Don’t Hit the Water This Summer Without a No-Cost, No-Penalty Vessel Safety Check

A no-penalty vessel safety check from U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and U.S. Power Squadrons/America’s Boating Club can improve on water safety this summer boating season (credit: U.S. Power Squadrons)

How do you know your boat is ready for a safe summer boating season and complies with new U.S. Coast Guard regulations? A no-cost, no-penalty vessel safety check from the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and U.S. Power Squadrons/America’s Boating Club can help. Scheduled inspections are often offered at launch ramps, marinas and boat clubs, or appointments can be made for a vessel examiner to come to your boat. Go to to learn more. The program is sponsored by the BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water.

Upon successful completion of the exam, which typically takes less than 30 minutes, the vessel is awarded a U.S. Coast Guard / Auxiliary / U.S. Power Squadrons decal that informs law enforcement and safety agencies that your boat was in full compliance with all federal and state boating laws during a safety check for that year.

So just what items do vessels typically fail on this important early season inspection? According to the U.S. Power Squadrons/America’s Boating Club, the top three reasons are:

  1. Navigation lights 19%
  2. Fire extinguishers 18%
  3. Distress signals 16%

“The numbers tell us a vessel safety check can help owners of every type of boat,” said BoatUS Foundation assistant director of boating safety Ted Sensenbrenner. “Nearly as many ‘open’ type vessels (44%) fail vessel safety checks as much as those with enclosed cabins (47%). A vessel safety check on either type can help a bad day get a lot better, or potentially save a life.”

Boat clubs, marinas, boat yards and municipalities with launch ramps are also encouraged to reach out to their local U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary or U.S. Power Squadrons/America’s Boating Club to schedule a vessel safety check day at their property.

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