Check your boat before it hits the water

by Glenn Proctor

DENVER  – The Coast Guard Auxiliary puts it this way:

“Even the most experienced boater needs a safety check.”

Division 26 of the auxiliary, based in Denver, recommends that all recreational boaters, including personal watercraft and paddle sport users, take advantage of its free vessel safety check program.

“The Coast Guard Auxiliary objective with vessel exams is to make Lake Norman a safe and fun place for our boaters and their families.  There is and always will be unexpected problems, but by having a vessel exam, we can help prevent some of these issues,” said Sandra Stewart, CGA division commander.

To arrange for a check, contact the Lake Norman area CGA www.cga or call 828-478-4459.

Non-compliance or missing items will result in a citation or a written report from Coast Guard inspectors or local police water patrols.

The following items are included in the CGA’s vessel inspection:

• Registration number on boat with proper spacing;

• Registration certificate on board;

• Working navigation lights;

• Three current day and night flares;

• Wearable and throwable life preservers;

• Distress flag (boats 18 foot or longer);

• Sound producing devices – whistle, horn or siren – capable of a four-second blast audible for at least one-half mile;

• Boats larger than 39.4 feet are required to have a bell;

• Pollution placard and trash placard for boats over 26 feet;

• Working fire extinguishers;

• Proper ventilation and working blowers;

• Backfire flame arrestor for gasoline engines;

• An anchor with sufficient line;

• Oars or paddles with boats under 16 feet;

• Working bilge pumps;

• Covered battery terminals in good condition; and

• Boats over 39.4 feet must carry current copy of navigation rules

There are three active Coast Guard Auxiliary flotillas – Division 26 – in the Lake Norman area: 26-1 Lake Norman, 26-3 Davidson and 26-4 Lake Norman West.

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