Boating Safety News

Federal Requirements for Recreational Boats: Vessel Safety Check Program

Introduction

          <p>The mission of the Coast Guard Recreational Boating        Safety program is to minimize the loss of life, personal injury, property        damage and environment impact associated with the use of recreational        vessels through preventive means. The VSC program supports one of the        program's key goals: to improve the demonstrated knowledge, skills,        abilities and behaviors of boaters. </p>       <p>The VSC is not a boarding or law enforcement issue. No        citations will be given as a result of this encounter. The boater will be        given a copy of the completed evaluations so that the boater may follow        some of the suggestions given. Vessels that pass will be able to display        the distinctive VSC decal. This does not exempt the boater from law        enforcement boarding, but the boater can be prepared to make this a        positive encounter.</p>       <p><b>What is a Vessel Safety Check?</b></p>       <p>A Vessel Safety Check (VSC) is a FREE check to boaters        who wish to be sure that their vessel meets all federal and state        equipment requirements. Vessel Examiners performing this service have been        trained to look for some of the more common problems, which might occur on        vessels or their associated safety equipment. The items checked are: </p>       <ul><li>Proper Display of Numbers</li>         <li>Registration/Documentation</li>         <li>Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs)</li>         <li>Visual Distress Signals (VDS)</li>         <li>Fire Extinguishers</li>         <li>Ventilation</li>         <li>Backfire Flame Arrestor</li>         <li>Sound Producing Devices/Bell</li>         <li>Navigation Lights</li>         <li>Pollution Placard</li>         <li>MARPOL Trash Placards</li>         <li>Marine Sanitation Device</li>         <li>Navigation Rules</li>         <li>State and/or Local Requirements</li>         <li>Overall Vessel Condition</li>       </ul><p>       <img src="http://www.marinewaypoints.com/learn/FedReqs/images/2006-VSC-Logo2.jpg" alt="Vessel Safety Check decal" align="right" width="150" height="155" />If        the vessel has all the required items (listed above) on board and are in        good working order, the vessel examiner will award a VSC decal to affix to        the vessel.</p>              <p><b>Additional Safety Equipment</b></p>              <ul><li>Marine Radio </li>         <li>Dewatering Device & Backup</li>         <li>Mounted Fire Extinguishers </li>         <li>Anchor and Line for Area </li>         <li>First Aid and Person-In-Water Kit (PIW)<br />Note: PIW consists of one extra wearable PFD and a throwable type IV PFD          with line <br />Inland Visual Distress Signals</li>         <li>Capacity/Certification of Compliance</li>       </ul><p>Note: The above items not required for the award of        the Vessel Safety Check decal.</p>       <p><b>Boating Safety Education</b></p>       <p>During the Vessel Safety Check, the vessel examiner        will discuss with the recreational boater the purpose of specific marine        safety equipment, will clarify various federal and state regulations, will        discuss certain safety procedures practices, and will answer any boating        related questions. Some of the topics discussed are: </p>       <ul><li>Accident Reporting/Owner Responsibility </li>         <li>Charts and Aids to Navigation</li>         <li>Offshore Operations </li>         <li>Survival Tips </li>         <li>First Aid </li>         <li>Float Plans </li>         <li>Weather and Sea Conditions</li>         <li>Fueling and Fuel Management </li>         <li>Boating Checklist </li>         <li>Availability of Boating Safety Classes </li>       </ul><p><b>For Further Information</b></p>       <p>To get your vessel "Safety Checked" or for more information on the        Vessel Safety Check program, contact your local U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary        or U.S. Power Squadron member or visit the       <a target="_blank" href="http://www.safetyseal.net/" rel="noopener">Vessel Safety Check        web site</a>.</p>       <p>Remember!</p>       <p>This is a FREE public service provided in the interest        of Boating Safety... </p>       <p><a href="http://www.marinewaypoints.com/learn/FedReqs/index.shtml">Federal Requirements Home</a><br /><a href="http://www.marinewaypoints.com/learn/FedReqs/equipment.shtml">Federal Equipment Requirements Home</a></p>

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