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Vessel Safety Inspection Checklist

1. DISPLAY OF NUMBERS  - Must be permanently attached to each side of the forward half of the boat. Proper spacing, a space or hyphen must separate the letters from the numbers, contrasting color, minimum 3" block letters. Place State validation sticker 3" aft of numbers (e.g. NJ 1234 AB or NJ-1234-AB)
2. REGISTRATION/DOCUMENTATION  - Must be on board, vessel must be registered with state of usage. 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" in height.      
3. PERSONAL FLOTATION DEVICE (Life Jackets) - Acceptable PFDs must be U.S. Coast Guard approved and in good serviceable condition. A wearable PFD of suitable size is required for each person on the boat. Children must have properly fitted PFDs designed for children. Children 12 years or younger must be wearing their PFD at all times while on the boat. 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 store in unopened plastic packaging. For Personal Watercraft riders, the PFD must be worn. An impact rating is recommended, but not required.      
4. 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) 3 day and 3 night pyrotechnic devices (like flares), (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.      

5. FIRE EXTINGUISHER  - 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.

Boat Length
No Fixed System
With Fixed System
L < 26 Ft.
One B-I
26' < L < 40'
Two B-I or One B-II
One B-I
40' < L < 65'
Three B-I or one B-I & one B-II
Two B-I or one B-II
6. VENTILATION - 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.      
7. BACKFIRE FLAME ARRESTER  - All gasoline powered inboard/outboard or inboard motor boats must be equipped with an approved backfire flame control device. (Approved by UL-1111 or SAE-1928, tight, clean)      
8. SOUND PRODUCING DEVICE - To comply ith Navigation Rules and for distress signaling purposes all boats must carry a sound producing device (Horn, whistle, siren, or other device) capable of a 4-second blast audible for 1/2 mile. Boats larger than 39.4 ft. are also required to have a bell.      

9. NAVIGATION LIGHTS  - 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 all-around anchor light capable of being lit independently from the red/green/white "running" lights. (Must operate and show proper configuration)

10. POLLUTION PLACARD  - Boats 26 ft and over with machinery compartment must display an oily waste "pollution" placard.      
11. MARPOL TRASH PLACARD  - Boats 26 ft & over in length, operating in U.S. navigable waters, must display a "Marpol" trash placard. Oceangoing boats 40 feet and overs must also have a written trash disposal plan available onboard.      
12. MARINE SANITATION DEVICE - Any installed toilet must be a Coast Guard approved device. Overboard discharge outlets must be capable of being sealed.        
13. NAVIGATION RULES  - Boats 39.4 ft. and over must have on board a current copy of the Navigation Rules.

14. STATE REQUIREMENTS  - These requirements must be met before the "Vessel Safety Check" decal can be awarded. A boat must meet the requirements of the state in which it is being examined.


15. OVERALL VESSEL CONDITION  As it applies to this Vessel. Including, but not limited to:

a. Deck free of hazards and clean bilge - The boat must be free from fire hazards, in good overall condition, with bilges reasonably clean and visible hull structure generally sound. The use of automobile parts on boat engines is not acceptable (Alternators, distributors, starters, generators, accessory motors, starter solenoids, carburetors, fuel pumps). The engine horsepower must not exceed that shown in the capacity plate. Boat shall not be overloaded, and not overpowered.

b. Electrical and Fuel Systems:
The electrical system must be protected by fuses or manual reset circuit breakers. Switches and fuse panels must be protected from rain or water spray. Wiring must be in good condition, properly installed and with no exposed areas of deteriorated insulation. Batteries must be secured and terminals covered to prevent accidental arcing. If installed, self-circling or kill switch mechanism must be in proper working order. All PWCs require an operating self circling or kill switch mechanism.

Fuel Systems - Portable fuel tanks (normally 7 gallons capacity or less ) must be constructed of non-breakable material and free of corrosion and leaks. All vents must be capable of being closed. The tank must be secured and have a vapor-tight, leak-proof cap. Each permanent fuel tank must be properly ventilated. Tanks must be grounded/vented. Hoses must be in good condition, no leaks.

Galley/Heating Systems - System and fuel tanks must be properly secured with no flammable materials nearby.

I. MARINE RADIO         
II. DEWATERING DEVICE  - pumps must work, extra manual bailer (bucket, can, scoop, hand operated pump)      
IV. ANCHOR & ANCHOR LINE  - Suitable for the boat & the area. Line must be 5 to 7 times the depth of the water in the area to be anchored.      
V. FIRST AID & PERSON IN THE WATER (PIW) KIT - PIW consists of one extra wearable PFD and a throwable type IV PFD with a line.      

VII. CAPACITY/CERTIFICATE OF COMPLIANCE LABEL - Visible, Monohull power boats under 20 ft., all boats with installed engines, except outboards, manufactured after 10/31/72.