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What you should know, before you go out on a chartered boat in the Florida Keys

Ask what USCG rating the Captain has and the Captain’s experience in operating in the waters covered in your charter. This can make the difference in having an amazing trip or one that is not as safe as it could be. Local knowledge can help a Captain to avoid running aground and to find alternative locations if primary location conditions are not optimal.

Ensure that the vessel that you are traveling on has, at a minimum a USCG VESSEL SAFETY CHECK (VSC) Sticker that looks like the photo above.

Why? To ensure that you, your family and friends are as safe on the water as possible should anything go wrong. All of our sailing vessels at Sailthekeys.net have this USCG approval. You should demand the very best and never assume you are dealing with a “safe” operator.

For your information the following is a list of the items that the boat owner voluntarily complies with in order for the United Stated Coast Guard to pass a USCG VESSEL SAFETY CHECK (VSC) to obtain this sticker.

1. Display of Numbers

2. Registration/Documentation

3. Personal Flotation Devices (PFD)

4. Visual Distress Signals (VDS)

5. Fire Extinguishers

6. Ventilation

7. Backfire Flame Control

8. Sound Producing Devices/Bell

9. Navigation Lights

10. Pollution Placard

11. MARPOL Trash Placard-The International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) is the main international convention covering prevention of pollution of the marine environment by ships from operational or accidental causes.

12. Marine Sanitation Devices

13. Navigation Rules

14. State and/or Local Requirements

15. Overall Vessel Condition: as applies

a. Deck Free of Hazards / Clean Bilge

b. Electrical - Fuel Systems

c. Galley - Heating Systems

Item Yes No

I. Marine Radio

II. Dewatering Device & Backup

III. Mounted Fire Extinguishers

IV. Anchor & Line for Area

V. First Aid and PIW Kits (**over)

VI. Inland Visual Distress Signals

VII. Capacity/Certificate of Compliance

VIII. Discussion Items: as applies

a. Accident Reporting - Owner Responsibility

b. Offshore Operations

c. Nautical Charts / Navigation Aids

d. Survival Tips / First Aid

e. Fueling / Fuel Management

f. Float Plan / Weather & Sea Conditions

g. Insurance Considerations

h. Boating Check List

i. Safe Boating Classes

j. Maritime Domain Awareness

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