In addition to watching out for other boaters, docks, and shallow water, boaters need to be on the lookout for submerged items that hover close to the surface due to lower water levels. Whether you own a fishing vessel, runabout, personal watercraft or a pontoon boat, boaters should look at their marine insurance policies to assure proper coverage for property damage and liability. Items on boats that should be covered include GPS tracking systems, fish finders, fishing equipment, life jackets, and other personal property left on the vessel.
The U.S. Coast Guard and the National Safe Boating Council recommends that boaters:
- Take a boating education course. We may be able to offer a discount to boaters who have successfully completed qualifying boating courses from groups such as the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, and U.S. Power Squadron.
- Wear life jackets as a rule. Most laws require having U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets on board your vessel for all passengers.
- Do NOT mix drinking and boating.
- Know the weather and water conditions.
- File a float plan. Give the information to a friend or relative who can call for help if you do not return as scheduled.
- Observe the nautical “rules-of-the-road”, including speed limits.
- Get a courtesy vessel safety check.
- Report emergencies via Ch. 16 on a marine VHF-FM radio.
- Do NOT discharge oil, trash or sewage into the water.
- Properly insure the boat and make sure it has sufficient coverage.