Summer Safety Series - Safe Summer Fun on the Boat - NYCM Insurance Blog

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May 28, 2019

Summer Safety Series - Safe Summer Fun on the Boat

Boat owners rejoice! Summer weather is finally here. Time to clean out the engine and spin the prop. But before your boat takes its maiden voyage -- make sure it’s water ready and has all of the necessary safety equipment and tools for you and your crew.

Boating takes a lot of preparation before heading out on the water. But preparing a safe boat is a key step in avoiding accidents and emergencies. Whether you’re new to the world of boating, or a veteran boater, it’s good to know and keep in mind the following tips when you’re out on the water:

1. Stick to the ⅓ rule when it comes to your gasoline consumption. ⅓ outbound, ⅓ inbound, and ⅓ for emergency reserves.

2. Know the swimming abilities of those aboard with you. If they aren’t strong swimmers make sure they wear PFDs (personal floatation devices) that are suitable for their weight. You’ll always want to make sure you have enough PFDs for everyone aboard. Place them in storage units on the boat and inform passengers of their location in case of an emergency. All passengers under the age of 12 must wear a PFD on any boat smaller than 65 feet long.
3. Just like with cars on roads, there are “traffic” rules for boats on water. Abide by them to keep you and your passengers safe. Read a list of basics here.

4. Any good captain knows that a good boat is a safe boat -- so keep it stocked with safety essentials:

     Life vests
     First aid kit
     Fire extinguisher
     Food and water
     Floatable keychain
     GPS device
     Tow ropes

5. If you’re operating the boat it’s your responsibility to ensure your ability to do so is not impaired. This means not making any reckless decisions on the water or consuming alcohol. In case of an incident it is a good idea to have a second person on board who is also able to operate the boat.

6. Although it might not be your intention to stay out past dark, it is always a good idea to ensure your boat’s lights are working properly before heading out on to the water. These will also help other boats see you.

7. Equipment malfunctions happen, and they might not always be easy fixes. If you’re stranded be sure to have extra tow ropes on board to hitch a ride from a fellow boater.

8. Plan to pull someone behind the boat on skis, a board, or tube? Before doing so, be sure to have an additional person on board to be your spotter. You’ll need to be on flat, calm water, with low traffic and no obstructions in your path. Make sure that the person(s) you are pulling is wearing PFDs and communicate to your spotter, as your only focus will be on driving in a safe and clear path. Keep the engine off until they have floated a safe distance away from the boat. Before leaving, be sure to pull up your ladder and ensure your tow rope is taut. After their “ride” be sure to turn off the engine and remind them to avoid the prop and engine when boarding the boat again.

9. Boat storage and transportation also play major roles in boating safety. Is your boat kept in a boat house, on a dock, or lift? You’ll need to regularly review and maintain this area to ensure their stability and strength. Do you instead, trailer your boat to the water? Make sure your trailer has an up to date registration and inspection. Before leaving your home, and again before leaving the water ensure that all signal lights are working correctly and your trailer’s license plate is visible and legible.

Following each of these safety precautions is what will give you, your friends, and family a fun day on the water. Accidents do happen, and when they do, NYCM Insurance has you covered.