With spring in full bloom and summer just on the horizon, prime boating season is upon us. According to the National Marine Manufacturers Association, sales of recreational boats hit a 13-year high in 2020 and are expected to remain at historic levels in 2021. As a result, you might notice more people on the water this summer than ever before!
Fortunately, the number of boating accidents isn’t growing at the same pace—in fact, they’re decreasing. Statistics collected by the American Boating Association indicate that from 2017-2019, boating fatalities dropped by more than 6%, and injuries by over 2.5%.
That’s great news, but to make sure those numbers keep moving in the right direction, boaters need to keep making safety a priority. Here are some tips for anyone who’s about to climb aboard.
Choose the right types (and sizes) of life jackets—and make sure everyone wears them.
There are different types of life jackets for various activities, such as: vest-type jackets for calm, inland waters; offshore jackets with additional buoyancy designed for rougher water; and even those made for waterskiing, kayaking, etc. Refer to this guide from the U.S. Coast Guard when choosing a life jacket. Think about what you’ll be doing, where you’ll be headed, and who will be with you, so you’re prepared.
Everyone on board (even pets) should have a life jacket that fits properly, and most importantly, they should wear it at all times—when something bad happens unexpectedly, there typically isn’t time to put one on. According to the U.S. Coast Guard, in most cases of boating-related drowning incidents, life jackets were on board, but they weren’t worn by victims.
Keep key safety equipment on board.
There are other items you should have (or consider having) on your boat to increase safety. Fire extinguishers are required on most boats, even small vessels, so make sure you have the right type and that you know how to use it. If you have an enclosed area on your boat, a carbon-monoxide detector should also be installed.
Cell phones don’t always work well when you’re out on the water, so a VHF radio can ensure you’re able to call for help, and an emergency position-indicating radio beacon could be helpful in case you get lost. And finally, you should always carry an anchor and signal lights, even if you aren’t planning on being out at night.
Use common sense, both before and after you launch.
Keeping your boat’s systems and equipment in good shape is the first step to preventing problems, so put in the time to perform inspections and maintenance tasks. Before any trip, no matter how quick it will be, check the weather and pay special attention to wind and small-craft advisories.
When you hit the water, the fun can begin! But keep in mind that a quiet, enjoyable day could change in just an instant. Don’t speed, drink, or allow excessive distractions. Remember that there are other people out there, and when everybody does their part, boating is a lot more fun—and a lot safer—for us all.
Make sure you’re fully insured before head out on the water.
Vantage offers insurance through our Credit Union Insurance Agency, LLC, (CUIA). * Our insurance professionals are ready to review your situation and discuss your needs.
Explore your insurance options with CUIA!
You can also contact us with any questions at:
800.522.6009/request to speak to a CUIA representative
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* The Credit Union Insurance Agency, LLC is a wholly owned subsidiary of Members Resource LLC, a Credit Union Service Organization. Business conducted with the Credit Union Insurance Agency, LLC is separate and distinct from any business conducted with Members Resource LLC, its parent Credit Union or its partner Credit Unions. Insurance products offered by the Credit Union Insurance Agency, LLC are not (i) deposits of Members Resource LLC, its parent Credit Union or its partner Credit Unions, therefore are not protected by the NCUA and are not exclusive to Credit Union members and (ii) an obligation of or guaranteed by Members Resource LLC, its parent Credit Union or its partner Credit Unions and may be subject to risk. Any insurance required as a condition of an extension of credit by Members Resource LLC, its parent Credit Union or its partner Credit Unions need not be purchased from Credit Union Insurance Agency, LLC and may be purchased from an agent or insurance company of the member’s choice.