It’s summertime, and the sea is calling. Without a doubt, boating is one of the best outdoor activities that you can enjoy individually or with your family. At the same time, boating is typically seasonal, and you may wonder how to prepare your boat for the boating season.
This article discusses how you can lay the groundwork before embarking on your next voyage. If you do your due diligence, your boat can be the ticket to some much-needed relaxation, whether that involves some offshore fishing, participating in water sports, or simply enjoying a cruise on top of the waves. And when you have your boat insured with Lake Region Insurance Agency, you can enjoy your time on the water with complete peace of mind.
Getting your inspections done
Boating safety and legal requirements should be top priorities as you prepare for your next trip. This means ensuring that your boating registration, license, and decal are up to date. Of course, you’ll want to inspect your boat thoroughly to ensure it’s still in good condition. Examine the hull for damage that may have occurred since the last time you took it out, and ensure that the engine is working correctly.
Check your boat’s battery, oil, and other significant components and fluids. If necessary, change the engine’s oil and oil filter. Next, inspect your boat for its safety equipment. There should be at least one life jacket on board for each passenger, and each life jacket should be in good condition (no holes or tears).
In addition, it’s essential to ensure that your life jackets will fit each passenger properly. You don’t want life jackets that are either too big or too small. You’ll also need to have a working fire extinguisher on board (yes, a boat can catch on fire, and being surrounded by water may not do much good).
Finally, ensure that the trailer you’ll use to pull your boat to the water is also ready. For instance, provide the tires have good tread and plenty of air and ensure the trailer’s license and registration are up to date (if required in your state).
Be prepared for the unexpected
Besides the minimum requirements for boating safety and registration, it’s essential to be prepared for emergencies that could arise while you’re out on the water. One of the most dangerous emergencies that could happen is getting stranded. There are at least a couple of crucial ways to guard against this possibility:
- Make sure you can communicate with the mainland or other boats
Your mobile phone may not work as a communication device, depending on where you go. However, if you take along a radio, a flare, and a locator beacon, you may still be able to flag down help in case an emergency arises. Make sure to take extra batteries for such devices as well.
Also, keep in mind that any device you bring may get wet. If it does, will it still work correctly? The point is, you may need backups to your backups (e.g., a whistle that will be loud whether wet or not).
- Ensure that you have alternate means of mobility in case your boat motor fails
There’s always the possibility that your boat’s engine will stop working when you’re far away from land. If that happens, will you have other ways to maneuver the boat? For instance, it may be a good idea to bring along appropriately-sized oars so you can paddle your boat back to land if necessary.
In addition, consider bringing along a manual bilge pump and an anchor for your boat. An anchor may be significant if you get caught in a storm and must keep the boat stable until it passes. As a good rule of thumb, your anchor should weigh 1 lb per 1 ft of the boat’s length.
Make sure you have adequate insurance
Another step you can take in preparation for boating season is ensuring your boat is adequately insured against damage, theft, and other unexpected events. After all, sometimes, you may have no control over a situation, and all you can do is deal with the aftermath. Fortunately, boat and marine insurance can minimize the financial repercussions of any damage or loss incurred.
Depending on your chosen policy, boat and marine insurance may cover several events. For instance, policies often cover:
- Collision damage. This occurs if your boat crashes into another boat or stationary object.
- Bodily injury. If you accidentally injure another person with your boat, this policy will cover their medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and legal expenses.
- Property damage. If you damage someone else’s property (e.g., their boat, car, dock, etc.), then your policy will cover the cost of repairs.
- Comprehensive. This policy will cover losses from property damage, theft, or vandalism, among other things.
In conclusion, it’s important to effectively prepare your boat for boating season if you want to enjoy your time on the water to the full. Reach out to Lake Region Insurance Agency today to ensure you are fully covered for safe boating all summer.