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If you own a boat…

With boat season upon us, how can you ensure that your boat is safe and properly insured? Did you know that there are steps you can take to reduce fatalities, injury, property damage and liability costs related to recreational boating accidents.  With the help of our partner, Safety Insurance, we’ve compiled some helpful tips for you to follow:


Personal Flotation Devices (PFD)

  • All recreational boats are required to carry one PFD for each person aboard
  • Boats 16 feet or longer require one throwable PFD
  • PFD must be USCG approved, in good and serviceable condition and the appropriate size for intended users

Visual Distress Signals (VDS)

All vessels must be equipped with USCG approved visual distress signals (watch for expiration dates). Examples include:

  • Orange distress flag (day signal only)
  • Electric distress light (accepted for night use only)
  • Hand-held flares, i.e., red flares for day, parachute flares for day or night, hand-help orange smoke signals and floating orange smoke signals

Fire Extinguishers

  • USCG approved fire extinguishers are required on boats where a fire hazard could originate from the motors or fuel systems
  • The extinguishers should be hand portable, either B-I or B-II classification, and have a specific marine type mounting bracket. It must also be marked “Marine Type USCG”.
  • Inspected monthly

Boating Safety Course

Complete a boating safety course. Most insurers offer education credits for Coast Guard Auxiliary or Power Squadron courses

Vessel Safety Check (VSC) Program

  • This is a FREE annual check available to This is a FREE annual check available to all boaters to ensure that their recreational vessels meet Federal and State equipment requirements.
  • The USCG Auxiliary or US Power Squadrons vessel examiners, two of the nation’s premier volunteer boating safety organizations, participate in the VSC Program.
  • Some of the items checked are proper display of numbers, registration/documentation, PFD, VDS, fire extinguishers, ventilation, backfire flame arrestor, sound producing devices/bell, navigational lights, navigational rules and overall vessel condition.
  • A VSC decal will be affixed to the vessel upon successful completion of the check.

Additional Safety Equipment

  • Marine radio
  • Dewatering device and backup
  • Anchor and line area
  • First Aid and Person-in-Water kits

Important Resources


For more information, visit