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Vessel Safety Checks

15 minutes could save your life and the life of your family


 The most cautious boaters can sometimes experience unexpected problems on the water. That's why the U.S. Coast Guard recommends that all recreational boaters, including personal watercraft and paddle sport users, take advantage of the free Vessel Safety Check program every year.

The Vessel Safety Check (VSC) is performed at your boat whether in a slip, at the launch ramp, or in your driveway by a certified Vessel Examiner, at a mutually − convenient time, and usually takes 30 to 45 minutes, depending upon the size of your boat.


What's In it For Me?

Boats that pass the examination are awarded a distinctive VSC Decal that alerts the Coast Guard, Harbor Patrol and other law-enforcement agencies that your boat was found to be in full compliance with all Federal and State boating laws. Frequently, such agencies will not detain or board boats displaying a current-year decal that are otherwise operating safely.


What if I Don't Pass?

If your boat does not pass, no report is filed. Instead, you are provided a written report that aids you in correcting any discrepancies noted. Often, a quick trip to the local marine chandlery is all that is necessary to obtain missing safety items and easily pass a re-inspection.


Why Do This?

In a word − safety. You are left with the peace of mind that your boat meets minimum safety standards and that in an emergency, you will have the necessary equipment to save lives and summon help. Additionally, you will avoid substantial fines should you ever be boarded by law enforcement and found to be in violation. Finally, your insurance rates may be lowered − check with your agent.


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 result in a citation if your vessel is inspected by the Coast Guard.


Find an Examiner

Have a Courtesy Vessel Safety Check at Your Boat!!

Photo of vessel safety check sign

Both the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and the United States Power Squadrons have certified vessel examiners who will perform a free Vessel Safety Check ("VSC") at your boat, at a time of mutual convenience. There is no charge, and no consequences if you don't pass. Our goal is simply to help make boating as safe as possible for you, your family and your friends, through education. Personal pleasure craft, only (*).

Please fill out the form below, completing every field. We recommend using Microsoft Internet Explorer. Note that we typically can perform the VSC wherever your boat is located, or by mutual arrangement you may bring your boat to our examiner. Note: The correct STREET ADDRESS of the boat or marina’s location is required to find the nearest examiner(s).

You will be contacted by one of up to five volunteer examiners, whose names will be provided in a confirmation email.  Hit SUBMIT when all required fields are complete. The Street Address, City and Zip Code must match, in each case. Do not use a PO Box for the address as it cannot be used to calculate the distance to our volunteers. When you click the Submit button, you will be taken to a new page. If it returns to this page, there is a problem with your information, email, phone or address or if your information is correct, it means there are no volunteer examiners within twenty miles of your location.

Contact Information:

Boat Location:



(*) Please note that a Vessel Safety Check (VSC) is for personal pleasure craft only. This site is not meant to be used to request inspections on commercial boats such as the Six-Pack or Commercial Fishing Vessels. If this is what you are looking for, contact the closest US Coast Guard unit for assistance in getting an inspection. This link will help you find the closest unit: