Spring is upon us and it is time to prepare your boat for the first launch of the year. Reviewing boat safety is always a good idea before the first cruise of the season. This includes an inspection of your boat and the equipment you have onboard. You will also want to make sure all of your documents are up to date, as most marinas will require proof of boat insurance before issuing a slip. Here is a short list of tips to prepare for the upcoming boating season.
Preparing Your Boat
Complete legal requirements first and verify that your registration, boat insurance, license, and decal are all current. A boat insurance policy provides property damage and bodily injury liability, giving you added peace of mind when out for a day of sun, wind, and water.
Once you have all paperwork in order, it is time to inspect your boat.
- Check the hull for any damage that may have occurred in the offseason.
- Ensure that your engine and water pump are working properly.
- Test navigation lights, GPS, radars and radios, and purchase replacement bulbs and batteries.
- Check and repair, if needed, all onboard safety equipment.
- Life jackets are crucial to safety on the water with one jacket per person required. Check that no holes are present and that they will still fit your friends and family.
- In the event of engine failure, you will need paddles or a trolling motor to return safely to shore.
- Do you have the correct type of flares?
- Have you inspected your anchors, anchor lines, and dock lines?
- Has your fire extinguisher expired?
- If you are transporting your boat to launch, do not forget to assess the trailer. Examine all tires, hitches, wires, and bearings before transport.
Safe Boating Tips
Once your boat has passed its seasonal check up and the time has come for your first departure. There are precautions that should be taken to ensure a fun and safe time on the water.
- Look up weather conditions before leaving the marina to avoid being caught in a storm.
- Each person on the boat should wear their life jacket at all times.
- Develop a float plan to alert someone on shore if you are gone longer than expected.
- Do not rely on your cell phone as the only means of communication. Multiple devices such as radios, walkie-talkies or locator beacons with spare batteries are good choices.
- A secondary captain should be capable of operating the boat should the need arise.
- Avoid alcohol while on the water.
Following the rules of the water will ensure a safe and happy boating season!
Before your next trip on the water, be sure you have the coverage you need for your boat insurance. Our team is happy to assist in helping answer your questions and making sure you are fully covered. Call us at (800) 443-7007.