Boating Season

Puppy Sleeping on Boat in Lehigh Anchors, FL

Yay! It’s almost Florida lobster season! That means it must also be Boating Season.

Every summer, our team gets a few calls from clients after their fun weekend on the water went south on them. Often, these accidents could have been prevented with just a few simple precautions. Here are some tips we like – courtesy of our partners at Safeco.

Life Preservers Aren’t Just for Kids. It’s not enough to just have life jackets on board — wear them! In an accident, people rarely have time to reach for a life jacket. This rule applies to adults, not just children. Not a fun fact: more people in their 30s die in boating accidents than any other age group. If you hit something and bonk your head on the center console, it simply does not matter how well you can swim if you are out cold.  Plus, life vests have come a long way in both comfort and style. Today, you can even get vests for your water-loving dog!

Watch the Back of the Boat. Carbon monoxide kills in minutes. Tell your passengers where the exhaust is so they can avoid the fumes. Turn off your engine when people are in the water. A spinning prop can very easily make a life-threatening cut. If you are water skiing, always have two people in the boat. One person can drive, and the other can be the spotter for the skier. 

Alcohol and Boating Don't Mix. More than 50 percent of drowning’s result from boating incidents involving alcohol. You don’t drink and drive, nor should you drink and boat.

Boats Need TLC Too. When you're out on the water, make sure your gas tanks are vented, and bilges are free of vapors, oil, waste, and grease. Carry a charged fire extinguisher. Have your boat's operating systems checked yearly by a certified marine technician. The Coast Guard Auxiliary and United States Power Squadrons also offer free vessel safety checks. 

Experience Counts! The U.S. Coast Guard says that operator errors account for 70 percent of all boating accidents. You can also earn boat insurance discounts from Safeco and other insurers if you complete a safety course with the Coast Guard Auxiliary or U.S. Power Squadrons.

Now get out there and go cruising to Cabbage Key for a burger! Thanks, now you are making me jealous sitting at my desk typing and you’re off to eat a cheeseburger and drink a Cabbage Creeper. By you, I mean the passengers. The driver can have sweet tea!

Sites for Information:

Coast Guard: www.uscgboating.org

Coast Guard Auxiliary: nws.cgaux.org/

Call Goodlad & Swank Insurance or e-mail info@goodladandswank.com for details. We also have a list of summer boat safety classes that can save you money!