Owning a boat can fill your summer with all sorts of watery fun! Whether for fishing, swimming, water skiing or just taking a nice cruise – it’s very important to understand the rules, requirements and recommendations of boating safety to ensure every moment you spend on the water is a good one.

  1. Ensure your boat is seaworthy – Schedule a free, fast U.S. Coast Guard Vessel Safety Check to make sure your boat is compliant with state and federal boating equipment regulations.
  2. Learn the rules – Before launching your boat for the first time, it’s a good idea to take a boater safety class to learn the rules of the water. Navigating through buoys, overtaking another boat, maintaining the right speed – there are many things to consider when driving on the open water.
  3. Use a kill switch lanyard – On power boats and personal watercrafts, this simple tether between you and the ignition key will shut off the engine if you fall overboard or lose balance while driving. It also helps you to kill the engine in case of an emergency.
  4. Protect passengers from propeller strikes – Before starting the engine, make sure all passengers are accounted for and aboard the vessel. Elect one passenger to stay on propeller-watch. Consider installing propeller safety devices such as guards or sensors.
  5. Stay with your capsized vessel – If you fall into a situation where your boat capsizes, never leave it adrift. Always stay with your vessel. Not only will it provide flotation assistance, it will help rescuers spot you.
  6. Don’t boat under the influence (BUI) - The use of alcohol is involved in about 19% of all recreational boating fatalities, according to the U.S. Coast Guard. Getting a BUI is similar to getting a DUI and it can result in fines, loss of boating license, jail time and more.
  7. Leave a float plan – If you’re going to be on the water for more than a couple of hours, be sure to let someone on land know when you’re planning on returning.
  8. Check the weather – Consult local forecasts before taking off, especially during thunderstorm season.
  9. Store emergency items – make sure you are equipped to deal with emergencies effectively. Pack these items away on your vessel:
    • Radio equipment
    • Charts of the local area and a compass
    • Anchor and extra line
    • Tool kit for repairs
    • Paddles
    • Bailer or bilge pump
    • Fire extinguishers
    • First-aid kit
    • Food and water
    • Additional clothing, such as warm clothes, a hat and foul weather gear
    • Personal items (sunscreen, medicines, sunglasses)
  1. Obtain adequate boat insurance – Your boat is just as worth protecting as your home and your car. As you know, insurance protects you from the unexpected, and you can never be too sure. Ask your local Rockford Mutual Independent agent about our boat insurance today.
At home, on the road, and on the water – we’ve got you covered:

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Blog Contributor Amy Ingram
Amy Casey
Social Media & Communications Coordinator
Amy joined Rockford Mutual in January of 2017 with an Associates Degree in Marketing. Amy has a great understanding of insurance in general as she is currently working towards an Associate in General Insurance designation.