Stay afloat with these boating safety tips

Rachel WinslowRisk Management

Shorts, flip-flops, BBQs and cold brews. Tis the season of sunshine and Topsiders. (They’re back. Just ask Hip Daddy.)

As the mercury creeps up, so does the popularity of those who own boats. Popular you may be, but what you don’t want are claims against your watercraft insurance policies. (Boat and yacht owners -…you do have watercraft insurance right?)

Yes, owning a boat carries extra risk, but with the right precautions, you can cruise carefree all season. Follow these tips to keep things safe on the high seas or the local lake:

Expert Safety Check — Don’t float your boat without first having the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary perform a FREE inspection. Yes, that’s right…FREE. Just fill out the form on this website to get the process started.

Know Your Driver Knows His Stuff — Whether you’re the captain of the ship or just along for the ride, make sure your driver has the knowledge and skills to keep things safe. There are several online options, such as this one, that offer state-specific safety courses and tests for earning a Safe Boating Certificate. Note: Completing a course like this is mandatory for watercraft operators in Connecticut.

Carbon Monoxide…Not Just An Indoor Threat — It’s not pleasant to think about, but carbon monoxide from malfunctioning generators and motors is a silent killer that can creep up on boating passengers. Install and test a CO detector in enclosed spaces, and be aware that even without a roof overhead, CO can build up and cause problems for those nearby. CO symptoms are similar to seasickness or alcohol intoxication. CO can affect you whether you’re underway, moored, or anchored. It’s odorless and tasteless and can cause serious illness very quickly.

Don’t Drink and Drive…Your Boat Either!  — This should go without saying, but you shouldn’t even be driving a bike while intoxicated, let alone a boat. The solution on the sea is the same on the land: If you or your captain just can’t resist the gin and tonics, turn the wheel over to your designated driver.

Life Jackets…For Swimmers and Non-Swimmers Alike — There should be a life jacket (that fits) for everyone on board your boat…and all should be wearing them! Gone are the days of puffy orange for all. Modern life jackets come in all sorts of styles and colors. Some are super thin and inflate when they hit water. There’s no excuse to not wear one. If you have any doubt, just focus on the first word in the item’s name.

Have a safe summer!

Rachel Winslow

Rachel Winslow: Commercial Lines Account Manager