FREE Vessel Examinations


About Coast Guard Auxiliary Free Vessel Safety Checks:

From the smallest paddlecraft to the largest sea-going vessel, the U.S Coast Guard would like to see all vessels in compliance with equipment carriage requirements and safely operated. If you are uncertain about the Federal, State and Local safety requirements for your boat, one way to make sure you are in compliance is to schedule a Vessel Safety Check (VSC), offered as a free public service by the Volunteers of the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary.

You can get a head start by doing your own “virtual” safety check offered by the Coast Guard Auxiliary at the following link:
This is an excellent way to prepare for an actual Vessel Safety Check.

Also visit the Auxiliary VSC website at:
for information on why boats do not pass the VSC
The main VSC website can be found at:
for additional information including a link to our partners at the Power

Be assured that if your boat does not earn it’s decal for any reason, nothing is reported or written up. The Auxiliary examiner will simply explain to you what your vessel needs so that you can choose to comply by securing the equipment needed.

As a part of "Team Coast Guard" the Auxiliary is the civilian,
uniformed arm of the U.S. Coast Guard and highly trained in Federal, State, and Local laws. All boats do not require the exact same equipment. The Auxiliary examiners know what applies to your boat
and will be happy to discuss and explain if you are uncertain. If this is your first vessel exam, before you meet your vessel examiner, you will be well advised go over the lists below to make the most of your inspection.

Qualified examiners with the Coast Guard Auxiliary will meet you and your boat, or come to your vessel and conduct a courtesy examination of safety equipment carried or installed and certain aspects of the vessel's overall condition. VSC requirements parallel federal and state requirements with regard to equipment and vessel condition. Those vessels that pass will be awarded a VSC decal indicating a successful check along with a copy of the examination. There are several probable perks when your boat wears the VSC sticker.

Be sure to have your boat inspected at the beginning of each boating season to assure you are up to date with all current safety requirements.
What We Check:

Depending on the requirements for your particular boat or paddlecraft,  The items checked during a VSC may be:
  > Navigation Lights
  > Sound producing devices/bell, horn, whistle, etc.
  > Voice communications
  > Life jackets and throwable flotation devices
  > Fire extinguisher(s)
  > Visual distress signals
  > Backfire flame control
  > Overall vessel condition including:
      - electric-fuel systems
      - gally-heating systems
      - deck free of hazards/clean bilge, if applicable
  > Ventilation
  > Proper display of numbers
  > Pollution placard (oily waste discharge if applicable)
  > MARPOL trash placards (garbage dumping restriction if applicable)
  > Marine sanitation devices, if applicable
  > Registration/documentation
  > Navigation Rules book, if applicable
  > State and/or local requirements
  > Capacity Plates
  > Other recommended equipment

While not required on all vessels, the following are also strongly
recommended for most vessels in which they are not required:
  > VHF-FM Marine Radio with Digital Selective Calling System
  > Dewatering Device and Backup
  > Mounted Fire Extinguisher
  > Anchor and Line
  > First Aid Kit
  > Person-in-Water (PIW) Kit

During A Vessel Examination:

During the Vessel Safety Check, the vessel examiner will discuss with the recreational boater the purpose of specific marine safety equipment, will clarify federal and state regulations, will discuss certain safety procedures, and will answer any boating-related questions. Some of the topics discussed are:
  > Accident reporting/owner responsibility
  > Charts and Aids to Navigation
  > Offshore operation
  > Inflatable life rafts
  > Immersion suits
  > Survival tips
  > First Aid
  > Float plans
  > Weather and sear conditions
  > Insurance considerations
  > Fueling and fuel management
  > Boating checklist
  > Availability of boating safety classes
  > America's Waterway Watch

Remember: Mariners whose vessels pass the inspection are awarded a decal that informs the Coast Guard, harbor patrols, sheriffs, police and other boating law enforcement and safety agencies that the mariner’s boat was found to be in full compliance with all federal and state boating laws during a safety check for that year. Additionally, many insurance agencies offer discounts for vessel owners who undergo annual vessel safety checks. The decal colors change each year so remember to stay current to keep your discounts going and boarding’s to a minimum.

If a vessel does not pass the safety check, a citation or notice of violation is NOT issued. Instead, mariners are provided a written report detailing how to correct any discrepancies.

These are the certified vessel examiners of USCGAUX Traverse City Flotilla 26-10. You may contact any one of them to provide you with a FREE vessel safety check.

      Dan Kolgagen
         (231) 421-3441

     Joe Cruzen
         (248) 563-0302

     Mike English
         (231) 499-3863

     Dick Lavanture
         (574) 903-8222

     Linda Kolhagen
         (231) 421-3441

Don’t forget to sign up for our Boating Classes too!
The Flotilla offers safe boating classes given by
Coast Guard Auxiliary certified instructors.