Coast Guard Offering Free Boat Safety Checks

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In 2021, FWC issued over 14,000 citations to Florida boaters. One third of those were directly related to safety equipment and registration. You can avoid being part of those statistics this year by having your vessel checked by the Coast Guard Auxiliary.

Law enforcement agencies may board your boat and perform a safety inspection. During this inspection, they look for items such as the required number of life jackets, visual distress signals and more. The law changes depending upon the size and purpose of the vessel. The Coast Guard Auxiliary provides recreational boaters with preventative Vessel Safety Checks.

A Vessel Safety Check is a FREE service provided by the Coast Guard Auxiliary to area boaters to be certain their boat follows federal laws and state regulations. Our highly trained and experienced vessel examiners will come to your residence or to your marina to perform the check. In 2022, they conducted over 1,600 vessel exams in Lee, Charlotte, and Colliers Counties.

Fort Myers Beach area boaters find this free service to be beneficial as it could prevent boat owners from being fined by local law enforcement while operating their boat on the water without the proper equipment. “We are able to provide boat owners information on safe boating practices while checking their boat for potential problems,” stated Greg Masonick, the Flotilla Commander of the Fort Myers Beach Flotilla. He went on to say, “The Auxiliary does not issue citations for violations, but rather provides recommendations and insight on how to stay out of trouble. Boats that comply receive an annual VSC Sticker to demonstrate their commitment to safe boating.”

According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, the 2021 boating accident review, Florida had 804 boating accidents, 60 of which were deadly. Accidents happen without warning however boater education may help reduce your risk.

The goal of the Coast Guard Auxiliary is to help reduce these numbers through their ongoing awareness programs. Safe boating classes offer local knowledge with an emphasis upon responsible boating; Free vessel safety checks to offer insight on the required equipment; and local public outreach programs.

Boaters may request a free vessel safety check online at https://www.aux91fmb.org/vsc.cfm or by calling 239-690-6780 option 2.