The Coast Guard Auxiliary offers an online Virtual Vessel Safety Check. It is a checklist form used by safety inspectors who visit your boat. To find this site, search for National Department of Vessel Safety Checks and then Virtual Safety Check. As you read through the information, there is an interesting topic you should take a look at; 15 reasons why boaters fail a Safety Check, some good data to be aware of.
The site provides the boat owner with the required onboard equipment and the items that will be inspected. With this information you can pre-inspect your boat. As you check the list, repair or replace items you think may cause a problem. The online experience does not result in a certificate or safety inspection sticker being issued. It is just a review of what will be checked and a referral to an actual vessel inspector. When ready, set up an appointment.
The method to find an inspector is done by typing in your zip code and a distance you would be willing to travel to meet with the inspector. To actually reach an inspector, you must type in all of your information and they will contact you. You can also contact a member of your local Coast Guard Auxiliary or Power Squadron to have your vessel checked. Other sources include the local Coast Guard Station or Sheriffâ€™s Marine Office.
The vessel safety check is set up to be a learning situation enabling the boat owner to ask questions. Most inspectors are boating safety instructors who are fellow boaters and will provide a wealth of information. As your inspection proceeds, they will often share with you their experiences and knowledge. You can learn about changes and updates on equipment you may be unaware of. They have unique experiences to understand how and why boaters get into trouble and how they get out of it too.