Question: I recently became a VE and I have been inspecting as my FSO-VE tells me. I have argued two things with him. He requires both battery terminal to be covered. he also requires a VDS. We are on the Ohio river(inland-less than two miles wide). I have read the PPT and VE book. So my question is does the negative terminal have to be covered and do they have to have a flashlight?
Answer: From page 27 of the Vessel Safety Check (VSC) manual:
Verify that battery cables are securely connected. The battery should be clamped down or otherwise secured so as to prevent movement. Battery terminals must be covered. Plastic battery boxes or other covers to protect the battery are recommended but not required. Installed battery chargers should be of marine type design. Batteries should be well ventilated while charging.
For your Area of Operations (AOR) from the way you describe it, a VDS is not be required. It should be recommended, but it is not required to pass a VSC. Also, check to see if your FSO-VE is referring to a local or state law.
From the 7012 form: STATE AND LOCAL 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. Here is a good article which mentions VDSs and the whole Coastal/Inland waters issue - http://vdept.cgaux.org/newsletters/fss10-03.pdf.
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