Completing the Vessel Examination Course allows members to participate in one of the primary missions of the Coast Guard Auxiliary: the promotion of recreational boating safety through on-board vessel safety checks. This course may be taken online. However, the training is vastly more effective when delivered by an experienced, qualified vessel examiner. Regardless of the mode of delivery of the course, trainees are required to field inspect at least five vessels under the direct tutelage of a qualified vessel examiner.
This qualification requires a level of physical exertion as Vessel Examiners must be able to get aboard the vessel being inspected and must be able to move through the boat either on land or afloat. It may require entry into cramped spaces and a willingness to get dirty. Auxiliarists who also serve as law enforcement officers may not be able to perform this mission in areas where they are required to enforce laws off duty, as to avoid a conflict of interest with the Vessel Safety Check program.
Boaters passing this free service are awarded a US Coast Guard/Auxiliary Decal that informs the Coast Guard, Harbor Patrol, Sheriff & Police, and other boating law enforcement agencies that your boat was in full compliance with all Federal and State boating laws during a safety check for that year.
If a boat does not pass the inspection, no action is taken against the boater. Instead, the owner is provided a written checklist detailing any discrepancies and personalized attention and advice regarding how to remedy them. The Vessel Safety Check is not a law enforcement action and results of the checks are not provided to Law Enforcement or the Coast Guard. Usually, an Auxiliary Vessel Examiner will meet boaters at their boat - back at the ramp, marina, or even at their residence to perform the checks at a convenient time for both parties.
Members wanting to become qualified vessel examiners need to follow the following 5 steps.
See the District Vessel Examinations Program & Training Syllabus web page for available District training courses.
Annual Certification Procedures: To remain certified, Vessel Examiners must complete at least five (5) VSCs each calendar year.
See the District Vessel Examinations Program & Training Syllabus web page for available District refresher training.
Re-certification Procedures: If any qualified Vessel Examiner fails to perform the annual certification procedures within the last five years, they must complete two (2) satisfactory VSCs under the supervision of a certified Vessel Examiner in order to regain their certification. The certifying Vessel Examiner receives the credit for the two recertification VSCs. The candidate must then meet the requirements as stated in the Annual Certification Procedures above to retain their certification.
If a Vessel Examiner fails to perform the annual certification procedures for five (5) consecutive years, that member will have to meet the full initial qualification criteria to regain qualification.
Workshops: The 2014 Workshop was a mandatory workshop for all Vessel Examiners qualifying prior to the release of the current VSC Manual in 2015. If a REYR Vessel Examiner, who originally qualified prior to 2015, did NOT take the workshop in 2014 - they must do so (or fully re-qualify as a Vessel Examiner under the new Manual and test) before regaining currency.