The Martha’s Vineyard Coast Guard Auxiliary has issued a reminder to boaters that vessel safety examinations (VSEs) are available at no cost for recreational boat owners.

Conducted by Coast Guard Auxiliary certified examiners, the safety checks ensure boat owners have all required safety gear, including life preservers, working navigation lights, distress signals and correct registration and documentation. Boats that pass the VSE are awarded a decal, valid for one year, certifying the vessel has met all safety criteria.

VSEs also permit Coast Guard Auxiliary examiners the opportunity to educate owners on new state and federal regulations, such as the new federal law mandating the use of engine cut-off switches or lanyards for vessels 26 feet or less.

Vessel examinations are available by appointment, whether the boat is on the water or out, and conducted with full Covid-19 safety protocols, according to the announcement. To schedule a free vessel safety check, visit and click on “Vessel Examinations” or email

In addition to examinations for boats, the auxiliary also inspects paddlecraft such as kayaks and canoes and has complimentary “If Found” stickers available. The stickers not only help owners recover their lost property but can also save lives by preventing rescue operations being launched for unmanned paddlecraft. Also, boating safety classes are offered by the flotilla.

The Coast Guard Auxiliary is the uniformed, volunteer component of the United States Coast Guard and assists the service in all non-military and law enforcement operations with a primary focus on recreational boating safety. The Martha’s Vineyard Flotilla is open to new members and encourages anyone interested in joining to visit