Fort Worth Sail & Power Squadron

USPS/USCGAux
Vessel Safety Check Program

About the Vessel Safety Check Program

The Vessel Safety Check Program is a joint venture between the USPS and the US Coast Guard Auxiliary. The USCGAux has been conducting their Courtesy Marine Exam for many years for folks who would like to have a trained eye examine their boat to be sure it meets all federal and state safety requirements.  This exam is conducted at no charge.  It is not a requirement for the operation of a boat and has no legal implications, but serves only to increase the peace of mind of the owner and his or her guests.

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 of the United States 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.

How to Get an Exam

We sometimes schedule public events ahead of time on area lakes (see our calendar), but you may also contact us for an individual exam.  The VSC program also maintains a searchable list of examiners.  You just enter your zip code and a search radius, and it returns the contact information for examiners in your area.

The Coast Guard Auxiliary maintains an excellent web site for the public.  There you can find a page with a thorough description of what we look for, including photos, at http://safetyseal.net/what_is_vsc.asp.  There is a copy of the checklist we use, so you can do a preliminary check on your own

Examiners

Vessel Examiners complete a training course, then are required to perform an exam on five boats to be certified.  Examiners must perform five exams per year to maintain their qualification status.

Examiners can access more info on this site.

 
The following represents a sampling of 100650 Vessel Safety Checks.

74.873% Passed the VSC
25.127% Failed the VSC
 
Items that Failed: (Note: This is a percentage of ALL vessels examined and some had two or more items that failed so these numbers will not add up to 100%.)
 
Display of Numbers
  5.435%
Registration / Documentation
  5.574%
Personal Flotation Devices
  2.832%
Visual Distress Signals
  12.221%
Fire Extinguishers
  4.501%
Ventilation
  1.451%
Backfire Flame Control
  1.639%
Sound Producing Devices / Bell
  5.156%
Navigation Lights
  8.465%
Pollution Placard
  2.375%
MARPOL Trash Placard
  2.802%
Marine Sanitation Device
  2.921%
Navigation Rules
  2.742%
State and/or Local Regulations
  10.432%
Overall Vessel Condition
  4.670%
 
Recommended Items not Found: (Note: These items are not required to pass the VSC.)
 
Marine Radio
  33.433%
Dewatering Device & Backup
  14.347%
Mounted Fire Extinguishers
  21.570%
Anchor & Line for Area
  11.257%
First Aid and PIW Kits
  27.928%
Inland Visual Distress Signals
  24.252%
Capacity / Cert. of Compliance
  28.246%
Discussion Items
  a. Accident Reporting / Owner Responsibility
  b. Offshore Operations
  c. Nautical Charts / Navigation Aids
  d. Survival Tips / First Aid
  e. Fueling / Fuel Management
  f. Float Plan / Weather & Sea Conditions
  g. Insurance Considerations
  h. Boating Check List
  i. Safe Boating Classes
  14.704%

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