Vessel Safety Checks

Vessel Safety Checks

Contact us to schedule a free check of your vessel.  A qualified Vessel Examiner will contact you to setup a free appointment.  If you pass you will be awarded a safety sticker. 

Check your vessel yourself:

  1. Use either the online Virtual Vessel Examiner tool (Flash)
  2. Print the exam checklist (pdf) to see what a Vessel Examiner will look for on your vessel. 

Still have questions about Vessel Safety Checks? See the Vessel Safety Check website for more information.

Vessel Safety Check EmblemWere you aware that you can receive a free Vessel Safety Check (VSC) of your boat (motor, sail, canoe or kayak) without risk or obligation? This valuable service is provided by specially trained members of the Coast Guard Auxiliary. Throughout the area, there are trained and qualified Vessel Examiners ready to help ensure your boat is in tip-top safety condition.

A VSC is a free and voluntary check of your boat and its safety equipment. Auxiliarists help educate the boater through a direct, face-to-face boating safety information exchange with the owner or operator and provide instructions on equipment to be carried on board and other matters affecting safety. Federal and local regulations and Auxiliary VSC requirements are explained as well as other matters of interest. The VSC is performed only with the specific consent of the owner/operator, who is present at the time of the examination.


A VSC is performed mainly on pleasure vessels less than 65 feet in length and on certain commercial vessels which are not inspected or certified by the Coast Guard. Auxiliary VSC requirements parallel Federal regulations with regard to equipment to be carried aboard and general condition of the boat.  The check lists used by the Vessel Examiner are available.  You do not need to print these, as the Examiner will bring them. 

What's the incentive for you to have a VSC performed on your boat? Well, besides the obvious feeling of satisfaction in knowing your boat is safe and prepared, the boat displaying the Coast Guard Auxiliary "Seal of Safety " on its port windshield signals to the boating world that a responsible skipper cares about having a safe boat. While there is no guarantee, often the Marine Patrol, local marine sheriff and Coast Guard personnel will pass up a boat with a current VSC decal when conducting routine boarding's. Your passengers will know that your boat meets Federal and State safety equipment requirements.

Compare and Save

Vessel Safety Check by COAST GUARD AUXILIARY
Inspection by U.S. Coast Guard, Marine Patrol or Sheriff

Average Fine Imposed for EACH Violation
Violation Coast Guard Marine Patrol Sheriff USCG Auxiliary
Personal Flotation Device (ea) $150 $35 $35 $0
Fire Extinguisher $150 $35 $35 $0
Visual Distress Signals $100 $35 $35 $0
Numbering $50 $35 $35 $0
Horn/Whistle $50 $35 $35 $0
Bell (>20m) $50 $35 $35 $0
Navigation Lights $100 $35 $35 $0

Remember to BOAT SAFE:

Bring plenty to eat and drink – avoid dehydration.
Operate the boat in a safe and responsible manner.
Always wear a life jacket.
Take a boating safety course.

Sun, wind and temperatures can be more of a factor than boaters think.
Annual courtesy vessel safe check.
File a float plan – leave it with someone who will take action if overdue.
Evaluate the readiness of operating crew and passengers – it's ok to not get underway when there's doubt.