Although it may not feel like it now, summer is just around the corner. Before we know it school will be out, vacations will be planned, and boats will be hitting the water. Whether you are a new boat owner or you have had one for years, it’s important to refresh your memory with boat safety before heading out on the lake. Our friends at West Bend Mutual provided these simple safety tips for boating this summer:
- Read your owner’s manual and understand the various on-board warnings located on your boat.
- Wear a life jacket. While this sounds like common sense, the excitement of riding in a boat may take your focus off safety. A life jacket is like a seatbelt. It should be worn at all times because it can increase your chances of survival if there’s an accident.
- Stock your boat. Make sure you have an appropriate life jacket for each person onboard. An adult life jacket is not appropriate for children. In addition, if you plan to be on the lake for the day, make sure you have plenty of water, sunscreen, medications, and snacks. Lastly, make sure you have a fire extinguisher, flares, maps, and communication devices in case you run into trouble. Here is a great video resource for the proper safety items to have onboard.
- Bring a back-up. If you’re boating with friends or family, make sure somebody other than the driver is familiar with the boat. It’s not a safe idea for one adult to take a boat full of children out tubing. If the primary driver is injured or unable to navigate, it’s vital that a passenger is also familiar with the boat and can get you back to land safely.
- Keep an eye on the weather. Summer weather can change quickly. Pay attention to your local forecast and consider signing up for weather alerts that can be sent to your Smartphone.
- Be aware of your surroundings. Depending on the time of the year, boat traffic can be heavy on the lake. Make sure you always keep a close eye on what’s happening around you. If pulling a tube or skier behind your boat, always have a spotter to alert you of issues.
Taking a Boating Safety Course is another great way to ensure you have the most up-to-date information to protect you and your family. Visit your local DNR website for additional information. http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/boat/
If you haven't evaluated the value of your boat this season, contact your knowledge broker. We can ensure you have the proper coverage to get you through your summer on the water!