Protect you and your assets with these Safe Boating Tips.
As your insurers, we want you to be able to enjoy your time and belongings in a safe and responsible manner. Having a recreational vehicle like a boat is great. But we want to make sure to protect both you and your boat. Boat owners can follow these tips to insure a safe and happy time out on the water.
- Always check the weather. If you’re from the Four States, you are most likely taking your boat to the lake and not the ocean. But even if you don’t have to look out for hurricanes, you still need to be prudent. It isn’t safe to boat in torrential rain, lightning storms, or heavy winds. Check the skies and the local news before heading out.
- Use your head! We know you’re out on the water to have fun. We also know how tempting it is to show off what your boat can do! But watch your speed and always pay attention. Just because there are no lanes doesn’t mean you shouldn’t treat the water like the road. Respect other vehicles, especially larger ones which can’t turn as quickly. And pay attention to buoys and navigational signs. They were put there for a reason.
- Have your boat inspected for free! The United States Coast Guard offers to inspect your vessel, free of charge. Why not take them up on it? They can send a specialist to check your equipment and give you safety tips. Or they provide a virtual online safety check as well.
- Take a class. Whether it’s in person or online, sign up for a course to be up-to-date on the latest boating safety rules of operation. Your state may also require you to complete a class before hitting the water.
- Use a check-list. Pilots make a checklist, and so should captains! Make a pre-departure list before heading out on the water. This should include checking equipment and insuring that you have everything you need on board.
- Have a float plan. It is always best to let at least one person know where you’ll be going and how long you think you’ll be gone. Share some of the following information:
- the name, address, and phone number of the trip leader
- the name and phone number of all passengers
- the boat type and registration information
- a trip itinerary
- types of communication and signal equipment onboard, such as an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) or Personal Locator Beacon (PLB).
Captains and Passengers
- Use those lifejackets. The vast majority of drowning victims died unnecessarily because they didn’t have a lifejacket. Tell your passengers that wearing a vest is as common sense as putting on your seatbelt. Get everyone fitted for the correct size in lifejackets. If they don’t wear it, they’re not allowed on board. Simple as that!
- Learn to swim. Maybe you don’t plan on letting down anchor and swimming off the side of your boat, but it doesn’t matter. If you’re going to be out on the water regularly, you need this skill for your own safety. Captains and passengers alike can join a class at The Red Cross. You can also check in with a trainer at your local YMCA. It’s never too late to learn!
- Avoid alcohol. Vacationers break this rule the most often. We understand wanting to enjoy your time out in the sun. But you should save your alcoholic beverages for the shore. When drinks are involved, you are twice as likely to get into a boating accident. The effects of alcohol can be exacerbated by all that sun and wind. Keep your head clear!
- Find an Assistant Skipper. Make sure someone else on board knows how to operate the boat. You and your passengers will be safe should something impair you from navigating back to shore.