If you’re an avid boater, you know there’s really nothing like the first sail of the season — wind in your hair, sun on your face, and maybe a fish or two on your line. Whether you’re charting unfamiliar waters or floating on your favorite pond, any super-sized toy comes with some rules.
SAIL SOBER. You may think that you’re safer behind the wheel of a boat than you are a car after a few beers, but there’s no difference between driving a car intoxicated and captaining a boat intoxicated. Both can lead to property damage, serious injury, or death. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), alcohol is responsible for a third of all recreational boating fatalities, so wait until you’re on dry land (and have a designated driver) for a tall cold one.
LEARN THE ROPES. The CDC cites operator error as the culprit behind seven out of 10 boating accidents. Whether you’re a novice boater or someone who’s skilled at sailing, it’s a great idea to take boating education classes, even if it’s just to refresh your memory. You could save a life — even your own.
MAKE A FASHION STATEMENT. Yes, we mean by wearing a life jacket. Before you protest, know that the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) maintains that an appropriately-sized life jacket in good condition can protect you from deadly disasters — no one expects their boat to capsize. To meet USCG requirements, a boat must have a USCG-approved life jacket for each person aboard, and all states have regulations regarding life jackets for children. Make sure the life jackets on board are easily accessible — don’t lock them away or have geared stored on top of them.
BREATHE EASY. It’s rarely mentioned, but carbon monoxide (CO) — an odorless, poisonous gas — is emitted by all boat engines and onboard motor generators. CO poisoning can easily be mistaken for seasickness and kill quickly. Be aware of the risk, make sure your watercraft has sufficient ventilation, properly install and maintain equipment, and use CO detectors if your boat has living and sleeping areas (lucky you!).
Are you the captain of your own ship? Why chart unfamiliar waters when you’ll know exactly where you are with comprehensive watercraft coverage from Grinnell Mutual? Contact your local agent today at Pardridge Insurance in Sycamore to set sail for tomorrow.
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