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Safe at Sea: What is a U.S. Coast Guard Vessel Safety Check?

By Staff | Jun 6, 2018


The reason to have a Vessel Safety Check is to assure the safety of you and your passengers in the event of an emergency at sea. Remember, if something goes wrong while you are at sea, it is too late to start checking your safety gear or familiarizing yourself with your vessel’s systems and its operating condition.

It is a free examination of your vessel’s equipment for compliance with federal, state and local marine safety requirements. When your boat is judged to be in compliance by a certified vessel examiner, an official USCG decal will be placed on the port side of your boat’s superstructure.

Some of the items that will be checked are:

– Proper display of numbers

– Registration/documentation certificates

– Life jackets

– Visual distress signals

– Fire extinguishers

– Backfire flame control devices (inboard gas engines)

– Sound producing equipment

– Navigation lights

– State and local requirements

– Overall vessel condition

Other miscellaneous items checked for vessels over 40 feet may include: waste management plan, signed by captain; navigation rules; throwing floating device at ready; battery terminals covered; and a Vessel Safety Check for a dinghy.

During the vessel examination there is an opportunity to discuss various aspects of your boat’s safety profile in the context of the way in which your boating is done and where you are likely to go.

This includes: radio equipment; Digital Select Calling capability; charts and aids to navigation; survival tips; fueling and fuel management; float plans; weather and sea conditions; connection of GPS and DSC; and various educational options.

America’s Boating Club of Sanibel-Captiva offers a team of certified vessel examiners with extensive experience. All you need do is call us and we will arrange to meet you at your boat at an agreed time and place. Should a compliance problem arise, your examiner will make a follow-up visit to confirm correction and then issue the decal.

To make an appointment, contact any of the follows members:

– John Carney, 239-395-1767

– Bob Healey, 239-466-4169

– John Plumb, 608-358-3353

– Richard Squitieri, 570-762-7057

For more information, contact 239-985-9472 or “mailto:Commander@SanibelCaptivaSPS.org”>Commander@SanibelCaptivaSPS.org.

Joanne Heroy-Giller is a member of America’s Boating Club of Sanibel-Captiva.