Vessel Safety Checks and Boat Safety

Well in my experience with the Coast Guard Auxiliary, I have completed and assisted with over 100+ boat safety checks.  The CGA provides these checks free of charge.  You can request one at

There is a check list that you can see before you request the VSC.  If you pass a CGA VSC you will be awarded a decal and paperwork.  Provide the paperwork to your insurance company for a possible reduction on your rates.

What does the decal do?  The decal alerts your local police, game warden, or any other agency that may provide you a BIG FAT ticket for not having the required safety equipment or registration, that you have passed an inspection.  Chances are they'll leave you be and move on to the next boat.

What happens if you fail the inspection? The CGA does not write tickets. Your CGA-VE will alert you of items that need correcting… once the problem is corrected, call your VE and he or she will pass you.

What is the most common thing that will fail you?  The most common thing that causes boats to fail is registration problems and registration lettering and the numbers’ placement on their boat. (Your letters and numbers must have a separation space).

What happens if I get pulled over by the game warden?  If any of the safety factors mentioned in the VSC check list is sub standard, you will be ripe for a ticket.  Tickets range from $25.00 to $500.00, depending on your location.  Any Ultimate Bass member can email me directly to help in making sure you pass a vessel saftey check.

There are so many issues that a smart boater needs to be aware of.  He or she must know the water conditions, wind conditions, boat conditions, tide conditions, current conditions, boat traffic conditions, light conditions, weather conditions, and on and on.  It is the responsibility of the boat owner to have all these issues in check.  If one issue is neglected, disaster will follow.  Always be aware of your surroundings and conditions.

To learn more about boat safety and aids to navigation, I encourage you to complete a boating course.  The knowledge you will learn and retain is immeasurable.

Steve Petrozella is a Community Diplomat and Site Analyst here at  He can be reached at

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