Be a safe boater:  have your boat inspected today – It’s free!  To contact our Vessel Safety Check team, send us an email: vsc@minnetonkaps.org.

2017 Vessel Safety Check Sticker

2017 Vessel Safety Check Sticker

Is your boat safe?  Out of 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%


The Minnetonka Power Squadron, as a part of it’s service to the community, offers the public free vessel safety checks.  Boat owners whose vessels are found to be in safe operating condition are provided with a “safe vessel” sticker that designates this condition (depicted to the right). Vessel owners whose vessels need additional maintenance to comply with these standards are provided with safety information and invited back for another free inspection.

More information regarding the Vessel Safety Check program can be found here (USPS) and here (SafetySeal.net).

On The Water Preparedness Checklist – US Power Squadrons and Coast Guard Auxiliary Vessel Safety Check Checklist

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

  • 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

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