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With the temperatures rising, the likelihood increases that we will receive a call regarding how a fun weekend on the water took a turn for the worse. Many times, boating accidents can be prevented with just a few simple precautions. Here are some boat safety tips to keep you safe on the water:

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!

Watch the Back of the Boat. Carbon monoxide kills in minutes. So tell your passengers where your exhaust pipes are located and turn off your engine when people are in the water, and don’t let passengers “ski” or “teak-surf” by holding on to the back of the boat. Both Washington and Oregon made teak-surfing illegal in the last few years, after several tragic deaths. Carbon monoxide detectors are standard on most new boats, while devices 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 drink and boat.

Boats Need TLC Too. When you’re out on the water, make sure your 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 United States Power Squadrons also offer free vessel safety checks.

Experience Counts! 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.  In South Carolina, boaters under 16 years of age are required by law to pass an approved boater education course before operating, without supervision, a personal watercraft (jet ski) or a boat powered by a 15 hp motor or more. Click here to learn more.

How to Protect Your Boat in Bad Weather.  Last year’s hurricane season was the busiest on the Atlantic in 13 years.  In the event a hurricane or bad storm is headed your way, move your boat if you can.  If not, double the lines to keep your boat as secure as possible.  Do not stay onboard during a storm and do not wait until the last minute – get out of the water.

Note:  A boat policy provides liability coverage if someone is injured on your boat. It also covers damage to the property of others that is caused by your boat, bodily injury inflicted on others, and property damage to your boat. Personal watercrafts such as jet skis often require a separate policy.

Do you have questions about insuring your boat?  We are happy to help make sure you have the coverage you need.  Contact us today.

For a boat insurance quote, click here.

For more on boat safety, check out the links below:

Get ready for boating season with these tips.

Are your boat and trailer ready for the water?

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