How Long Is Passing The VE Exam Good For?

Question: I have an Auxiliarist who took a VE exam in October 2007. She has just now, May 2012 completed the requirements for certification. How long does a VE test remain viable for VE certification? When is too long ago?

Answer: The VE Exam completion is a permanent record once passed, it never expires.

Where To Get supplies?

Question: How can I get a supply of Vessel Safety Check brochures? I am with the Seattle Sail and Power Squadron and we provide these to our new members.

Answer: US Power Squadrons members would get them through their normal supply chain from the US Power Squadrons and Coast Guard Auxiliary members would have the FSO-MA or Flotilla Commander order them supplies.

OPFAC and VSC Decal on Operational Facility?

Question: Should an OPFAC display both USCG OPFAC's decal and an VSC decal?

Answer: No just the Operational Facility Decal.

Vessel Safety Check Examiner Job Aid booklets

Question: Where can I get Vessel Safety Check Examiner Job Aid booklets?

Answer: They can be orders by your FSO-MA or Flotilla Commander from ANSC:

2001E Vessel Safety Check-Examiner Job Aid - Quick reference tools while examining vessels. (MAX 5 per Flotilla)

Battery Terminal Covers

Question: In the Federal Requirements For Recreational Boats why aren't battery terminal covers mentioned?

Answer: It is covered: FEDERAL LAW 183.420 - Batteries

(b) Each battery must be installed so that metallic objects cannot come in contact with the ungrounded battery terminals.

If an ungrounded battery terminal is left exposed, it is possible that an accidental connection to ground could occur. The use of, or dropping of, tools nearby could make such a connection during routine engine servicing. This connection could result in a spark of sufficient energy to ignite any explosive vapors that might be present or to start an electrical fire.

To prevent accidental contact with the ungrounded battery terminal, it may be covered with a boot or non-conductive shield. The battery could be installed in a covered battery box or special, fitted compartment. (See Figure 14).

FIGURE 14 - Ungrounded Battery Terminal Connection


Have precautions been taken to prevent metallic objects from coming in contact with the ungrounded battery terminal when the battery is in its installed position?

HALON Fire Extinguishers

Question: Most fixed HALON FE systems on recreational vessels do not have pressure gauges which indicate that they are "full" (operational). Most are purchased with tags on them. The manual says that " if the minimum weight is stated on the label the tank should be weighed annually". Who is properly authorized to perform this function?

Answer: As our manual reads: "These units must be inspected and tagged by a recognized authority within one year of the VSC."

A recognized authority can be found by contacting a local fire department or even with an on-line search for "inspections of HALON fire extinguishers". We as Vessel Examiners can only check that the tag that is within the one year date and signed by the inspector that has been trained to check and service the HALON equipment.

Marine Sanitation Device (MSD)

Question: Can a boat with a head, holding tank and overboard discharge capability be passed for VSC sticker, if it does not have a Y valve?

It does have two buttons to be pressed at the same time to operate the macerator.

Answer: In the VE Manual one of the acceptable methods of being secured from accidental discharge in in your question. "A combination of switches that have to be pressed simultaneously."

So yes that device passes.

Navigation Rules

Question: Does the availability of electronic documentation on board satisfy the VSC requirement. Example, a vessel over 39.4 feet required to carry navigation rules. If they can be readily accessed on a computer, smart phone etc. Does that satisfy the requirement?

Answer: No it does not as a computer, phone anything electronic can break down and become inaccessible.

State and Local Requirements

Question: Apparently our District 9 Coast Guard has issued a letter stating that VSC's done in the area of Michigan's St Clair Lake( not Federal Waters) must have Dated Flares to be issued an Auxiliary Decal. This may be a good idea, but the requirement is not documented anywhere in our Auxiliary Communications. Probably, 75% of the vessels here in Lake St Clair will never motor the 40 miles to enter the Federal Waters of Lake Huron or Lake Erie. Currently this D9 letter is only hearsay, but if true and binding, I would hope that it's validity would be confirmed in our Auxiliary Publications.

Answer: There are specific items for many states as well as local areas, that is why the form has the item "State and/or Local Requirements" which must be checked off for issuance of the VSC Decal.

This is the responsibility of your DSO-VE and your SO's and FSO's when it comes to training your local VE's. Issuance of that on a national level would just cause confusion for the other 99% which is why the general training covers the Federal Regulations.

Auto Parts on Boats

Question: Under Item 15 of the VSC it states "The use of automobile parts on boat engines is not acceptable."

Answer: Using non ignition protected devices on vessels is a sure fire way to have a fire. Fuel pumps, generators, alternators, starters and distributors are built for spark suppression. Ignoring this can be disastrous.