Have a USCG Vessel Safety Check before you shove off!
Like most boaters, you are probably daydreaming about the weekend. We wanted to share with you a way to ensure you have a great time, and potentially avoid being detained too long with a vessel check by the marine police on a day where you would much rather be cruising.
In 1939, Congress establish the Coast Guard Reserve, and just three years later all of the reserves were moved into active duty. They needed support, so the reserve was redesignated the Coast Guard Auxiliary. They are managed by the Coast Guard, and their mission is to support them in three ways:
The Auxiliary is there for administrative support. They will help out with standing watch, maintenance and repairs, and even provide food for the Coast Guard.
They are there for support in Search and Rescues, as well as keeping watch at events like Regattas to make sure everyone is safe and sound.
The Auxiliary is also there to Promote Safety, and they do this in a couple ways, such as their Public Education and Safe Boating Courses. The main thing we wanted to touch on for this topic is their USCG Vessel Safety Checks.
A USCG Vessel Safety Check is meant to give boaters Peace of Mind while they are out on their boat. With a Vessel Safety Check, you can feel comfortable knowing that you are compliant, and that all of your equipment is there and working. The Coast Guard Auxiliary likes to make these checks Fun and Informative for boaters. No information goes back to the government afterwards because it is just a simple check to prevent future citations. A few main things they look for that sometime bring up questions are:
Registration and Documentation- Because sometimes they just don’t make it from the pile of mail on the kitchen table to your boat.
Life Jackets- They like to make sure you have the correct amount and types on board.
Visual Distress Signals and Fire Extinguishers
A Coast Guard Vessel Safety Check is no cost to you, and when you have successfully completed your check, you will receive a sticker that will go on your mast on the port side. The sticker is there to show that you passed a Safety Check and will keep you from being stopped on a beautiful day on the water.