Be Mindful of These 3 Unsafe Boating Conditions

A moderate-sized fishing boat tied to a concrete dock.Spring is upon us, which is the perfect time to prepare your boat for the warm seasons ahead. While de-winterizing your boat may be top of mind, there are some other safety considerations that you should brush up on before docking your vessel. Three avoidable – but often unconsidered – causes of serious injury while boating includes electrocution, carbon monoxide poisoning, and injuries caused by propellors. Let’s review these unsafe boating conditions and how you can properly prepare and equip yourself to deal with them.

1.     Practice Dock Safety to Avoid Electrocution

If you plan to keep your boat at a marina, you’ll likely have access to cable and electricity to charge your boat’s battery to power the lights and appliances. However, this perk can lead to potential risks. If this cable contacts the water, it can generate a lethal current of voltage. Anyone swimming in the water surrounding your boat at the time runs the risk of electrocution, along with anyone who jumps in to try to save them. To avoid this deadly hazard, ensure no one is swimming near the dock nor in a position to fall in the water. This risk is higher in freshwater, but saltwater electrocution is still possible.

2.     Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Carbon monoxide (CO) exposure is a risk factor for any boat equipped with an engine, generator, or heating system. This invisible, odorless gas is even a risk with outboard engines. To protect you and your passengers, it’s important to install and maintain CO detectors on your boat, inform yourself of the symptoms of CO poisoning – such as dizziness, drowsiness, headaches, and nausea – and remain clear from anchoring near other boats expelling engine exhaust. You should also perform regular boat maintenance and ensure exhaust ports are clear, and inspect the exhaust system for leaks.

3.     Avoid Swimming Near the Propellor

Before anyone jumps into the water to cool off, make sure the boat’s motor is turned off, and the propellor has completely stopped. Inform your passengers of boat safety tips and where the propellor is located, and once you believe everyone is back on the boat, perform a headcount to be certain. If you must approach someone in the water, do so head-on and then turn off the engine once you’ve reached them. You should also make sure you’re wearing the engine cut-off lanyard at all times when operating the vessel. If you want an added layer of protection, you can invest in propellor guards.

Boat Insurance: Protection Against Unsafe Boating Conditions

Boat insurance includes liability and guest passenger liability, so in the event of a covered event, you’ll receive help for any ensuing legal fees or medical costs. If someone should, unfortunately, be injured while on your boat, whether it be from a propeller or a noxious leak, boat insurance will step in to assist you financially. While you’ll be covered from at-fault damages, you should also consider uninsured boater insurance in the event you, a passenger, or your vessel is harmed by a third party that doesn’t carry insurance.

Taking the proper precautions to prepare for these unsafe boating conditions can protect you and your passengers from undue harm. Before you de-winterize your boat, ensure you’re up to speed on all the latest safety regulations, and be sure to review your insurance coverage to make sure you’re well equipped to handle any accidents. At TJ Woods Insurance, we can work with you to find the right watercraft insurance for your needs. If you need the help of an experienced agent who can find a policy tailormade for you, contact us today.