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Free for boat owners: Inspections by U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary

Boaters getting ready for eclipse but weather may be an issue

Kenny York and Kathryn Youngers rest on a pontoon boat on Lake Marion. The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliaary is offering boaters free safety checks before they head out onto the water this spring. 

In advance of National Safe Boating Week (May 22-28), members of the Charleston area U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary are urging boat owners to submit their vessels to a free quick safety check. The examiners will come to the boat’s location to conduct the review.

If the vessel’s safety equipment meets the standard, the owner will be presented with a sticker certifying that fact. It is good for a year.

If something does not pass, the owner will be given a list items to be addressed. There is no penalty for such a finding. However, the boater could be subject to a fine if stopped by law enforcement for not having the proper working safety equipment.

Most vessel examinations take 15 minutes or less; the examiner needn’t board the vessel, nor does it have to be in the water.

The safety items checked include adequate life vests or personal floatation devices for all; a throwable life preserver; working exhaust fan for a covered gas tank; a horn or warning device; and working running lights fore and aft, among other items. In addition, the owner should present a current boat registration and a boat’s registration numbers should be at least three inches tall and of a color contrast to that of the hull.

To request a vessel exam, go to, click on “Get a Vessel Safety Check,” and provide the appropriate information. Alternately, a boater can go to the websites for either of Charleston’s local flotillas – or -- and request a check.