Why Not Be Safe...Get a Free Vessel Safety Check
By Prof. Wayne Spivak
Even as our world has turned upside down by events of last fall, the
new normality of our lives should deepen certain values. 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 youre 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 the
Federal regulations. The Vessel Examiner is a trained specialist and is a member or 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 boater.
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 decal.
your registration (or documentation papers handy).
sure your PFD (personal flotation devices) are in an accessible location and not in the
original plastic bags!
sure your visual distress devices (flares, orange smoke and other pyrotechnic devices) are
not expired. Pyrotechnic devices have a three
(3) year shelf life.
sure your fire extinguishers are a) fully charged, b) sufficient in numbers and
types for your vessel and c) appropriately attached per the label (to be USCG Approved).
sure your horn works, and if your boat requires it, you have a bell.
your navigation lights. Many times the bulbs
26 feet and over require a Pollution and MARPOL placard.
Many times you can get them for free at area marinas and boat stores.
over 39.4 feet require a copy of the Rules of the Road (COLREGs)
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: