Sunday, February 7, 2016

Safety Check Time Again

If you have been reading my blog for a while, you probably already know this. The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary does a free safety check for boats.  The admirable goal of this program is to make the waters and the boats on them just a little bit safer.  Ever since I learned of them I've had one done on the boat each year. Now that we have the navigation lights all working again and we are waiting for a weather window, I figured I would see if I could get one done before we departed Southport.

I checked with the marina office and they had the name of a local Coast Guard Auxiliary member who might be able to squeeze me in on short notice.  I contacted him and unfortunately he was out of town, but he passed me on to an associate of his who came out within a few hours of my original contact.

There are some obvious reasons for doing the safety check.  They will go through the boat and check all the things that the Coast Guard will if they stop and board you.  But unlike the Coast Guard, they won't fine you if you are not in compliance, instead they just let you know what you need to correct. I know I have the occasional senior moment, so it is good to have a second set of eyes making sure the boat is safe. Add in the fact that the check is free, and it seems like an obvious thing everyone should do. It isn't too often that a free program helps to keep you safer and may save you some money and time.

It is also rumored that the safety check may even reduce the number of times you are boarded by the Coast Guard.  Upon successful completion of the safety check you are given a sticker to apply to the port side of the boat.  The theory is that if the Coast Guard is considering boarding you and come up along side and see the sticker, they may decide you are most likely to be in compliance and not worth the time to board and inspect your boat.  This, of course, assumes you haven't done anything else to attract their attention. I don't know that it is true, but I can tell you that the Coast Guard has pulled up alongside my boat on a couple of occasions, waved, and moved on.

If you own a boat, I highly recommend getting a safety check done each year.  To see what they check and request a safety check, go the Coast Guard Auxiliary web site:

It is well worth the small amount of time spent.

Image from the US Coast Guard Auxiliary web site.

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