Vessel Safety Checks - Peace of Mind for the Boating Season
Date Posted: May 15, 2023
Source: U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary

A Vessel Safety Check from the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and U.S. Power Squadron is a great (& safe) way to start off the summer boating season with peace of mind.


What is a Vessel Safety Check?

A Vessel Safety Check is a no-cost, no-penalty exam of your vessel to verify the presence and condition of the proper safety equipment that you are required to have on board by State & Federal regulations.

The Vessel Safety Check can be performed on your boat at your resident marina or even in your driveway. It usually takes approximately 15 to 30 minutes to complete.


What happens if my boat passes the Vessel Safety Check?

If you pass your check, you get to walk away with peace of mind for the season, that you are in compliance with all regulations and that you have the appropriate safety equipment in case of an emergency. You also get a decal that can be placed on your boat that lets Coast Guard, Harbor Patrol, and other law-enforcement and safety agencies know that your boat was in full compliance with Federal & State boating laws.


What happens if my boat doesn't pass the Vessel Safety Check?

If your boat does not pass, no citations are issued. Instead, you will receive a written report on how to correct any discrepancies. At this point, you will be able to make the corrections and purchase/make present any of the missing equipment that was notated on the report, making you ready for a safe boating season.


What items are checked during a Vessel Safety Check?

Life Jackets

Registration & Numbering

Navigation Lights


Fire Extinguishers

Distress Signals

Battery Covers & Connections


How do I request a Vessel Safety Check?

Fill out the appropriate form from the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, and they will locate the closest examiner within 30 miles of your location. The examiner will then contact you to set up your Vessel Safety Check.



Bonus Tip- Boating insurance agencies may offer discounts for vessels that voluntarily undergo an annual Vessel Safety Check. Check with your insurance company to see if you can take advantage of this potential benefit.


Learn more about Vessel Safety Checks and how to request one for your boat at

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