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Old 07-25-2021, 12:08 PM   #1
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USCG Safety Inspection and California

I had a coast guard safety inspection, part of my prep to launch the boat after a major refit. Most things were fine with a couple of exceptions.

Firstly, they want a locking device on the overboard black water discharge. I knew about this, but with the valve I've got, a zip tie is the only option. Does anyone have something more elegant that they use for this?

Second, they want the coast guard documentation number 'permanently attached' to the boat. It also has to be a very specific format, consisting of : 'No. 123456' . He suggested I place numbers on a bulkhead and epoxy over it. I really don't like that solution, the epoxy will yellow over time and look like crap. I understand the reasoning but I'd like a more elegant solution.

Third. A California nanny law. Evidently I am required to have an ugly and quite large CO warning sticker at the helm, and also one by each exhaust outlet. I really don't want to put this at the helm, does anyone have a solution for this one? What have you done to comply with this? Where would I find the actual regulation for this, I'm hoping there's some kind of exception for larger boats. What person in their right mind would swim anywhere near a rumbling detroit diesel exhaust tube? It's not like this is a small boat where swimmers are expected regularly.

Here are the stickers I'm expected to apply:

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Old 07-25-2021, 12:25 PM   #2
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It's not that I don't care about CO poisoning or think it can't happen. However, any person on board my boat that swims anywhere near the stern of the boat while the engines are running isn't going to have to worry about CO poisoning, because they won't remain a guest long enough to suffer the symptoms. They'll be put to shore for failing to follow the captains rules. The external sticker is so small that you'd never see it there under the swim platform anyways and the helm sticker doesn't help anyone at the swim platform. Do cruise ships have the have these stickers? There is no exemption that I can find in the legislative action, California Assembly Bill 2222 koretz

Here is my printed guest briefing checklist (for inshore operations), it seems this should be sufficient for a large boat.

Passenger briefing
  • Safety equipment location and usage
  • Escape routes
  • Muster locations
  • Children must wear PFD while underway
  • MOB Procedures
  • Alcohol policy
  • CO Poisoning At the swim step
  • No lingering on the swim step with engines on
  • Glass policy
  • One hand for the boat policy
  • Traffic watch assignment
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Old 07-25-2021, 12:33 PM   #3
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First of all...they are USCGAUX inspections.


2...use a zip tie...big deal.... or just take the handle off once in the closed position.


3. The epoxy won't yellow in the bilge as it is not exposed to ultraviolet light (sunlight) in maybe over 20+ years. Mine is 10 years old and zero change in color.


4. Not sure of the California law on CO stickers... but if required...so be it.
Is there a standard for them? If so follow it. Not sure in the big scheme of things anyone will think less of your boat if everyone else has one.
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Old 07-25-2021, 12:46 PM   #4
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First of all...they are USCGAUX inspections.

3. The epoxy won't yellow in the bilge as it is not exposed to ultraviolet light (sunlight) in maybe over 20+ years. Mine is 10 years old and zero change in color.
Yes my apologies, USGCAUX. The gentlemen that performed my inspection was retired USCG and was extremely professional, knowledgeable and took his time to go over all my safety equipment and advise on suggestions for improvements beyond compliance. I highly recommend the process for those that have not done it.
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Old 07-25-2021, 12:51 PM   #5
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Coast Guard No. Must be permanently affixed. What is permanent? Any method that requires destruction during removal is permanently affixed. Engrave the No. on a piece of wood and bond that to the boat. I’ve seen it welded into place. The most common is epoxy over stenciled numbers.
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Old 07-25-2021, 12:52 PM   #6
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Yes my apologies, USGCAUX. The gentlemen that performed my inspection was retired USCG and was extremely professional, knowledgeable and took his time to go over all my safety equipment and advise on suggestions for improvements beyond compliance. I highly recommend the process for those that have not done it.

Glad you had a positive experience...I can only hope all others are so fortunate.
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Old 07-25-2021, 01:38 PM   #7
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Coast Guard No. Must be permanently affixed. What is permanent? Any method that requires destruction during removal is permanently affixed. Engrave the No. on a piece of wood and bond that to the boat. Iíve seen it welded into place. The most common is epoxy over stenciled numbers.
I guess I also don't see how the epoxy over method really achieves the goal, it would be super easy to just spray paint over the epoxy area, affix some new number stickers and some more clear coat. Would not be able to tell the difference.

I like the engraved wood idea. Does anyone use a metal data plate, bonded into place? There doesn't seem to be any size information on the numbers.
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Old 07-25-2021, 01:43 PM   #8
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4. Not sure of the California law on CO stickers... but if required...so be it.
Is there a standard for them? If so follow it. Not sure in the big scheme of things anyone will think less of your boat if everyone else has one.
With California, it's give an inch and they take a mile. We are no longer allowed to buy a gas can that isn't CARB approved. Every CARB approved can I've bought is GUARANTEED to spill all over the place each time you use it, that's wonderful when you are trying to fill a dinghy motor. The filler contraption breaks within the first couple of uses and then you have no way to close the can anymore. Try buying an extension cord in California, you practically have to destroy it to get all the warning stickers that are so huge that the stickers catch on everything if you leave them in place. Then you have nasty, sticky areas on the cord that collects dirt. Today it's a couple of CO stickers, who knows what's next.

The stickers are supposed to be supplied by the Department of Motor Vehicles, but my boat doesn't have any dealings with the DMV since it's documented. I can't seem to buy them.
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Old 07-25-2021, 01:50 PM   #9
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There are companies that make the documentation plaques that use PSA to stick them to the boat. I go ahead and put a plexiglass cover over them and screw the plexiglass to the boat.
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Old 07-25-2021, 02:07 PM   #10
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Almost any documentation numbers can be obliterated one way or another...creativity is key. Both for applying them and removing them....


You boat may not be directly subject to some DMV regs but just because it is documented does not remove it from state laws.
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Old 07-25-2021, 02:31 PM   #11
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Almost any documentation numbers can be obliterated one way or another...creativity is key. Both for applying them and removing them....


You boat may not be directly subject to some DMV regs but just because it is documented does not remove it from state laws.
Agree. If California says you need the stickers then you will have to comply or risk a citation. Check the law and see if diesel boats are exempt since diesels donít emit much if any CO.
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Old 07-25-2021, 03:13 PM   #12
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If you want more elegant Doc # board in engine rm make/ get a natural grain board (or Starboard) engraved #s with gold added and highly varnished / epoxy coated. You can screw it to a main structural member as long as it is epoxied for permanent mounting or just epoxied and taped in place until cured.
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Old 07-25-2021, 03:33 PM   #13
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Agree. If California says you need the stickers then you will have to comply or risk a citation. Check the law and see if diesel boats are exempt since diesels donít emit much if any CO.
I'm sure that's true. I did find the law, and it applies to all 'Motorized vessels'. There is no definition anywhere that I can find as to what a motorized vessel is, but it appears to include all-electric watercraft as well, so even a fully electric duffy boat would be required to have the stickers. not sure how you place the sticker near the exhaust, but the helm should be easy to find.

I was hoping there was an exemption that someone knew about and I could reference for either larger boats or diesel powered boats, but I'm not finding it.

The official California approved sticker says to look in the owner's manual for more information. My boat doesn't have that either.
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Old 07-25-2021, 05:04 PM   #14
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If it says all motorized vessels then you will have to do it. Unfortunately for diesel owners the legislators donít understand the difference between gas fueled exhaust and diesel fueled exhaust.
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Old 07-25-2021, 05:10 PM   #15
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If it says all motorized vessels then you will have to do it. Unfortunately for diesel owners the legislators donít understand the difference between gas fueled exhaust and diesel fueled exhaust.
Reading the legislation over, it only says that you are required to affix it at the time of sale for new or used. It doesn't say that you have to display it anywhere during operation and there is no penalty for not displaying it while operating or at rest. Interesting. It's a very poorly written piece of legislation. I guess if the sticker goes missing in a few weeks, I just will have to order some more of them to have on hand, as soon as I figure out where to order them from.

I'm surprised no one else from CA has said how they dealt with this. Anyone have a picture of their helm with the sticker applied? And do I have to put it on both helms since I have two?

I'll put it on the outer helm instead of in the salon and see how long until the weather destroys it. That's as soon as I figure out how to acquire one.
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Old 07-25-2021, 05:14 PM   #16
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Personally I hate having a lot of stickers around the helm. The boat we are buying has them all over. I will have to spend a day removing them.
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Old 07-25-2021, 05:38 PM   #17
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As for the locking device, I just put a key switch in series with the macerator switch. Just make sure the key is not in the switch underway!
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Old 07-25-2021, 06:18 PM   #18
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My 12v macerator breaker is safety wired in the "OFF" position. No more permanent than a zip tie, but I think it looks more serious.

Breakers have a little hole for some purpose...
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Old 07-25-2021, 07:02 PM   #19
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Lock with a wire tye. Carry extra 20 for $5.
I have had 2 boats with the doc number routed into a 4x20 inch piece of teak at a boat show then screwed to a stringer where it could be easily read, then the Phillips head t drilled out to make it unable to be removed. Another boat had a simple Lamicoid plastic label epoxied an athwart bulkhead.
Bottom line is you can make it hard or easy. Your choice.
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Old 07-25-2021, 09:51 PM   #20
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sbman, in reading this thread I could be wrong, but I get the impression that you don't want to comply with most of the requirements that were suggested to you.

As a lifelong boater, let me suggest to you that if you go into boating with that kind of attitude you are are going to have many, many unpleasant days on the water. Comply with what they tell you to do then go have fun on your boat, knowing it is compliant.
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