Boat insurance protects one of the biggest investments you’ll ever make besides your home, but if you are caught in high winds your primary concern will be the safety of your passengers. Strong winds are not only dangerous to sailors, but for all boaters because they can create low visibility and high seas. These are ideal conditions for a collision, capsizing and flooding.
Boaters safety courses can provide some practical tools for coping if you are caught boating in high winds. The techniques you learn in these classes could prove to be invaluable if you are caught in dangerous winds. An added benefit is that a reputable boat insurance company will provide discounts to boat owners who have taken boaters safety classes.
If you are caught in strong winds here are few tips on getting out of it safely. First of all, you need not panic. Remain calm and begin assessing the situation. Try to determine if the storm will last long. If the winds have created low visibility attempt to remember if there were any boats in the vicinity. Determine if it would be better to stay put or slowly drive out of the storm.
If the storm looks like it will move through quickly and there are other boats in the area it may be safer to position yourself into the wind and put the boat in gear, applying just enough throttle that you hold your position. The last thing you want to do is travel at high speeds when you can’t see boaters, islands, rocks and other dangers. Any boat insurance agent will tell you that colliding with another boat in low visibility is an imminent danger. Avoid heading to the shallow waters especially if the wind is blowing towards the land.
If you are in a sailboat, drop the sails instantly to avoid damage to the boat and capsizing. Re-start the engine if you had switched off and make an attempt to head towards the mooring or docks area. Put on a life jacket. If you have passengers on board, instruct them to do the same. If the winds are not too strong, sails can be dropped as you let the boat take its course. In the meantime, leave the deck and shelter yourself below. This is also known as lying a-hull. It works when the storm is not too heavy and you are far from the port.
Another concern with high winds is the danger of capsizing. Boat insurance coverage may cover damages from capsizing but your safety is the top priority. Forty percent of boating related deaths are linked to capsizing. In high winds you may need to take the boat out to sea or angle the boat so it is able to ride up and over waves instead of crashing into them head on.
Above all things, think safety first, not even the best boat insurance coverage can compensate for taking precautions and practicing safe boating techniques. Make sure everyone is wearing a lifejacket and do what you can to navigate out of the storm without colliding into another boat, getting pushed onto shore or capsizing. If you take preventative measures your odds of navigating the storm without injury or damage are greatly increased. To speak with a boat insurance agent about selecting a boat insurance policy call 800-748-0224 today.