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 cgaux.org, 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 – http://wow.uscgaux.info/about.php?unit=070-12-06 or
http://wow.uscgaux.info/about.php?unit=070-12-08 -- and request a check.