With everyone running toward the beach to enjoy the last days of Summer, the crowds, noise and sweltering sun make it almost impossible to read a book in silence, let alone relax. Only boat owners can fully appreciate the quietness and calmness of the water as they sail away from life’s distractions. It’s important to take care of your boat and avoid any unforeseen mishaps that could cost you a fortune. The advice and tips below will ensure that you avoid traveling in ‘muddy water.’
Protecting Your Boat
When it comes to your boat, it’s crucial to have it insured. You should make sure the policy is current; which means you need to update your boat insurance policy to account for any refitting or major upgrades. If you upgrade or refit material that changes the market value of the boat, you need to upgrade your policy to reflect the replacement value of the boat. Keeping this is mind, it’s important to keep an inventory. Create a list of everything of value on the boat, by serial number. It’s also a good idea to photograph everything and to keep the receipts and inventory in your home; in case something were to happen to the boat and you were unable to retrieve these items.
Basic maintenance is a vital part of boat ownership. Tasks such as periodically changing the engine oil and cranking the motor up on a regular basis to keep fluids moving through the hoses prevent major repairs and the replacement of entire engines. Simple errands like these reduce overall boat ownership costs immensely.
People who own sailboats, canoes and engine-powered boats usually have coverage under their home insurance policy for physical damage. However, coverage is very limited. There is no coverage under a home policy for yachts, large boats, wave runners, jet skis and similar watercraft. This is why separate boat coverage is so valuable. The fittings, machinery, hull and furnishings are all included with physical damage coverage. They are covered up to a predetermined amount, and these added polices offer protection for the following:
- Damage to another person’s property.
- Injuries to other people.
- Injuries to boat passengers or the boat owner.
- Any legal expenses resulting from another person using the boat without permission.
It’s a boater’s responsibility to not only keep their boat safe, but its passengers as well. Alcohol is cited as the main contributing factor in boating accidents that end in fatalities. Inattentive operators, inexperienced operators, machine failure, improper lookout and high speeds ranked as the next most common contributing factors. About 70 percent of all accident victims die by drowning, and nearly 85 percent of those deaths happened to people who were not wearing life vests. Even if a person has good insurance coverage, there are several tips experts provide to assist people in avoiding the need to file claims:
- Let another person know that a boating trip is planned, and give an estimated return time.
- Check the weather before planning a boating trip and before heading out.
- Carry at least one fire extinguisher, and keep it handy and in good condition.
- Check the electrical system, steering, fuel, engine and exhaust before heading out.
- Do not overload the boat, and always make sure weight is evenly distributed.
- Make sure the vessel has a horn, bell, whistle and appropriate navigation lights.
- Do not operate a boat or allow anyone else to operate one under the influence of alcohol.
- Ensure all passengers wear life vests at all times.
Whether you prefer to sail in a lake or ocean, these tips will ensure that your boat and its passengers are safe. Having full protection over your investment will give you one less thing to worry about; which means you can focus on sand, sun, fun and lots of fishing.