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Vessel Safety Check

What is a Vessel Safety Check?

A Vessel Safety Check (VSC) is a courtesy inspection offered by the USCG Auxiliary to help the recreational boating community have safe and enjoyable experiences on the water.  It is free of charge and performed at your boat whether in your slip, boatyard, or driveway.  A vessel safety check usually takes 15 to 30 minutes, depending upon the size of your boat.

What's In it For Me?

Vessels passing safety checks are awarded a U.S. Coast Guard / Auxiliary Decal that informs any interested parties, including law enforcement, that your boat was in full compliance with all Federal and State boating laws during a safety check for that year. Best of all every Vessel Safety Check is 100% Free of charge!

Why Receive a Vessel Safety Check?

Safety! The peace of mind that your boat meets federal safety standards and that in an emergency you will have the necessary equipment to save lives and summon help.

Vessel Safety Checks are also great opportunities to exchange information about local boating conditions, equipment, communications, and safety/rescue procedures.

In many cases boating insurance agencies offer discounts for vessels which undergo a Vessel Safety Check every year. All decals and safety checks are void December 31st of year they are inspected, they are also void should the operator /owner fail to maintain the vessels equipment or the vessel itself to the standard at the time of the safety check.

What Type of Items Are Checked?

  • Life Jackets
  • Registration and numbering
  • Navigation lights
  • Ventilation
  • Fire extinguishers
  • Distress signals (flares, horn, etc.)
  • Battery cover and connections
All of these items are currently required by state and federal laws and, if missing or non-operating, can--at best--result in a citation if your vessel is inspected by law enforcement and--at worst--result in damaged or destroyed property and/or injury or death to you, a guest on your vessel, or other mariners.

What if my boat doesn't pass a VSC?

If your boat does not pass, you are provided a complimentary written report that clearly identifies any discrepancies requiring attention before getting underway.

An inspection failure is not a citation.  However, if you get underway with discrepancies and are inspected by law enforcement (e.g., Harbor and Marine Patrols, State Game Officials, USCG), you may receive a citation.

How Do I Find an Examiner?

Are you ready to get started with on your path to safer boating? Complete the short request form on the National VSC site and click the submit button. We will locate the closest volunteer vessel examiners within 30 miles of your location and request that they contact you and set up a Vessel Safety Check for your boat.