It does not matter if you have decades of experience or if you are a beginner boat operator, it is always useful to review safety rules and make sure your boat is well maintained. Below are some maintenance and safety tips for boating. Be safe boating and make sure to have fun!
General Boat Maintenance
Trailer maintenance would probably be the first step depending on where you keep your boat. Most of the boats in Missouri are trailerable boats. If you are one of the owners who use trailers often, you might want to start preparing for the season by checking if your trailer is all set to go. The condition of the tires plays an important role when it comes to safety while towing a boat, do not forget about the spare! Wheel bearings need to be checked as well-greased or replaced if needed. Use a camera or help of a friend to check your brake lights and turn signals. Make sure trailer hitch and all related equipment are functioning properly. Do not forget about rollers and supports pads!
Vessel preparation and maintenance is one of the first steps in making sure your boat is ready for the upcoming season. Required time may vary depending on the vessel you own. Make sure that engine or engines have all oils and lubricants added or replaced depending on the scheduled maintenance for your type of boat. A lot of people use services of a certified mechanics before the season to make sure engine(s) checked and tuned for the best performance and fuel economy. Also, the mechanic or marine parts manager can help you to figure out which spare parts you might want to carry with you at all times in case you have a breakdown.
Navigation and safety equipment check is important as well. Your navigation should work, so do not forget to check them. Make sure replacement bulbs are available in case some of the lights go bad. VHF radio, radar, and GPS should work properly and may need some updates. A right number of life jackets approved by the coast guard is important in case of emergency.
Boating Safety Tips
First and foremost, any boater needs to be familiar with the updated boating rules in the area. There are boating courses in every area, and usually, they are inexpensive. Today those courses even offered online where you can make sure you are up to date from the comfort of your couch. Check out official Missouri Boating Safety Course Online.
One more way to check if you are ready to get on the water is a free vessel safety check. The United States Coast Guard Auxiliary offers a courtesy vessel check. You can fill out the form on their website get assistance with scheduling a vessel check for you. Certified vessel examiner will assist you and there is no charge, the main goal is to make sure boating is as safe as possible for you and your family. Do not be scared if you do not pass, because there are no consequences.
If the safety of you and your family is your main priority, you might want to have a pre-departure checklist. It is possible to remember all you need before you depart, but a checklist always helps to make it systematic and develop a habit. You can download it from the Coast Guard Foundation website.
Other important rules include:
- Avoid alcohol while operating a boat
- Stay clear of the engine
- Assign a life jacket to each passenger
- Develop a float plan
- Do not swim in a marina
- Use common sense
One of the rules that most of the boaters usually forget is to designate an assistant skipper. It is crucial to make sure there is another person who can operate a boat in case something happens to the primary operator.
Most of the boat owners already know about required maintenance either if they just bought one or owned it for decades. But not every boat owner knows about the importance of boat insurance. According to U.S. Coast Guard Statistics in 2017 there were 4,291 registered accidents and approximately $46 million dollars’ worth of damage to property as a result of recreational boating accidents.
The first misconception about boat insurance is closely related to homeowner’s insurance. Even though the boat can be covered under homeowner’s insurance but relying solely on it may lead to being under-insured. Generally, home insurance will offer minimal protection in some instances. It is important to consult with an agent in order to be sure that you and your loved ones protected during this boating season as well.
Just like vehicle insurance, boat insurance has standard coverages that include liability, comprehensive, collision, uninsured/underinsured boater bodily injury.
- Liability pays for any damages or injuries you cause while boating, such as damage to other watercraft and objects, injuries to other boaters, passengers, your passengers including those skiing, boarding, or tubing.
- Comprehensive covers events that caused damage and were out of your control. Usually, those events include things such as theft and vandalism, explosions and fires, hurricanes, lightning, and other weather-related damages.
- Collision helps with damages that occurred to your boat if you collide with another watercraft or even submerged objects, regardless of fault. It also covers in case your boat capsizes.
- Uninsured/underinsured boater bodily injury helps to protect you from those boaters who are uninsured or underinsured.
- Medical payments pay for the expenses occurred due to the accident regardless of fault.
Different carriers offer exclusive coverages for the boat owners. Therefore, an independent insurance agent has a privilege and flexibility to help you get covered for almost any occasion. Some of the carrier’s exclusive coverages may include things like no depreciation on repairs, wreckage removal and fuel spills, water sports coverage, or even roadside assistance which can help to cover is a trailer or a tow-vehicle become disabled. Some extra coverages offered by different carriers may include on-water towing or fishing equipment replacement.
Insurance coverages can get complicated and hard to understand, therefore it is important to be up to date and make sure you know what is covered under your insurance policy. Feel free to give Mathenia Insurance or visit our FAQ page to read about common questions or submit your own.