It’s boating season! Every summer we get calls from customers after a fun weekend on the water takes a turn for the worse. Often, these accidents are preventable with just a few simple precautions. Keep in mind these tips for a safe boating season. You don’t want an accident to wreck your fun!
Life Preservers Aren’t Just for Kids
It’s not enough to just have life jackets on board—wear them! In an accident, people rarely have time to reach for a life jacket. This rule applies to adults, not just children. More people in their 30s die in boating accidents than any other age group. Life vests have come a long way in style. Today, you can even get vests for your water-loving dog!
Most home insurance policies have limited coverage for boats. If you own a boat, watercraft insurance is your best bet. It covers theft, damage, and injuries or accidents while you’re on the water as well as some expensive water sports gear.
Watch the Back of the Boat
Carbon monoxide kills in minutes. Tell your passengers where the boat’s exhaust pipes are located and turn off the engine when people are in the water. Don’t let passengers “ski” or “teak-surf” by holding on to the back of the boat. Some states made teak-surfing illegal in the last few years after several tragic deaths. Carbon monoxide detectors are standard on most new boats and can be installed on older boats for less than $100.
Alcohol and Boating Don’t Mix
More than 50 percent of drownings result from boating incidents involving alcohol. You don’t drink and drive, so don’t boat and drive.
Boats Need TLC Too
When you’re out on the water, make sure the gas tanks are vented and bilges are free of vapors, oil, waste, and grease. Carry a charged fire extinguisher. Have your boat’s operating systems checked yearly by a certified marine technician. The Coast Guard Auxiliary and U.S. Power Squadrons also offer free vessel safety checks.
The U.S. Coast Guard says that operator errors account for 70 percent of all boating accidents. Make sure anyone who drives your boat is properly trained. You can also earn boat insurance discounts from insurers if you complete a safety course with the Coast Guard Auxiliary or U.S. Power Squadrons.
Reposted with permission from the original author, Safeco Insurance®.