WHAT is it & WHY does my boat need to pass the USCGAUX’s Free VSC?

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The VSC decal is not just for motor & sail boats anymore...

It has loing been estabalished that a kayak, canoe or rowboat is a vessel and that USCG requires safety equipment be on board. This includes a Coast Guard approved life jacket for each person on board, a sound producing device, visual distress signals, and proper navigation lights. (A police-type whistle and a flashlight comply with these requirements.)  Be AWARE that the new beach craze, paddleboards, are also considered vessels by the USCG. Therefore, the USCGAUX also awards the VSC seal to all paddlecraft that pass the safety check!  (see info & requirements for paddlecraft)       


wear it!

About USCGAUX Free Vessel Safety Checks

From the smallest paddlecraft to the largest sea going vessel, the U.S Coast Guard would like to see all vessels in compliance with equipment carriage requirements and safely operated. If you are uncertain about the Federal, State and Local safety requirements for your boat, one way to make sure you are in compliance is to schedule a Vessel Safety Check (VSC), offered as a free public service by the Volunteers of the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary.

Be assured that if your boat does not earn it’s decal for any reason, nothing is reported or written up. The Auxiliary examiner will simply explain to you what your vessel needs so that you can choose to comply by securing the equipment needed.

Other federal and state agencies may also conduct similar types of checks. However, we strongly recommend that you have your vessel inspected by a Coast Guard Auxiliary Vessel Examiner.

As a part of "Team Coast Guard" the Auxiliary is the civilian, uniformed arm of the U.S. Coast Guard and highly trained in both Federal, State, and Local laws.

All boats do not require the exact same equipment. The Aux examiners know what applies to your boat and will be happy to discuss and explain if you are uncertain. If this is your first vessel exam, before you meet your vessel examiner, you will be well advised go over the lists below and see these short, helpful  videos to make the most of your inspection.

Qualified examiners with the USCG Aux will meet you and your boat or come to your vessel and conduct a courtesy examination of safety equipment carried or installed and certain aspects of the vessel's overall condition. VSC requirements parallel federal and state requirements with regard to equipment and vessel condition. Those vessels that pass will be awarded a VSC decal indicating a successful check along with a copy of the examination. There are several probable perks when your boat wears the VSC sticker.

What We Check

Depending on the requirements for your particular boat or paddlecraft,
The items checked during a VSC may be:
*Navigation Lights
*Sound producing devices/bell, horn, whistle, etc.yauht wowater
*Voice communications
*Life jackets and throwable flotation devices.
*Fire extinguisher(s).
*Visual distress signals
*Backfire flame control
*Overall vessel condition, including electric-fuel systems, gally-heating systems, deck free of hazards/clean bilge, if applicable.
*Proper display of numbers
*Pollution placard (oily waste discharge if applicable)
*MARPOL trash placards (garbage dumping restriction if applicable.)
*Marine sanitation devices, if applicable.
*Navigation Rules book, if applicable
*State and/or local requirements.
*Capacity Plates.
*Other recommended equipment

While not required on all vessels, the following are also strongly recommended for most vessels in which they are not required.

*VHF-FM Marine Radio with Digital Selective Calling System.
*Dewatering Device and Backup
*Mounted Fire Extinguisher
*Anchor and Line
*First Aid Kit
*Person-in-Water (PIW) Kit

During A Vessel Examination

During the Vessel Safety Check, the vessel examiner will discuss with the recreational boater the purpose of specific marine safety equipment, will clarify federal and state regulations, will discuss certain safety procedures, and will answer any boating-related questions. Some of the topics discussed are:

*Accident reporting/owner responsibility.
*Charts and Aids to Navigation.
*Offshore operation.
*Inflatable life rafts.
*Immersion suits.
*Survival tips
*First Aid
*Float plans
*Weather and sear conditions
*Insurance considerations
*Fueling and fuel management
*Boating checklist
*Availability of boating safety classes
*America's Waterway Watc


(read this to make sure your boat gets it’s VSC decal the first time)

Remember:Mariners whose vessels pass the inspection are awarded a decal that informs the Coast Guard, harbor patrol, sheriffs, police and other boating law enforcement and safety agencies that the mariner’s boat was found to be in full compliance with all federal and state boating laws during a safety check for that year. Additionally, many insurance agencies offer discounts for vessel owners who undergo annual vessel safety checks
If a vessel does not pass the safety check, a citation or notice of violation is NOT issued. Instead, mariners are provided a written report detailing how to correct any discrepancies.

Aux seal

Please see our privacy policy


Don’t forget to sign up for our Boating  Classes too!
The Flotilla offers safe boating classes  given by USCGAUX certified instructors.


These are the certified vessel examiners of USCGAUX Flotilla 10-10. There should be one located in or near your zip code or dock. You may contact any one of them to provide you with a FREE vessel safety check.

*A valid US Coast Guard Vessel Safety Check decal on your boat may lead to a polite wave from on the water law enforcement instead of a scary and/or expensive boarding...
*Boat US Association foundation is sponsoring the national VSC campaing for the next 3 years.
* We give FREE VSC s. Get your decal for this year... schedule your check today





Bob Shorman



Arlene Ingram



Bill Capitan



Clyde Bowman



David Lawrence



Don Wellons



Donna Ainger



Gail Owens



Linda Clavin



Ralph Ainger



Sam Davis



Von Little



Ed Ladzinski







VSC numbers on bow

Or Contact an SSI/Brunswick area USCGAUX volunteer certified VSC examiner on the National list. Enter your contact info to be on the way to applying your boats FREE decal!

CG AUX 75 years in 2014

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All information contained herein is believed to be true and accurate but is not guaranteed.


Privacy Policy: This Web Site does not use “cookies” to collect information from or about users. E-mail links and phone numbers are provided as a means to contact the CGAux for additional information or to make comments. You may choose to provide us with personal information, as in E-mail with a comment or question.  We use the information to improve our service to you or to
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