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VESSEL SAFETY CHECK ADDENDUM. Prepared by Qualification Division USCG Auxiliary, V-Department. Sports Utility Boats.

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VESSEL SAFETY CHECK

ADDENDUM

Prepared by

Qualification Division

USCG Auxiliary, V-Department


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Sports Utility Boats


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Sport Utility Boats (SUBs) is a rapidly growing and diversifying portion of the recreational watercraft community. Sea kayaks, sit on top kayaks, white water kayaks, rowing sculls, canoes, paddle boards,


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SafetyStrong Swimming Skills Are Advised For Safe SUB Use

Sound judgment keeps you safe


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Safety Continued

Sound judgment

Gear

Skills

Supplies


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File A Float Plan With Someone Who Will Notice If You Have Not Returned As Scheduled


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Assess Conditions Continuously

  • Boat Traffic

  • Daylight remaining

  • Skill of Group


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On Water Safety Guidelines For SUB

  • Always Have A Back-Up Plan

  • Signaling And Communication In Case Of Emergency


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Sport Utility Boats, Equipment and Techniques

Fact: Every SUB has a balance of attributes.

Action: Select the appropriate ”boat” for your needs and equip it with secure flotation.

What Kinds Of Sport Utility Boats Are Out There?


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Composite craft areTough… depending on constructionCan be very lightEasy to repair (fiberglass)Less likely to flex and create turbulence and drag (faster)Little Maintenance


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Wood

  • Easy on the eyes

  • Fairly rugged

  • Light

  • Not difficult to repair

  • Very stiff (faster)

  • Require maintenance


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Skin on frame

  • Very traditional

  • Can be very rugged on open water & fragile in rocks and gravel

  • Very light

  • Not difficult to repair

  • Flex a lot (slower)

  • Require maintenance


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Folding skin on frame

  • Very portable (great for airplanes)

  • Require maintenance

  • Can be very rugged on open water & fragile in rocks and gravel

  • Weight is moderate

  • Easy to repair


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Epoxy or composite covered foam

  • Light

  • Stiff

  • Floatation is inherent in craft structure no additional floatation required

  • High performance


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Spray Skirt (Kayaks Canoes Outriggers)

  • Spray skirts, sometimes called spray decks are designed to keep water from flooding into the cockpit in rough water or when executing a roll. Don't waste your money on anything that doesn’t make a watertight seal with your craft’s coaming. A watertight seal is essential


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Paddles, Oars, Sails, and others

  • Try several different styles. Top-notch paddles, oars and sails can be made out of many materials and come in many styles. Keep an open mind.


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Life jacket

  • Comfort is most important – Life jackets only work when worn by the operator

  • Look for quality, quick drying materials

  • Pockets are great.

  • Easy to put on and take off.

  • Type III lifejackets are often recommended.


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Towing

  • Towing is an invaluable skill for all boaters. There are several things to consider when towing.

  • Towing from the stern of a SUB will significantly change its handling characteristics

  • Not all SUBs can tow another craft effectively

  • One can tow via a rope or contact tow (the rescuee hangs onto the rescuer’s Sub)

  • If towing via rope and conditions are rough, make sure that you have at least 1.5 times the

  • wavelength between you and the craft being towed otherwise it is possible the craft being towed will surf into you

  • Towing from midway between the bow and stern optimizes maneuverability

  • All gear should be simple, reliable and serve more than one purpose.

  • SUBs should have a tow system with them

  • Some level of shock absorption is helpful in a tow system (often the stretch within the rope is sufficient)

  • Practice in controlled and realistic conditions


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Helmets

  • Different helmets should be tried on. Comfort and full head protection are equally important decision factors. The best helmets protect the entire head, including the face. Consider both the need for impact protection and abrasion resistance when purchasing a helmet.

  • Running very high waterfalls needs a different helmet that someone surfing small waves over barnacles and mussel beds.


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Operation Of SUB In Cold WeatherFacts: Cold (<55F) water kills fast. Water in May can be colder than water in November.Action: Dress for immersion.


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Boat Handling

Fact: Geography, geometry and conditions vary.

Action: Be flexible.


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Getting Into and Out Of SUBs

  • Getting into and out of a SUB in calm water is relatively easy. In rough or moving water, make sure you are all sorted out before launching or landing. Given the wide variety of conditions and SUBs it is impossible to prescribe one solution that will work in every situation. So it is strongly recommended that SUB operators practice with their own SUB in controlled and realistic conditions often.


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Progressing Through Waves And Surf

  • Things to consider when navigating through waves and surf:

  • Squared off sterns with or without rudders may not slide smoothly up or down the beach.

  • Low volume sterns can encourage loss of steering control and reverse pitch poling.


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  • Fact: All operators of SUBs eventually capsize given sufficient water time.

  • Action: Practice rescues often in controlled, realistic conditions.

  • Rescues:

  • Wet exit and swim

  • Assisted rescues: T- rescue, Eskimo bow rescue, etc.

  • Self rescues: cowboy rescue, paddle float, re-entry and roll, Eskimo roll, wet start

  • Practice in controlled and realistic conditions

  • Attention: all persons attempting to rescue SUBs that are flooded and drifting out in adverseconditions


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Fact: There is no one right way to use your SUB.

Action: Keep an open mind.

  • Take a class designed for your specific type of SUB

  • Go out with skilled boaters and learn from them

  • Read books and watch instructional videos geared to your type of SUB

  • Go to SUB community or club websites. Ask questions on the bulletin boards. You will be accessing the collective experience of hundreds of boaters


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Review of the Boat Safety Check Form

Please refer to your handout to follow along


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Minimum Federal Requirements For SUB Vessel Safety Check


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Owner / Operator Information Additional Information

Good awareness (robust understanding

of many factors impacting the voyage

being undertaken)

Water temp, weather, waves, current, visibility, navigation skills, craft

design limitations, physical conditioning, skill level, other craft on the

water, local geography, etc.

Safety Check Requirements Additional Information

Sound signal (whistle, horn, etc) Ideally attached to your life jacket

Life jacket (adjusted to wearer & USCG

approved)

9 out of 10 boaters that drown are not wearing a life jacket

Overall the vessel is in serviceable

condition

Leaky hulls, lines or fittings in disrepair, leaky bulkheads – are all

reasons for VSC failure

White light & Visual distress signals

(sunset to sunrise)

Appropriate for environment you will be operating in - Expired signals

don't meet requirement and are unreliable if used.

Open Water Recommendations Additional Information

Pump or bailer Sponges do not move sufficient water for emergency purposes

Spray skirt Should fit snuggly over cockpit coaming and not allow water to pond

on top or funnel into the cockpit.

Spare paddle / oars At least one set per group

Compass / GPS / navigation charts Know how to use them & test in the conditions you expect to need

them

Tow / boat recovery system Do you have a plan if you need help getting home? Also, see above.

Marine radio (VHF) / cell phone /

weather radio

Know how to use them & test them in the conditions you expect to

need them


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Craft Recommendations Additional Information

Hull & deck sound Even a small leak can let in more water than you can bail out

Hatch covers / access plates in good

condition and secure

See above

Lines in good condition and secure If you capsize, hold on to your craft. It can potentially blow or surf

away faster than you can swim after it

Hardware secure and in working order A malfunctioning rudder, skeg, etc. can be a significant liability

Bulkheads / air bags / emergency

flotation in good working order

Many craft without floatation become unusable or sink completely

when flooded / Unsecured flotation = gone

Paddle / oars serviceable How far can you paddle with your hands?

Other Recommendations Additional Information

Dressed for immersion / helmet Cold water kills: cold shock - 1 minute, swimming failure -10 minutes,

hypothermia - 1 hour / Impact: unconscious = dead

Personal ID on operator Driver’s license and credit card is excellent

Float plan with someone on shore Route, duration, craft description, bail out options, etc.

Appropriate food and water SUBs are completely dependent on the operator for mobility. Keep

yourself well fueled

Contact information affixed to craft Your name and phone number is sufficient

Appropriate emergency kit (might

include first-aid, knife, fire starter, boat

repair, etc.)

When putting your kit together, bear in mind the type of activities

you’ll be doing and the conditions you’ll expect to encounter

Sun protection Don’t forget your eyes

High visibility clothing, gear, etc Retroflective , brightly colored, luminescent, etc.

Appropriate self rescue system / skills Practice in controlled situations similar to those you expect to

encounter while operating your craft


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Owner / Operator Information Water Craft Information

Name: Hull Number (opt):

Phone Number: Make & Model:

Attended Safe Boating Class: Yes__ No__ Row Boat__ Kayak__ Canoe__ Paddleboard__

Attended related skills class: Yes__ No__ Scull__ Other______

Color: Deck____________ Hull______________

Location of VSC: Length (in feet): <12__12 - <16__ 16 & over__

Date of inspection (YYYY/MM/DD): / / . Craft used in protected__ :open__: swift__ ;water

Safety Check Requirements Y N N/A Craft Recommendations (continued) Y N N/A

Sound signal (whistle, horn, etc) Lines in good condition and secure

Life jacket (adjusted to wearer & USCG

approved)

Hardware secure and in working

order

Bulkheads / air bags / emergency

flotation in good working order

White light & Visual distress signals

Paddle / oars / serviceable

Open Water Recommendations Other Recommendations

Pump or bailer Dressed for immersion / helmet

Spray skirt Personal ID on operator

Spare paddle / oars Float plan with someone on shore

Compass / GPS / navigation charts Appropriate food and water

Tow / boat recovery system Contact information on craft

Marine radio (VHF) / cell phone /

weather radio

Appropriate emergency kit (might

include first-aid, knife, repair kit, etc.)

Craft Recommendations Sun protection

Hull & deck sound High visibility clothing, gear, etc

Hatch covers / access plates in

good condition and secure

Appropriate self rescue system /

skills


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I certify that I personally checked this craft and it meets the requirements laid out in the form above.

Examiner (print name): _________________ Signature:_________________ Date: ___________

• I am consenting to this safety check with the full knowledge that it is provided to me as a public service free of charge.

• I understand and agree that my receipt of this safety check shall not constitute or be construed as a warranty or guarantee of

my qualification, knowledge or skills or the seaworthiness or adequacy of any of the equipment on board my craft.

• I will not hold the Vessel Examiner or organizations the Vessel Examiner is affiliated with liable in any way for advice given or

opinions expressed in connection with this safety check.

• By accepting this safety check decal, I am pledging to operate my craft in a safe manner.

• I will remove the VSC decal should I choose to sell the craft or operate it in a manner that no longer meets the requirements of

the VSC program.

Owner / Operator Signature:_______________________________________ Date:____________

ANSC 7012 A (3/10) Version 1.0


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Craft Recommendations Additional Information

Hull & deck sound Even a small leak can let in more water than you can bail out

Hatch covers / access plates in good

condition and secure

See above

Lines in good condition and secure If you capsize, hold on to your craft. It can potentially blow or surf

away faster than you can swim after it

Hardware secure and in working order A malfunctioning rudder, skeg, etc. can be a significant liability

Bulkheads / air bags / emergency

flotation in good working order

Many craft without floatation become unusable or sink completely

when flooded / Unsecured flotation = gone

Paddle / oars serviceable How far can you paddle with your hands?


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Other Recommendations Additional Information

Dressed for immersion / helmet Cold water kills: cold shock - 1 minute, swimming failure -10 minutes,

hypothermia - 1 hour / Impact: unconscious = dead

Personal ID on operator Driver’s license and credit card is excellent

Float plan with someone on shore Route, duration, craft description, bail out options, etc.

Appropriate food and water SUBs are completely dependent on the operator for mobility. Keep

yourself well fueled

Contact information affixed to craft Your name and phone number is sufficient

Appropriate emergency kit (might

include first-aid, knife, fire starter, boat

repair, etc.)

When putting your kit together, bear in mind the type of activities

you’ll be doing and the conditions you’ll expect to encounter

Sun protection Don’t forget your eyes

High visibility clothing, gear, etc Retroflective , brightly colored, luminescent, etc.

Appropriate self rescue system / skills Practice in controlled situations similar to those you expect to

encounter while operating your craft


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Conclusion and Summary


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Questions?


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Thank you for your time


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Contact info


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