United States Coast Guard AuxiliaryShort answer? Life jackets and flares! Beyond some ministerial items, the first two items that a USCGAux Vessel Examiner is required to check for are just that — life jackets and flares. Other required items are fire extinguishers, navigation lights, and a “sound-producing device”, i.e., a bell, whistle, or horn. (I, btw, have the Sirius Signal eVDSD SOS Distress Light, flag & whistle on my USCGAux facility – two of them. If you make the move from chemical to eVDSD, you MUST have the flag aboard too, to meet USCG regs.)

Other recommended items would be a marine radio, a dewatering device, and a first aid kit. Cell phone? Sure – but not in place of a marine radio. Not only is that the fastest way for you to call for help from the USCG but their state-of-the-art Rescue21 system can point the search and rescue crew to you. An EPIRB*? Absolutely – just remember to properly register the device with NOAA so, when you press the button in a may-day situation requesting help, appropriate information is available to them.

I would also say that getting the “gilt-edged” United States Coast Guard Auxiliary Vessel Safety Check – better known as the Vessel Exam – is always a great idea. Oh, and it’s free.

How Do I Get One?
You can go online. www.cgaux.org and click on Vessel Safety Checks. Follow a few simple prompts and you will be connected via email to a USCGAux-trained Vessel Examiner for scheduling. Fill out the form and we’ll get you connected.

BTW, if you are interested in being part of USCG Forces, email me at JoinUSCGAux@aol.com or go direct to the D1SR Human Resources department, who are in charge of new members matters, at DSO-HR and we will help you “get in this thing…”

* Electronic Position Indicating Radio Beacon