Do I need a oar or paddle?

Question: I have heard that an oar/paddle is required safety equipment on power boats up to a certain length. I cannot find any reference to this requirement and am wondering if this is really a required item?

Answer: This was a requirement years ago, before 2000 and this is what I found:

"All boats less than 16 feet in length must carry a second method of propulsion. A paddle, oar, water ski, or other suitable device meets this requirement."

It is no longer a requirement for the award of our VSC Decal.

Mail me a VSC Decal?

Question: I just had my boat checked last weekend at Lake Washington. It passed but they said that they didn't have any safety check stickers for my window. They said that one could be mailed. How would I get it?

Answer: The Vessel Examiner should have left you a copy of the Vessel Safety Check with his or her name and phone number on it. It is against our policy to mail or simply give the VSC decal to the boater without actually being there to personally apply the decal or supervise it being applied.

Call the volunteer and tell him or her what I said in this reply and that it must be either applied or supervised by the volunteer.

Capacity of Boat and Size of Engine for Boat

Question: I need the weight and motor specs and size on a 1968 bonito 14ft any info would be great.

Answer: For the capacity of your boat:

If the boat does not have a capacity plate, the following formula would be used:

Boat length multiplied by boat width divided by 15
(L x W/15)=
Number of people that can be safely carried in calm waters.

A suitable motor for the size of the boat:

15 - 20 hp (80-120 lbs)
Powerful workhorses that are still considered a part of the small outboard hp class. Outboard engines in this hp range are available primarily in 4-stroke configurations but may limited availability in 2-stroke configurations. Due to 2006 EPA regulations, outboard manufacturers are now required to build cleaner more efficient engines that meet strict emission standards. This hp range is quite popular for use with inflatable boats 10-14ft, aluminum fishing boats 12-16ft, jon boats 12-16ft in length, fiberglass boats 12-16ft in length. These hulls typically require a 15” short shaft length but may require a 20” shaft length as you approach 16ft in length. These hulls typically range in weight from 125-575+ lbs.

Paddle Craft Vessel Exams

Question: Do you offer safety checks on canoes & kayaks? There is no information on safety checks for these only for power boats.

Answer: Contact any power boat vessel examiner in the Coast Guard Auxiliary or US Power Squadrons, and they will arrange for your Paddle Craft Vessel Safety Check. Use the I Want a VSC tool on our website to contact a local vessel examiner.

Can I use my boat from Canada in US Waters?

Question: In Ontario Canada, my 10' 2" inflatable Zodiac dinghy, powered by a 9.8 HP Nissan outboard, does not require registration numbers. Do I have to attach registration numbers to use it in Florida coastal waters? If so, how can I get the dinghy registered? I will be vacationing in Florida this summer. Do I need to register my vessel there?

Answer: "Florida recognizes valid registration certificates and numbers issued to visiting boaters for a period of 90 days. An owner who intends to use his vessel in Florida longer than 90 days must register it with a county tax collector. However, he may retain the out-of-state registration number if he plans to return to his home state within a reasonable period of time."

This was taken from the Florida website and Although it says recognizes valid registration certificates and numbers issued to visiting boaters for a period of ninety days, I would interpret that to mean that you are good to go, but I would have in my possession a copy of the ordinance or law section from an official publication supporting your assertion that Ontario does not require a registration for your specific class and power. Don’t depend on the law enforcement personnel to know what the rules are in another country. Taken from the Canadian regulations quoted below. A vessel owner of a craft of your size and description may voluntarily register their vessel, thus giving you the wise choice: Register in Canada and you are all set in Florida for vacation up to 90 days. That would be the best recommendation I can give you.

"Should the owners of such a vessel wish to register their vessel, they are free to do so voluntarily. A new simplified registration process has been created for human-powered vessels, or sailing vessels and small power-driven vessels with propulsion motors less than 10 hp (7.5 kW) for those who wish to register voluntarily. The registration process will continue to be delivered by the Vessel Registration office in the National Capital Region."