoedt, Chief of the U.S. Coast Guard Office of Boating Safety. “You can also learn about potential problems that might put you in violation –or worse create possible danger for you and your families when on the water.”
Vessel Safety Checks are customized for various size powerboats, personal watercraft (PWCs), sailboats, and even kayaks, canoes and rowboats. A Vessel Examiner will meet you at your boat and will check the presence and condition of approximately fifteen items required by state and federal regulations. Additionally, they will discuss items that are recommended but not required and answer questions on boating safety. At the conclusion you will receive a copy of the VSC form and a VSC decal if you successfully meet all of the requirements.
Some of the items that will be checked are; Display of Numbers, Registration/Documentation; Life Jackets (PFDs), Visual Distress Signals, Fire Extinguishers, Ventilation, Backfire Flame Control, Sound Producing Devices, and Navigation Lights. For more details on Vessel Safety Checks and information on how to set up an appointment with your local Vessel Examiner, visit www.VesselSafetyCheck,org.or call the U.S. Coast Guard Infoline at 800-368-5647 to request a free copy of Federal Requirements & Safety Tips for Recreational Boaters.
For information from the recreational boating community, sign on to receive the Coast Guard’s Office of Boating Safety’s monthly electronic newsletter, Waypoints, at www.uscgboating.org/waypoints/.
The U.S. Coast Guard is asking all boat owners and operators to help reduce fatalities, injuries, property damage, and associated healthcare costs related to recreational boating accidents by taking personal responsibility for their own safety and the safety of their passengers. Essential steps include always wear a life jacket and require passengers to do the same; never boat under the influence (BUI) of alcohol and drugs; successfully complete a boating safety course; and get a Vessel Safety Check (VSC) annually from local U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, United States Power Squadrons, or your state boating agency’s vessel examiners. The U.S. Coast Guard reminds all boaters, "You're in Command. Boat Responsibly!"
For more information on boating responsibly, go to www.USCGboating.org or call the U.S. Coast Guard Infoline at 800-368-5647.