Before you set out in your boat, it’s crucial to make sure everything is ready to go. One important part of this is a vessel safety check to ensure all safety equipment required by law is present. Read on to find out more about vessel safety checks if you’re looking at boat rentals.
What does a vessel safety check consist of?
A vessel safety check (VSC) involves an examination of the boat to verify that all the safety equipment required by state and federal law is on board. A volunteer vessel safety check examiner will verify that this equipment is present and may make recommendations to make your boat safer.
Vessels that fail the examination will not receive citations. If the boat passes the check, then the examiner will provide a distinctive VSC decal. This decal shows that your boat has been examined and found to be in compliance with all relevant safety regulations.
Why undergo a VSC?
These checks are completed by the Coast Guard, harbor patrol, police and other boating law enforcement agencies. The examiners are experts and will ensure that your boat is safe and in full compliance with the law. These safety checks are completely free. You also aren’t penalized if the boat fails the safety check. Instead, you will receive a written report that shows how to correct any potential issues.
You get peace of mind by doing a vessel safety check. By doing one, you will know that you and your family will be prepared in the event of an emergency. You have the equipment necessary to save lives and bring in help.
Also, many boating insurance agencies offer discounts for boaters who undergo at least one VSC per year. All decals and safety checks become void on Dec. 31 of the year they were inspected. They also become void if the owner/operator doesn’t maintain the boat equipment or the boat itself to the same standard as verified at the time of the check.
What is examined in a boat safety check?
Whether you’re looking at boat rentals or owning a boat, the items a vessel examiner will check are the same. These include:
- Life jackets appropriately sized for all passengers on board
- Fire extinguishers
- Battery cover and connections
- Navigation lights
- Registration and numbering
- Distress signals like flares and horns
All of these items are required by federal and state laws. If they’re missing or not operational, you could be cited by the Coast Guard or local police. The VSC offers you a risk-free way to have your boat checked now to avoid problems later.
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