Question: Is there a specific authorization for VE's to examine rental vessels and are there any additional requirements?
Answer: National V Department's Newsletter For Safety's Sake in Volume II - 2006.
Rental Boat Vessel Safety Checks
Boat liveries offer a variety of vessels to examine and opportunities to promote the Recreational Boating Safety message. Of particular interest are the liveries offering small un-powered and powered boats, a category where there are a disproportionate number of accidents and fatalities. Having VSC decals on these boats furthers awareness of the Recreational Boating Safety program and the Coast Guard Auxiliary.
VSCs on rowboats, canoes, kayaks and small sailboats are not demanding. Typically only life jackets, anchors, and whistles are supplied for boats under 16 feet. Where boats are rented for daytime use only, lights are not usually required, although a flashlight is recommended gear for every boater. Powered boats usually require registration and numbering. As life jackets are not usually kept on the rental boats, but issued from storage at rental, examiners must assure that the life jackets are in acceptable condition, in sufficient quantity for the number of boats, and with a mix of sizes. Apprise the owner of the Boat U.S. Foundation's life jacket loaner program that makes children's life jackets available for the day or weekend to families who have a temporary need for one. Over 350 waterfront businesses are participating in this important program. See www.boatus.com/foundation/LJLP/.
Time can be saved and the VSCs expedited by visiting the livery before conducting the VSCs and obtaining the information for Form 7012. Filling in the required information at your desk at home saves a lot of time. Then only the checklist need be filled in at the dock.
Be sure that the rental boats meet Federal, State and Local requirements before awarding the decal.
Then in Volume IV - 2006 the following follow-up was published:
Rental Boat VSC
The previous issue of For Safety’s Sake included an article on the value of doing Vessel Safety Check on Rental Boats. One of the key points of this encounter is to educate the owner/manager of the rental establishment. Beyond ensuring that their vessel's safety equipment is up to standards, it is a good time to discuss with them how and why they should be educating their customers on the use of the safety equipment, and safe boating best practices before they hand over the keys. The vast majority of these vessels fall into the "high focus" area that we want to concentrate, and would be the renters who are most likely unfamiliar with the area and are novice boaters. Please remember that education is the operative word when it comes to prevention!
Note from Paul Mayer, DVC-V: As being in on the ground floor of the new program at the time, it is important that you only award decals for the number of boats with sufficient items to pass the VSC. If they have 10 boats but PFDs for 5, only 5 would be awarded the decal.