How do I request and schedule a voluntary dockside examination? If you are the owner or operator of a UPV and want to participate in the program, call the nearest qualified US Coast Guard Auxiliary examiner (listed on the "Schedule an Exam" tab of this website), or simply fill out the form provided on that page and a representative will contact you.
If you operate in a remote region with no full time active duty or qualified Auxiliary members, your inspection will be scheduled to coordinate with other USCG visits to the area to reduce travel and personnel costs. However, if you coordinate with other vessels in your port to all be available during the same time period, a dedicated trip for multiple inspections can be arranged. Please contact the nearest Auxiliary or Sector Command for details.
Is there a fee for participating in this program? No! There is no cost for participating in this program.
What do I need to do to prepare for the examination? To be properly prepared for the examination, your vessel should be in operational condition. This examination can be conducted dockside or on a trailer. All required safety equipment should be on board and operational, and the vessel clean and orderly. The required charts and publications (or extracts) must be on board. Documents that are required include the current certificate of documentation or Alaska certificate of number, USCG license, and proof of enrollment in a drug testing program for all crew members.
For your assistance in preparing for the exam, a copy of the examination checklist is available for downloading on the "References" tab.
What are my obligations as a participant? The UPV / 5 Star decal is valid for 2 calendar years. By accepting the decal, you are pledging to maintain your vessel in the same condition throughout this two year period. If you also participate in the 5 Star Safety program, you pledge to maintain and carry the additional safety equipment on each commercial voyage for the two year period.
How will Coast Guard monitor my compliance? The USCG and USCG Auxiliary may conduct spot checks of vessels awarded the decal to ensure that required equipment is maintained. Failure to maintain the condition that led to your decal will result in remove of the decal.
Vessels that display a current UPV decal are less likely to be boarded by USCG units for underway safety checks. However, there is no guarantee. If your vessel is operating erratically, fails to follow rules of road, etc, you are more likely to be boarded regardless of the decal. Underway USCG boardings that find deficiencies are subject to violations.
What if I do not pass the dockside UPV examination? Deficiencies found during the voluntary dockside examination will not result in a violation, but must be corrected prior to legal commercial operation as a UPV. The examination ensures and documents that you meet all regulatory requirements.
If you fail to meet the requirements for a UPV decal, no punitive actions will be taken. You will be given a list of your deficiencies, and will have 30 days to schedule a re-examination to check off those missing items. If more than 30 days elapses, a new entire inspection will be required.
Be advised that until the deficiencies are corrected, you should not operate the vessel commercially as you will be in violation. This could subject you to penalties or actions against your license.
If you also meet some or all of the 5 Star Safety items, you will be given credit for each item. The 5 Star Program is purely voluntary. Even if you do not meet any of the 5 Star requirements, you are still eligible for a UPV decal if all mandatory items are met. Your decal will lack the safety stars however.
Can I request an annual inspection? Yes. Although the decal is valid for two years, annual re-exams can be requested to ensure your vessel remains in full compliance.