The U. S. Coast Guard Auxiliary
Milford Flotilla 24-03 offers free vessel
safety checks to boaters who wish to be
sure that their boats meet all federal and
state requirements. The Vessel Examiners
who perform these checks are specially trained
Auxiliarists who are kept informed of the
latest legal requirements for boaters. This
is not a law enforcement activity, you will
not be fined if you are missing any required
items. The goal is to prevent boaters from
getting equipment-related citations and
to prevent safety-related accidents.
These safety checks are meant
to be an educational experience. The Vessel
Examiners will check for all required items
on board your boat and if everything is
present and in good working order, they
will award a decal to affix to your boat.
If you wish, they will also gladly explain
the reason for the various safety equipment
requirements and explain how safety equipment
of Numbers - Forward half of boat, three-inch
high block letters, contrasting in color.
Must read left to right, state decal.
- Example: CT 1234 AB (2" spacing)
Registration and Documentation - Must be
current and on board.
Flotation Devices / Life Jackets (PFD) -
Coast Guard approved, good and serviceable
condition, suitable size for wearer. Boats
16 ft and longer must have a Type I, II,
or III wearable PFD for each person on board
(minimum two). Must also have one Type IV
throwable on board. A Type V (hybrid) may
be counted against the requirement, but
must be worn at time of safety check. Boats
under 16 ft in length have basically the
same requirements, except the Type IV throwable
is not mandatory.
Distress Signals - Required on recreational
boats on coastal waters, Great Lakes, or
the high seas. For boats on inland waters,
the Coast Guard Auxiliary requires some
means of making a suitable day and night
visual distress signal. Equipment could
include strobe light, flashlight, signal
mirror, red or orange flags.
Fire Extinguishers - Approved by Coast Guard.
Requirement varies by size of boat. Less
than 26 ft., one B-1 extinguisher. 26 ft
to 40 ft., two B-1 or one B-2 extinguisher.
(If the boat has an approved fixed system,
only one B-1 is required.) Must be in good
and serviceable condition. Pressure gauge
(if installed) must be in green area.
Ventilation - Not required on boats of open
construction or diesel-powered boats. Open
construction means NO enclosed spaces where
fumes can accumulate. Power ventilation
must be operational on boats with enclosed
Backfire Flame Control - Inboard mounted
engines must be equipped with an approved
Backfire Flame Arrestor.
Sound Producing Devices - Required. This
can be whistle, horn, etc. Must be capable
of 4-sec. blast audible for 1/2 mile. Vessels
26' and over in Connecticut must also carry
Navigation Lights - Boats over 16 ft in
length must have operable navigation lights
and all-around anchor light. All lights
must be properly installed, operating correctly
and not obscured.
Pollution Placard - Required on boats over
MARPOL Trash Placard - Required on boats
over 26 ft. Written waste management plan
required on vessels 40' and up, print
Navigation Rules - A copy of the rules is
required on vessels over 12 meters (39.4
Additional State and/or Local Requirements
- Every motorboat 26 feet or more in length
shall be equipped with a bell capable of
producing a clear bell-like tone of full
Overall Vessel Condition - Deck free of
hazards, clean bilge, safe electrical system
(covered battery terminals), fuel system
(safe, no leaks, good condition), safe galley
and heating system, if equipped.
Not required by VSC, but encouraged -Marine
VHF radio, Dewatering Device & backup,
Mounting for fire extinguisher, Anchor and
anchor line for area of operation, First
Aid, Capacity and Certificate of Compliance
discussion items that may be covered during
reporting/Owner responsibility, Nautical
charts and navigation aids, Survival tips
and first aid, Fueling and fuel management,
Float plan and weather conditions, Insurance
considerations, Boating check list, Safe
To schedule a courtesy examination you
may leave a telephone message at 203-874-0200
or e-mail FSO