The Coast Guard Compass, the official blog of the United States Coast Guard, has posted several tips on how to ensure that a boat has adequate safety measures and will pass a vessel inspection.
Robert Talley of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary said annual vessel checks are free and voluntary. Boats passing the inspection receive a sticker, good for one year, which informs the Coast Guard that the vessel is in compliance with federal and state laws.
Talley said boats should have the following safety measures in place:
- Permanent attachment of the vessel's registration number, or name and port of call if federally documented. This information should be prominent and visible to assist the Coast Guard in identifying missing boats.
- A supply of at least one Coast Guard approved life jacket for each person on board. These devices should be brightly colored and have a whistle attached. The Coast Guard recommends that boaters wear life jackets at all times while on the water.
- A supply of at least three unexpired flares, kept in a dry and easily accessible place.
- An adequate supply of strategically mounted fire extinguishers. Vessels with inboard gasoline engines should also have approved backfire flame control devices to prevent the spread of fire from the carburetor. The blower should be used for at least four minutes after gas is added to these engines to clear hazardous fumes before starting the engine. Batteries should be secure and have contact points covered.
- Boats should have proper navigation lights and sound devices, with spare bulbs on board.
The Coast Guard also recommends that boaters have a marine radio, bilge pump with a bucket to act as a backup, marine charts and a compass, and an anchor with sufficient line. Boaters should also learn about the area they are going to and check the weather before setting out.
The New London Power Squadron and U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary offer vessel safety checks for boaters based in East Lyme, Groton, New London, Stonington, and Waterford. To schedule a safety check, visit this website.