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Beverly-Marblehead Sail & Power Squadron
Serving Boston's North Shore
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Updated 01-Jan-2018

Vessel Safety Checks

We are conducting voluntary, free Vessel Safety Checks as follows:

When Where

Please check this page often for additional times and locations.

To arrange a voluntary free VSC at a more convenient time or location, contact Walter Riley, VSC Chairman, Certified Vessel Examiner, at (978) 927-5189 or by email.

Vessel Safety Check 2015 decal


About the Vessel Safety Check Program

The Vessel Safety Check (VSC) program is a great way to make sure that you and your boat are ready for the next boating season. During a VSC, a certified Vessel Examiner (VE) will not only inspect the safety equipment aboard your boat, but also explain its use as well as care and maintenance in a personal one-on-one manner that is very productive and also rewarding. VSCs are a great opportunity to ensure that you become a safer boater both in terms of your equipment and knowing how to use it.

Vessel Safety applies to all types of boats - sail, power, canoes, and kayaks. The Vessel Safety Check program provides the opportunity to see if your boat is equipped properly based on federal, state and local requirements and it is FREE!

During a Vessel Safety Check, you can talk with a Vessel Examiner, about the use of marine safety equipment and ask boating-related safety questions.  You will receive an evaluation form showing missing equipment and safety problems and you will get a 10% discount on safety equipment at West Marine stores, if you show them the coupon your VSC examiner gave you. Additional inspections after obtaining and installing proper safety equipment are also provided for free.

A Vessel Safety Check is not a law-enforcement operation: no citations, fines, or reporting to agencies is ever done. It is a FREE education service for recreational boaters to help you with getting your boat ready for the season!

For many years, the US Coast Guard and the USCG Auxiliary have provided complimentary Courtesy Marine Examinations (CME's) for boaters nationwide. In an effort to modernize and expand the CME program, the Coast Guard set a goal of examining 1.3 million vessels annually by the year 2002. This will require 32,500 trained examiners doing an average of 40 vessels a year. To meet that challenge requires recruiting, training, and certifying a large cadre of volunteer examiners to conduct the new USCG Vessel Safety Checks. The USPS is the oldest and largest non-profit boating education organization. With 60,000+ members, dedicated to boating safety and education, the USPS was a logical choice in expanding the program. Hundreds of USPS members are already certified to perform Vessel Safety Checks and more are currently being trained. The USPS has been accepted as a full partner with the USCG and USCG Auxiliary. Other partners will be named in the future. Vessel Safety Checks conducted by USPS members are as thorough and as valid as the former Courtesy Marine Examinations conducted by the USCG and USCG Auxiliary.

See the top 15 reasons vessels might not pass a Vessel Safety Check.

We also recommend Filing a Float Plan each time you venture out on the water.


Preparing for a Vessel Safety Check

Use the cold winter months to take a look at the required safety equipment for your boat, by mentally going through this Virtual VSC checklist. That way you can purchase the items that you are missing in the winter months when they are on sale. Then incorporate the VSC into your spring-time launch plan. As soon as you know your planned launch date, contact the Vessel Safety Check Chair (see contact info on the right side) and set up an appointment for a VSC a couple of days before or after your launch.

Once you have successfully passed the Vessel Safety Check and you boat fulfills all requirements, you will be awarded a VSC decal to display on their boat.

This VSC decal is recognized by law-enforcement agencies, such as the US Coast Guard and Massachusetts Environmental Police, and while it does not change their ability to board your vessel at any time, it will definitely decrease the likelihood of a random boarding of your boat. By seeing the VSC decal, the law-enforcement officers will know that your boat has already been inspected this season and found to be in compliance with safety equipment regulations.

That is also the reason, why the VSC decal is only valid for one particular year - make sure you schedule a Vessel Safety Check each year!



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