When you think of summer, you might think of afternoons spent on the water with family and friends. With so many other activities to choose from, like fishing, swimming, water skiing, or enjoying the wind in your hair, boat safety may slip to the back of your mind. Check out these eight boating safety tips to keep your boat rides smooth sailing.
1. GET A FREE BOAT EXAMINATION
The U.S Coast Guard Auxiliary offers free vessel exams to ensure your boat meets the federal and state safety requirements. Complete these free checks at your convenience to help prevent future safety issues with your boat.
2. USE A PROPELLER GUARD
A propeller guard protects the propeller and gearbox from damage from rocks or other hard objects while your boat is moving. A propeller guard will also help protect people if they come into contact with the propeller.
Propeller guard options, such as PropGuard, use high-strength aluminum and stainless steel for a durable way to improve boat safety.
3. CHECK FOR HAZARDOUS FUMES
After refueling and before starting your engine, open any hatches on your boat and smell for fumes. If you detect any fumes, wait until they dissipate to start your boat. Hazardous fumes can also accumulate in blocked exhaust outlets or when your engine is idling, running at a slow speed or stopped.
4. PURCHASE BOAT INSURANCE
Boats are very similar to cars — you drive them, park them, and they can experience damage. Boat insurance is a great option to keep your vessel safe from the unexpected. XINSURANCE offers multiple coverages under one policy to help boat owners find their ideal insurance solution.
5. AVOID ALCOHOL
Driving a boat under the influence is just as dangerous as driving a car after drinking. Avoid drinking alcohol and operating your boat at all costs to keep yourself and your family safe and prevent penalties or a driver’s license suspension.
6. BRING LIFE JACKETS IN THE PROPER SIZE
Life jackets are beneficial for more than keeping you afloat. Many life jacket designs help turn an unconscious person towards the surface or prevent hypothermia. All boats must have a Coast Guard-approved life jacket on board by law.
To find the right life jacket for your height and weight, try it on before buying. Once you select your life vest, put it on and fasten it as you would when wearing it on the boat. Your jacket should fit snugly but still allow you to move freely. If you feel constricted in your jacket, it is most likely too small.
After putting on your jacket, have a friend gently pull at the top of one of the arm openings. If there is excess room above the opening or the jacket rises over your chin or face, it is too big. Once you find the proper life jacket, test it in shallow water to ensure it is the best fit and will keep you safe.
7. CREATE A FLOAT PLAN
Whether you want to tell a family member or an employee at your local marina, it’s crucial to let someone know where you’re going and how long you plan to be away. Your float plan can include information such as:
Your name and the name of everyone on board.
A home address.
The phone number of everyone on board.
The type of boat and registration.
Your trip itinerary.
The communication equipment onboard.
8. CHECK THE WEATHER BEFOREHAND
While it may be sunny and warm when you start your day on the water, a single gray cloud can quickly turn into a fast-moving storm. If you notice gusts of wind or choppy water, these are signs of an approaching storm, and you should return to shore as soon as possible. If you are boating in the spring, be careful as the water may still be around winter temperatures.
KEEP YOUR BOAT SAFE
While these tips will help you stay safe on top of your boat, you’ll also want to protect yourself and others from what’s underneath your boat. The PropGuard is a way to protect your family and wildlife from your propeller while boating and provides an added layer of protection for yourself and your propeller.
In addition to keeping safe in the water, you want to be safe on land with boat insurance. XINSURANCE offers a customized, all-in-one approach to boat insurance to provide the coverage you need to keep you safe out on the water. Contact us today to learn more about our insurance solutions.