Question: Are all passengers required to wear a life jacket or have one available for each passenger?
Answer: Each state has their own laws about the wear of life jackets. For more information, contact your state boating agency. Also, any boat over 16' is required to carry (except for canoes and kayaks) a Type IV throwable device.
As for children, the Coast Guard requires that each child under 13 wears a life jacket unless they are in a enclosed cabin or below decks. If a state has a different law for children than the Coast Guard, then the state law is followed in waters that the state has jurisdiction.
For a Vessel Safety Check (VSC) from the Coast Guard Auxiliary, you will need to show each passenger has a life jacket that is Coast Guard approved. It is recommended that everyone always wears a life jacket. If you are not wearing one, you need to have it readily accessible and in working condition. A life jacket will not save your life if you cannot access it or it will not function.
For more information about life jackets, visit the Federal Requirements Brochure, and look at pages 9-16.
Question: Recently when I was out underway I say a boat that had red and green rope lighting for nav lights. The lighting was were your rub rail would be. It appeared that the rope was close to giving proper angle. They ended the lights on the curve of the bow. Would something like this be acceptable?
Answer: It sounds like what you are seeing are the new LED lights. If the boat is new and if the lights were installed by the manufacturer, then it would pass an inspection for a Vessel Safety Check (VSC). If someone installed a piece of rope light, then they are not. Lights need to be USCG approved and each side should shine 112.5Â° from center.
Question: What navigation lights are required for 16' open aluminum skiffs powered by outboard motors when the boats were manufactured with no lights? These skiffs have no electrical systems and carry no batteries.
Answer: 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"ï¿½ light.
The requirements of a Vessel Safety Check (VSC), you will need to install navigation lights. There are many places where you can have lights with a proper electrical source installed, or depending on your skill level, you can do it. My recommendation is to contact a marine supply store. They should carry the navigation lights you need. They should also be able to recommend where you can have the lights installed. All installed lights should meet Coast Guard regulations for navigation lighting.
For more information about navigation lighting, please visit page 27 of the A Boater's Guide to Federal Requirements for Recreational Boating and Safety Tips brochure.
Visit our Online Virtual Vessel Safety Check webpage to see what you vessel needs to be safe and to successfully complete a VSC.
Question: Is there some place where I can borrow children life vests?
Answer: I don't know of any place where you can borrow life jackets. Some places that rent boats or other types of crafts (kayaks, canoes, etc) may provide life jackets. However, I strongly recommend that you purchase life jackets. Most life jackets are relatively inexpensive. They can be purchased at many large retails stores, boating supply stores, sport stores, or online. It is worth the peace of mind knowing you have a new and reliable life jacket.
Here is more information about how to select a life jacket for children - Personal Flotation Device (PFD) for children - CHILDREN & PFD SELECTION. Also, LIFE JACKET WEAR / WEARING YOUR LIFE JACKET, provides more information. If you are in the situation where children need life jackets, it is advisable that adults should be wearing one also.
Question: I have just purchased a 27 foot sailboat built in 1976. The boat came with a marine toilet which discharges directly overboard. The through hull has a wooded plug driven into it from outside. There is no place to put in any kind of holding tank. Short of a porta-potty, do i have any other options?
Answer: All recreational vessels with installed toilet facilities must have an operable marine sanitation device (MSD) on board. Direct discharge toilets are illegal unless the vessel is operating under a waiver granted by the Commandant of the Coast Guard. Installed toilets that are not equipped with an MSD, and that discharge raw sewage directly over the side, are illegal.
Vessels 65 feet and under may install a Type I, II, or III MSD. The Marine Sanitation Device web page describes the different type of MSDs. The exception is portable toilets. Portable toilets are not considered installed devices and are therefore not subject to the regulations. Sewage from portable toilets may not be dumped overboard in U.S. waters.
If you cannot install a MSD on your vessel, than it is advisable that you remove the marine toilet. Your option if you wanted toilet facilities would be to carry a portable toilet.
Question: I had a vessel safety check performed on my boat in June of this year and was NOT awarded a decal. My boat is a 12 ft. open runabout, powered by an outboard motor. I was rejected from receiving the decal because of failure(s) of not having a fire extinguisher and failure of state and local requirements. It is my understanding that recreational boats under 26 ft. and powered by an outboard motor are NOT required to carry a fire extinguisher. I believe that the failure to meet state and local requirements was checked as failed because of this lack of a fire extinguisher, since the boat met all of the other requirements and this was the only area that the examiner spoke to me about. The examiner stated that because the boat carried a portable fuel tank for the outboard, it was required to carry a fire extinguisher. Please explain this contradiction.
Answer: You are correct that in most cases a craft of your size and with an outboard motor would not need a fire extinguisher.
Here is a list of exceptions:
I cannot comment on the state regulations since I do not know in what state your craft has registration.
If you believe your boat meets the requirements, my best suggestion is to contact another Vessel Examiner for a recheck. The Coast Guard Auxiliary I Want a Vessel Safety Check! web page will help you in contacting an examiner. Since we are all volunteers, please allow up to few days to receive a response.
Question: I have a 21 foot cuddy cabin and I was wondering if someone is allowed to ride on the bow while boat is in motion, I have a rail that goes around the entire bow.
Answer: There is no Federal Law that we are aware of and you would need to check with your local and state authorities to see if they have one.
Safety would dictate some judgment needed here and if there is an appearance of danger a voyage could be terminated. An example would be high speed and waves, wakes, or obstacle's that would cause a sudden turn of the boat that could cause a person to fall in the water and possibly be severely injured or even killed by the boat's propeller.
Question: I have a type A,B,C extinguisher on the 34 foot sailboat( diesel engine). I am told I also need a type B2. Is this correct?
Answer: It's almost correct, this is what the rules state for your size boat:
Minimum number of extinguishers required:
Boat Length - No Fixed System - With Fixed System
26' to less than 40' - two B-1 or one B-2 - one B-1
So two B-1 extinguishers or one B2 would be acceptable unless you have a fixed system which you did not mention.
Question: Does your Throwable device need a line or rope attached to it?
Answer: The rule states that Throwable devices shall be "immediately available." But our training shows that good practice is to have a line attached so you can pull the throwable back in if you do not get it close to the target and to be able to pull the person back to the boat as well.
Question: What if any are the requirements for "kill switch". I have a 21ft Bayliner with a cabin.
Answer: During a Vessel Safety Check the Kill Switch is one of the many items we check:
Safe 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 or 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.
As you can see the PWCs require a Kill Switch be used and in working condition. For your boat if one is installed and I've not seen a modern day boat without one, it must be in working condition. The test is to start the engine and pull the kill switch lanyard to kill the engine. It is generally mounted on the dash by the helm.