Safety Committee Policy & Operating Guide


Safety Committee Operating & Policy Guide




 The Safety Committee's Mission: Minimize the loss of life, personal injury, property damage and environmental impact while maximizing the safe use and enjoyment of U.S. waterways by recreational boaters. The Safety process is one of “prevention through education, outreach and volunteer compliance” helping recreational boaters to gain a respect for the boating environment. The Safety Committee pursues their mission aggressively through the Vessels Safety Check (VSC) program and cooperation with government and industry partners in promoting safety related initiatives. The committee maintains a web site as well as communicates through USPS and public media. Committee awards recognizing contributions to boating and personal safety and VSC performance are presented at the USPS Annual Meeting.




    A.  National Safety Committee.  The USPS Safety Program is led by the National Safety

Committee, which is composed of a Chairperson, Assistant Chairpersons, First Aid Support Team (F.A.S.T.) Leader,  Regional Chairpersons and a number of other members appointed by the Committee.


    B. First Aid Support Team Leader (F.A.S.T.)

Leads a team made up of members who volunteer to assist, support, and refer members or attendees who become injured or ill during meetings of the national organization and/or appropriate local safety personnel.


    C. National Committee Responsibilities are:


1.      Establish policies and procedures for the administration of the USPS Safety & Vessel Safety Check Programs.

2.      Attendance at both national meetings is desirable. If at all possible members should at least attend the annual meeting.

3.      Maintain communications with the National Chairperson, other National Committee members, and District Chairpersons, as needed.

4.      Assist District Chairpersons in preparing and presenting seminars at District conferences.

5.      Suggest topics for Ensign Articles and assist in the writing.

6.      Turn over any and all records, reports, communications and files to his/her successor.

7.      Area Representatives are responsible for communication and coordination through the Committee electronic communications tree (eTree) with the districts and squadrons for Safety related subjects including but not restricted to: 

a. Vessel Safety Check

b. Safe Boating Week

c. Interagency Cooperation with USCG Auxiliary, US Coast Guard, etc.

d. Safety Bulletins

e. USPS Safety Award candidates

f. USPS Life Saving Award candidates


     D.  District Chairpersons.  Responsibilities are:


1.      Coordinate and promote the Vessel Safety Check & Safety Programs within the District. Solicit nominations from Squadron Chairpersons for the Life Saving and National Safety Awards.

2.      Serve as liaison between the National Committee member for the Region (Regional Chairperson) and Squadron Chairpersons.

3.      Promote partnership with the USCG Auxiliary District and/or Division in the VSC Program. Serve as liaison with the Auxiliary District Staff Officer (SO-VE)for Vessel Examiners in the USPS District.

4.      Organize and promote Safety & VSC Program seminars at District conferences.

5.      Maintain an adequate supply of Decals, Form 7012s, and other VSC-related materials, and distribute them to Squadron Chairpersons.

6.      Manage the total Government/USPS supplied inflatable Life Jacket resources insuring Squadrons report directly via the VSC-5 report to the Safety Committee Inflatable Life Jacket Loaner Program Management Chair. District Chairs should review at least annually the total Inflatable Life jacket distribution within their district and assist squadrons in adjusting quantities between squadrons, returning excess inventory to HQ or requesting additional jackets from the National safety Committee, when deemed necessary. The National Safety Committee will review these request. When approved and to the extent that HQ inventory remains, have additional jackets shipped to the district for distribution to squadrons. The cost of shipping will be billed to the district or squadron account as appropriate to the given request.

7.      Prepare articles for the District newsletter and assist Squadron Chairpersons in writing articles for Squadron newsletters.

8.      Use the National Safety website, SailAngle, other websites and e-mail to enhance communications among Squadrons, Districts and the National Committee.

9.      Communicate any areas of concern to the National Committee representative assigned to the District.

10.  Promote and coordinate District participation in USPS National VSC Program contests. Establish and administer a District awards program to recognize outstanding VEs, Squadrons, and program promotion activities.

11.  Turn over all records, reports, communications and files to his/her successor.


    E.  Squadron Chairpersons.  Responsibilities are:


1.     The Squadron safety Officer is selected based on his/her interest in industrial and marine safety and Vessel Safety Check carries on an informative program throughout the year. He should work closely with Education, Meetings, Public Relations and the Boating Activities Chairs to promote an integrated program..

2.   Organize and promote Safety and Vessel Safety Check Program activities within the Squadron. Monitor local squadron activities and media sources for persons eligible for the Life Saving Award and the National Safety Award. Prepare nomination(s) and forward to the District Chairperson for consideration.

3.   Promote partnership with local USCG Auxiliary Flotillas.

4.   Conduct Vessel Examiner training and administer certification examinations.

5.   Notify National Headquarters using the, VSC-2 form, of all certifications and re-certifications of Squadron VEs.

6.   Distribute adequate supplies of decals, forms and promotional material to Squadron VEs. 

7.   Obtain additional supplies from the District Chairperson.

8.   Collect and review Form 7012s, and conduct additional training of VEs when needed.

9.    Promptly submit the data from the 7012s via the online data submittal form to National   Headquarters on a weekly basis if possible (but at least monthly).

10.  Retain completed 7012 forms for at least one year after the year the VSCs were conducted.

11.  Establish and administer a Squadron awards program to recognize outstanding VEs.

12.  Turn over all records, reports, communications and files to his/her successor.

13.  Manage the squadron’s USPS supplied Inflatable Life Jacket resources in cooperation with the           District Safety Chair.

14.  Report your USPS supplied Inflatable Life Jacket inventory status to the National Safety Committee Inflatable Life Jacket Loaner Program Chair on form VSC-5


  F.  Vessel Examiners.


Any USPS member who is at least 18 years old may become a VE by attending a   training session, passing a proctored open-book test, and performing five VSCs under the supervision of a certified Vessel Examiner (either USPS or USCGA).  The open-book test may also be taken online at A VE will retain certification by performing a minimum of five VSCs per year.  Additional information regarding VE certification and other responsibilities is in the Vessel Safety Check Manual.  Other responsibilities are:

1.      Use the Form 7012.  Promptly forward a copy of completed Form 7012s to the Squadron Chair.

2.      Report any problems with VSC program procedures or operations to the Squadron Chair.


   G. Certification Process. 


Online Exam - When the prospective VE passes the online exam they receive an email confirming they passed. He/she provides a copy of the confirming email to the VSC Chair. Paper Exam - The exam monitor provides a document certifying that the prospective VE has passed the exam. He/she provides a copy of the confirming document to the VSC Chair.

Then, when they complete their five mentored VSCs (the mentor is responsible for reporting these completions to the Chair) the VSC Chair submits the VSC-2 Certified Vessel Examiners Form to headquarters via email, fax or mail. Headquarters will then add them to the database of certified VEs.

Note: USPS members  who are currently certified Vessel Examiners in the United State Coast Guard Auxiliary are cross qualified for USPS and all that need be done is to send in the VSC-2 Certified Vessel Examiners Form to headquarters to add them to the database so they will be recognized by all the systems.


   H. Vessel Examiner Uniforms.

Red "USPS uniform polo shirt" with the words "Vessel Examiner" and the USPS logo on it,

tan or khaki colored pants (long or short), boat shoes and VSC cap. Inflatable Life Jackets should be worn as a normal part of the uniform to illustrate the ease of always wearing a life jacket whenever on the water. Inflatable Life Jackets were supplied to all squadrons in 2008 to accommodate this uniform adjunct and to be worn while teaching Public Boating Courses.




    A.  The USPS VSC Manual is both a training guide and operational reference source.  It is available in

         hard copy from National Headquarters and is also on the CD provided to Squadron and District

         Chairpersons.  The Manual may also be downloaded from this website.        


    B.  Vessel Examiner Exams.  For VE candidates who do not take the exam online, Squadron and

         District Chairpersons should download and print out the exams and answer keys supplied to them

         on the program materials CD.  National Headquarters will provide these materials in hard copy

         only to Chairpersons who do not have computers.   


    C.  Forms and Decals.   VSC decals are issued by National Headquarters.  As early as

         practical at the beginning of each calendar year, decals will be sent to District and

         Squadron Chairpersons in amounts based on the number of VSCs conducted by USPS VEs in

         the District or Squadron during the previous calendar year. 


         1. Decals are provided by the U.S. Coast Guard and may be limited in number. 

            Distribution will be to:

·         Squadron VSC Chair, based on prior year decals issued to boaters

·         District VSC Chair - backup supply

     After these initial shipments, additional decals may be ordered only by District Chair with National

     Chair approval.  Supplies of decals may be transferred between VEs, Squadrons, and Districts, as



          2. Forms - the ANSC 7012 forms are available and may be ordered  from headquarters for

               only the cost of shipping. They are also available for download and local printing.


    D.  Shirts, hats, patches, etc. may be ordered by VEs, Squadrons, or Districts. 


    E.  VSC Order form (available on the web site) should be used by VSC Chairs to order supplies.


IV  Awards and Merit Marks.


    A. National annual awards:


o Century Pin Awarded to any VE who does 100 VSCs in the calendar year

o Millennium Pin awarded to any VE who does a cumulative number of 1000 VSCs


Squadron Annual Honor Roll

o Squadrons who have 10% of their active members (End of march of year) as VEs


o Perform a number VSCs at least equal to the number of active members at year end.


District Annual Honor Roll

o Districts who have 10% of their active members as VEs


o Perform a number VSCs at least equal to the number of active members (End of March of year).


    B. Each District and Squadron may establish awards to recognize outstanding VEs, Squadrons, and

         Program promotion activities.


    C.  Merit Marks -

VEs may be recommended by their Squadron Commanders for merit marks based on either:


1.      Becoming a certified Vessel Examiner i.e. Completing VE training, passing the exam, and performing five VSCs under supervision.


        2.  If already certified as a VE, by performing ten VSCs that are reported to USPS in the

             calendar year.




    All USPS members who are involved in the VSC Program are encouraged to use the Safety & VSC Committee's websites as a source of program data, and policy and procedure updates and announcements. The main pages are http://www.usps,org/safety/ &  




    The VSC Program is a USPS activity with a minimum risk of lawsuits based on negligent performance

    of VSCs.  USPS has adequate liability insurance to protect USPS, its Districts, Squadrons, and

    members from potential litigation related to the VSC Program.  Our insurance carrier will provide

    both a defense and indemnity to the extent of policy limits.  Thus, a fear of potential litigation

    should not deter members from participating in the VSC Program.  Contact: National Law Officer,

    National Treasurer. 

Revised 17 October, 2011