why not be safe!
Get a Free Vessel Safety Check
by Wayne Spivak, US Coast Guard Auxiliary, Freeport Flotilla
For boaters of all ages and all size vessels, safety of your
family and friends, who boat with you, should be all important. What
better way to know that your vessel has all the appropriate safety gear, then
with a Vessel Safety Check (VSC).
Whether you're a PWC user or a sailor, power boater or kayaker, the
US Coast Guard Auxiliary provides
free Vessel Safety Checks for all
non-commercial boaters (there are also programs for un-inspected
passenger vessels and commercial fishing vessels).
From the official VSC web site (http://www.safetyseal.net):
What is a Vessel Safety Check (VSC)?
A Vessel Safety Check is a courtesy examination of your
boat (Vessel) to verify the presence and condition of
certain safety equipment required by State and Federal
regulations. The Vessel Examiner is a trained specialist and
is a member of the US Power Squadrons or the US Coast Guard
Auxiliary. They will also make certain recommendations and
discuss certain safety issues that will make you a safer
This is not boarding or a law enforcement issue. No citations will
be given as a result of this encounter. We will supply you with a
copy of our evaluation so that you may follow some of the
suggestions given. Vessels that pass will be able to display our
distinctive VSC decal. This does not exempt you from law enforcement
boarding, but you can be prepared to make this a positive encounter.
Here are suggestions to speed you along to getting the coveted VSC
1. Have your registration or documentation papers handy.
2. Make sure your PFDs (personal flotation devices) are in an
accessible location and not in the original plastic bags!
3. Make sure your visual distress devices (flares, orange smoke and
other pyrotechnic devices) have not expired. Pyrotechnic
devices have a three (3) year shelf life.
4. Make sure your fire extinguisher's are a) fully charged, b)
sufficient in numbers and types for your vessel, and c) appropriately
attached per the label (to be USCG Approved).
5. Make sure your horn works, and if your boat requires it, you have
6. Check your navigation lights. Many times the bulbs blow.
7. Boats 26 feet and over require a Pollution and MARPOL placard.
Many times you can get them for free at area marinas and boat
8. Vessels over 39.4 feet require a copy of the Rules of the Road
How do you get a Vessel Safety Check? You can go to the
following Web Sites on Long Island: Freeport Flotilla 13-06 at
http://www.freeportflotilla1306.org, or the USCG Auxiliary
National Vessel Safety Check web site: