Vessel Safety Check

Get Your Free Inspection

Have your boat's safety equipment inspected today - It's free!  To contact our Vessel Safety Check team, send us an email:

2024 Vessel Safety Check days are planned as follows:
May 25    Mulberry Point, Stillwater
June 1      Afton Marina
June 8      Sunnyside Marina, Stillwater
June 15    Bayport Marina
June 22    St Croix Marina, Hudson

Keep reading below for more information regarding Vessel Safety Checks.


2024 decal graphic

Safety Requirements

Is your boat's safety equipment up to date?  Among 100,650 completed vessel safety checks, here are the most common reasons for a boat's failure to pass the safety inspection:

  • Incorrect or Missing Display of Registration Numbers - 5.435%
  • Missing or Incorrect Registration / Documentation - 5.574%
  • Missing Personal Flotation Devices - 2.832%
  • Missing Visual Distress Signals - 12.221%
  • Missing Fire Extinguishers - 4.501%
  • Lacking Correct Ventilation 1.451%
  • Lacking Correct Backfire Flame Control - 1.639%
  • Missing Sound Producing Devices / Bell - 5.156%
  • Missing Navigation Lights - 8.465%
  • Missing or Incorrect Pollution Placard - 2.375%
  • Missing or Incorrect MARPOL Trash Placard - 2.802%
  • Improperly Functioning Marine Sanitation Device - 2.921%
  • No Navigation Rules - 2.742%
  • No State and/or Local Regulations - 10.432%
  • Overall Vessel Condition - 4.670%

Vessel Safety Sticker

The St. Paul Squadron offers free vessel safety checks as a part of its service to the community. Any member of the boating public can request a complimentary check for a vessel on land or in the water.  Boat owners who pass the inspection are provided with a decal to display. (The decal is simply an indication to law enforcement officials that all safety requirements were met at the time of inspection.) Owners whose vessels need additional maintenance or safety equipment to comply with these standards are provided with safety information and invited back for another free inspection.

On The Water Preparedness Checklist

This is the checklist used by both America's Boating Club® and the Coast Guard Auxiliary when performing Vessel Safety Checks.

NOTE: Vessels carrying Commercial Freight or more than 6 passengers for hire require special additional equipment not included in the following listing:

  • NUMBERING -- Proper spacing, contrasting color, minimum 3-inch block letters
  • REGISTRATION/DOCUMENTATION -- Papers must be on board
  • NAVIGATION LIGHTS -- Must operate and show proper configuration
  • SOUND PRODUCING DEVICE -- Horn, whistle, or other device
  • BELL -- Boats 12m [39.4 ft.] or longer
  • PERSONAL FLOTATION DEVICE (PFD) -- One wearable for each passenger, minimum of 2. Boats 16 ft & over also one type IV throwable
  • FIRE EXTINGUISHERS -- Mounted, minimum for size & type of boat, HALON/FE241/CO2 requires current tag
  • VISUAL DISTRESS SIGNALS (VSDS) INLAND -- VDS, Flag, Signal light, etc.
  • VISUAL DISTRESS SIGNALS (VDS) INTERNATIONAL -- Minimum of 3 flares/aerial rockets or approved signals, not expired
  • VENTILATION -- For closed compartments with potential for explosive vapors and an ignition source. Installed blower must work. Warning posted
  • BACKFIRE FLAME ARRESTER -- Approved type, tight installation, clean
  • FUEL SYSTEM -- Tanks secure. Over 7 gal are considered permanent & must be grounded and vented overboard. Hoses in good condition, no leaks
  • ANCHOR & ANCHOR LINE -- Suitable for the boat and the boating area
  • ALTERNATE PROPULSION -- Boats under 16 ft, paddle, oar, etc.
  • DEWATERING DEVICE -- Pumps must work, extra manual bailer
  • OVERALL VESSEL CONDITION -- Bilge & equipment room clean, well maintained. Not overloaded or overpowered, and no automotive parts
  • ELECTRICAL SYSTEMS -- Batteries secure, terminals covered, well organized wiring, proper fuses/circuit breakers
  • GALLEY/HEATING SYSTEMS -- Secure system, proper tank installation. No flammable material nearby
  • STATE REQUIREMENTS -- Comply with all state safety requirements
  • MARINE SANITATION DEVICE -- Approved device, overboard discharge sealed
  • MARPOL TRASH PLACARD -- Boat 26 ft & over, written plan 40 ft & over
  • POLLUTION PLACARD -- Boat 26 ft & over, w/machinery compartment
  • NAVIGATION RULES -- Boats 12m (39.4 ft) and over

Additional Requirements For The Decal

The following items are not mandated by the U. S. Coast Guard, but are additional requirements for the decal. These items are required under Federal and State laws. The Vessel Examiner checks these item to assist the boater in determining if the vessel meets the requirements of these laws.

  • CAPACITY PLATE -- Visible, monohull power boats, under 20 ft
  • CERTIFICATE OF COMPLIANCE LABEL -- All Monohull power boats, under 20 ft, with installed engines (except outboards) manufactured after 10/31/72
  • HULL IDENTIFICATION NUMBER -- All boats manufactured after 10/31/72