Even the most careful, experienced boaters are not immune to boating accidents, which is why having proper yacht insurance coverage is so important. As the saying goes, however, safety doesn’t happen by accident.
Here are some things you can do to prevent boating accidents (and the need to make a claim on your yacht insurance coverage!):
- No alcoholic beverages if you are in charge of the yacht or boat. Not only is drinking and boating illegal, but in 2014, of the 277 recreational boating accidents where the primary cause was alcohol, there were 108 fatalities. Just as you shouldn’t drink and drive, you want to stay sober when in charge of a yacht, boat, canoe, or anything on water. It’s not worth the risk of your life or anyone else’s. Leave the party until you’re safe on shore or someone else is the designated captain.
- Watch where people sit to minimize risk of falls overboard or capsizing. More than 50% of boating fatalities are the result of passengers falling overboard or vessels capsizing. Never overload your boat and be sure that passengers never sit in an area that is not meant to be a seat (the gunwale or bow come to mind). Check to make sure that passengers are seated safely before accelerating, and always take turns slowly. Keep an eye on weather conditions; and if it gets stormy or the water is rough, head for shore so you don’t get swamped.
- Life jackets. They can’t help passengers who fall over if they’re not wearing them! It is important to have enough life jackets for all your passengers. Ideally everyone should wear a life jacket when the yacht is in motion, and it is essential that children age 13 and under have life jackets on when the boat is moving.
- Watch your speed. It can be exhilarating to race your yacht on open water, but excessive speed is one of the top five causes of American boating accidents. In 2014, excessive speed was blamed for 282 accidents.
- Boat safety certification. Have you taken a boating safety course recently? There are many such courses available, which will help ensure that you are up-to-date on safe boating procedures. If you’re booking teens for boating safety classes, you might want to join them just to refresh and re-certify. Be sure to check if you qualify for any discounts on your yacht insurance coverage after you take a class.
- Perform routine maintenance. You should check over your yacht or recreational boat each season before you head out on the water, but it is also a good idea to see to it that everything is well stocked and that your emergency radio or GPS are functional before you’re far from land. Ensure that your first aid kits and emergency equipment work – and that your crew knows how to use them.
Taking these safety precautions will help you prevent boating accidents for you and your passengers. Contact our knowledgeable yacht insurance specialists at Global Marine Insurance to review your yacht insurance coverage before you need to make a claim.