FREE VESSEL SAFETY CHECKS
IN CLEARWATER, FL
EVEN EXPERIENCED BOATERS NEED A VESSEL SAFETY CHECK!
Why Get a Vessel Safety Check?
The peace of mind that your boat meets federal safety standards and that in an emergency, you will have the necessary equipment to save lives and summon help.
If you are boarded by the Coast Guard, FWC, county sheriff or other law enforcement and found to be in violation you can be fined. A VSC ensures you have all the proper equipment to be in compliance.
In many cases boat insurance agencies offer discounts for vessels that undergo a Vessel Safety Check every year.
The new year is time to get your annual vessel safety check. Safety checks are valid through December 31st. Contact us to get your 2023 VSC.
If you have never completed a boater safety course, make it your 2023 New Year’s resolution to attend a course now. View Classes Here
On Saturday October 29th, 2022 there is a Vessel Safety Check Blitz at the Seminole boat ramp in Clearwater. Come get a free safety check of your boat, jet ski (pwc) or paddle craft.
The event will run from 08:00 to 11:30 weather permitting at the Seminole boat ramp located at 198 Seminole St, Clearwater, FL 33755.
Get a Vessel Safety Check Today
A Vessel Safety Check (VSC) is performed at your boat whether its at a nearby marina, boat ramp, your boatyard, your parking lot, or the driveway at your home.
A vessel safety check takes 15-30 minutes and ensures your boat complies with State and Federal safety requirements.
What is Required
These are the items that are checked in a vessel safety check. Click on the + of each item to see details of what is required.
DISPLAY YOUR NUMBERS
The boat’s registration number must be permanently attached to each side of the forward half of the boat. Characters must be plain, vertical, block style, not less than three (3) inches high, and in a color contrasting with the background. A space or hyphen must separate the letters from the numbers. (e.g. FL 1234 AB or FL-1234-AB). They MUST include the spaces/hyphens. Place State validation sticker according to State policy.
REGISTRATION / DOCUMENTATION
State Registration or Coast Guard Documentation papers must be on board and available. State registration must be current.
Documentation numbers must be permanently marked on a visible part of the interior structure. The documented boat’s name and hailing port must be displayed on the exterior hull in letters not less than 4 inches in height.
PERSONAL FLOTATION DEVICES (PFDs)
Acceptable PFDs (also known as Life Jackets) must be U.S. Coast Guard approved and in good, serviceable condition. A wearable PFD of suitable size is required for the each person on the boat. Children must have properly fitted PFDs designed for children. Wearable PFDs shall be “readily accessible.” Boats 16 Feet or longer, must also have one Type IV (throwable) device, which shall be “immediately available.” PFDs shall NOT be stored in unopened plastic packaging. For Personal Watercraft riders, the PFD must be worn. An impact rating is recommended, but not required.
VISUAL DISTRESS SIGNALS
Recreational boats 16 feet and over used on coastal waters or the Great Lakes are required to carry a minimum of either 1) three day and three night pyrotechnic devices, 2) one day non-pyrotechnic device (flag) and one night non-pyrotechnic device (auto SOS light) or 3) a combination of 1) and 2). Recreational boats less than 16 feet on coastal waters or the Great Lakes need only carry night visual distress signals when operating from sunset to sunrise. It is recommended, but not required, that boats operating on inland waters should have some means of making a suitable day and night distress signal. The number and type of signals is best judged by considering conditions under which the boat will be operating.
Fire extinguishers are required if one of the following conditions exists: 1) Inboard engine(s); 2) Double bottom hulls not completely sealed or not completely filled with flotation materials 3) Closed living space 4) Closed stowage compartments that contain flammable materials or 5) Permanently installed fuel tanks. Recreational boats less than 26 feet, and propelled by outboard motors are NOT required to have fire extinguishers unless one or more of the conditions (2-5) listed above applies. NOTE: Fire extinguishers must be readily accessible and verified as serviceable. Number and size of fire extinguishers vary based on the size of your boat.
Boats with gasoline engines in closed compartments, built after 1 August 1980 must have a powered ventilation system. Those built prior to that date must have natural or powered ventilation. Boats with closed fuel tank compartments built after 1 August 1978 must meet requirements by displaying a “certificate of compliance.” Boats built before that date must have either natural or powered ventilation in the fuel tank compartment.
BACKFIRE FLAME ARRESTER
All gasoline powered inboard/outboard or inboard motor boats must be equipped with an approved backfire flame control device.
SOUND PRODUCING DEVICES
To comply with Navigation Rules and for distress signaling purposes all boats must carry a sound producing device (whistle, horn, siren, etc.) capable of a 4-second blast audible for ½ mile. Boats larger than 39.4 ft. are also required to have a bell (see Navigation Rules.)
All boats must be able to display navigation lights between sunset and sunrise and in conditions of reduced visibility. Boats 16 feet or more in length must have properly installed, working navigation lights and an allaround anchor light capable of being lit independently from the red/green/white “running” lights.
Batteries must be secured and terminals must be covered to prevent accidental arcing. Vessels with outboard motors are exempt from this requirement.
MARINE SANITATION DEVICE (INSTALLED TOILETS)
Any installed toilet must be a Coast Guard approved device. Overboard discharge outlets must be capable of being sealed.
BOATS 26 FEET AND LONGER
POLLUTION PLACARD: Boats 26 feet and over with a machinery compartment must display an oily waste “pollution” placard.
MARPOL TRASH PLACARD: Boats 26 feet and over in length, operating in U.S. navigable waters, must display a “MARPOL” trash placard. Oceangoing boats 40 feet and over must also have a written trash disposal plan available onboard.
BOAT 39.4 FEET AND LONGER
Boats 39.4 feet and over must have on board a current copy of the Navigation Rules.