Cast Off (Safely): 9 Tips for Boat Safety and Security
With summer quickly approaching, many boat owners across the West are already gearing up for recreational boating season. While boating can be a fun activity for the whole family, it is important to make sure you, your family, and your boat are protected both on the water and at the dock. Read on for tips from our boat insurance experts that can help you make sure you stay safe through all of summer’s aquatic adventures.
Homeowners Insurance vs. Boat Owners Insurance
Even if you follow every recommended boating safety rule, accidents can still happen on the water. As a boat owner, one of the most important things you can do is ensure that you have the proper coverage for your craft. If you already have a homeowners insurance policy, this type of coverage often protects small crafts, like canoes and rowboats. Make sure to check with your insurance agent to see if your homeowners insurance policy provides coverage for your watercraft of choice.
If your boat has a motor or is larger than the small crafts listed above, you will likely need a boat owners insurance policy. This type of policy will provide you with physical damage and liability coverage for larger motored crafts. One thing to keep in mind when considering a boat owners policy is that many insurance companies will only write this type of policy if you already have a homeowners insurance policy with them. Also remember that many insurers have limitations in the size and type of watercraft they will insure. Talk to your local independent agent to find a policy that best meets your boating insurance needs.
Boat Safety Tips
When you’re out on the water, your top priority should always be ensuring the safety of yourself and your passengers. Here are a few of the many ways you can make sure you’re sailing safely:
- Have a Life Vest for Each Passenger – The U.S. Coast Guard requires that a vessel must have one life vest per person on board. It’s important to make sure that your life vests are appropriate for your current passengers. For example: adult life vests should not be used on children. Lastly, don’t forget that life vests can break down over time. It is important to test your life vests at least once a year. Visit the U.S Coast Guard website for more life jacket safety tips.
- Take Water Safety Courses – Errors account for 70% of boating accidents, according to the U.S. Coast Guard. That is why it is important take boat safety classes in your area before getting behind the wheel.
- Follow All Maritime Laws – Just as drivers need to follow the rules of the road, boaters are required to follow all maritime laws. If you are unfamiliar with these laws or even if you just need a refresher, a water safety course will be able to provide you with this information.
- Carry a First Aid Kit – You never know what will happen out on the water. Carrying a well-stocked first aid kit will help you be prepared for a variety of accidents.
- Never Allow Drinking and Driving – We are all familiar with this law when it comes to our cars, but the same is true for boats. Boating under the influence is just as dangerous as drinking and driving. Visit the U.S. Coast Guard website for more tips on avoiding BUI.
Tips for Boat Security
Here at Grange Insurance Association, we understand how big of an investment purchasing your own boat can be. That’s why it is important to be smart when it comes to boat security. These 4 boat security tips are a great place to start:
- Moor Your Boat in a Well-Lit Area – Storing your boat in a well-lit marina can be a big deterrent for many thieves. Consider stowing your craft in a location with security and get to know your marina neighbors so that you can keep an eye on each other’s boats.
- Secure Your Boat to the Dock – Boats that are not secured to the dock are an easy target for thieves because they can simply be hitched up and towed away. Secure your boat to the dock with a boat security lock, preferably one with a locking steel cable.
- Secure the Outboard Motor to the Boat Itself – Not all thieves are out to steal your entire boat. Engine thefts may be more common than you might think. By securing the outboard motor to the boat itself, you can help to prevent the theft of what is often one of the most expensive parts of your boat.
- Install an Alarm System – Make your craft even less attractive to thieves by installing a boat security alarm system. Some alarm systems even have an engine kill switch, which makes your boat harder to steal without attracting a great deal of attention.
Don’t let an accident or a stolen boat ruin your summer fun. With help from the tips above, you and your family will be on the way to enjoying your time on the water safely and securely. Interested in finding the right homeowners or boat owners insurance policy for you? Use our find an agent tool to locate local independent insurance agencies in your area!