EXAMINING PERSONAL WATERCRAFTThe PWC is classified as a "Class A" Inboard Boat (a boat less than 16 feet in length) by the U.S. Coast Guard. They are designed to carry from one to three persons, and to be operated by a person sitting, standing, or kneeling ON the watercraft. VSC requirements, examination techniques, and educational exchanges are the same for PWCs as they are for examinations of recreational boats. However, PWCs are exempt from many of the requirements that other boats must comply with, including: - display of capacity information - safe loading information - flotation requirements - electrical systems - fuel systems - powered ventilation 1. DISPLAY OF NUMBERS: Because of the size, shape, and color decorations of some PWCs, it may be difficult to apply registration numbers so that they can be read easily. The VE is expected to use good judgement in determining whether the PWC owner has made every effort to comply with numbering and spacing requirements. 2. REGISTRATION: The registration certificate must be on board whenever the PWC is used, and the registration number and hull identification number must coincide with the information on the registration certificate. 3. PERSONAL FLOTATION DEVICE: A Coast Guard-approved PFD with an impact rating suitable for the intended use must be worn by the operator and any passengers. These devices are usually Type II or substitutable TYPE V PFDs and are distinguished by their three or four securing belts. The impact rating is noted on the label. In an educational exchange, suggest 50 mph as a minimum. 4. VISUAL DISTRESS SIGNALS: Requirements are the same as for recreational boats. In most instances, PWCs will be operating on inland waters only during daylight hours. Therefore, a red or orange cloth kept in the storage compartment will meet requirements. If operated offshore, in international waters, or where night use is permitted, regular visual distress signal requirements apply. 5. FIRE EXTINGUISHERS: One Coast Guard approved Type BC-1 extinguisher must be readily available and properly secured. The storage compartment on the PWC designed for that purpose is recommended. 6. VENTILATION: PWCs have a natural ventilation system. Make sure the input and exit ports are clear of obstructions 7. BACKFIRE FLAME CONTROL: PWCs have a watertight backfire flame arrester that is required to display Coast Guard, Underwriters Laboratories (UL), or Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) approval numbering. 8. SOUND-PRODUCING DEVICE: The most common and convenient sound-producing device for a PWC is a whistle that can be attached to the operator's PFD. 9. NAVIGATION LIGHTS: PWCs are not intended for nighttime use and therefore are not equipped with navigation lights. If operated at night offshore, in international waters, or where night use is permitted, regular navigation lights requirements apply. 10. POLLUTION PLACARD: N/A | 11. MARPOL TRASH PLACARD: N/A |- discuss clean waters anyway 12. MARINE SANITATION DEVICE: N/A | 13. NAVIGATION RULES: N/A, but discuss the Rules of the Road with the owner. Advise the owner to be aware of NO WAKE zones, which are usually marked with signs or buoys. Remind the owner that he/she is responsible for any damage caused by his/her wake. 14. STATE AND LOCAL REQUIREMENTS: VEs must be familiar with state and local regulations where the PWC VSC is being conducted. 15. OVERALL VESSEL CONDITION: Examine the steering and throttle controls for proper operation, check the hood cover and seat latch to see if they can be secured, examine the hull for cracks or other damage, and observe the PWC for general maintenance and upkeep. Check for any modifications to factory- installed systems or components. In addition, the PWC must have an electrical cut-off switch or self-circling device in working order. RECOMMENDED ITEMS: Stress the importance of a USPS or USCGAux safe boating course for the owner and any other operators of the PWC.
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