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Who doesn’t love spending their summer basking in the sun on the open water? Whether you’re cruising across the Atlantic or dropping anchor in a lake — each year 74 million Americans enjoy recreational boating. Here at KW, we want you to embrace all the fun boating has to offer, which is why we’re offering safe boating tips and practices to keep you, your friends, and your family safe on the water.

 

Before Setting Sail

Inspect your boat — If your boat has been out of water for the season, it’s important to complete a full inspection before boarding. Check your engine for fuel system leaks or heavy gas odors, as these can both be signs of a serious problem. The US Coast Guard also offers free vessel safety checks.

Fill the tank — Check your fuel levels and add what is needed. Do not fill portable fuel tanks on the deck of your boat; only add fuel when on the dock.

Test your radio — Make sure your communication devices are in working order.

Inform a friend — You should always tell someone when you are heading out on the water, where you’ll be, and what time you should be returning.

 

What to Pack

Documents — Make sure you have the proper documents when operating your vessel. You should always keep your boat certificate and registration on board. If you have a towing policy, you should keep this paperwork with you as well.

Personal flotation device — It is required by law to have a PFD for each passenger.

Fire extinguisher — You can never be too prepared for an emergency. You should always have a fire extinguisher on board.

Emergency Kit — Make sure your emergency kit is fully stocked. Your emergency kit should include a first aid kit, as well as an emergency poncho/blanket, flashlight, compass, knife, and signal devices such as a whistle and mirror.

 

On Open Water

Wear life jackets — Always wear and provide life preservers for all passengers. The U.S. Coast Guard reports that 84% of drowning victims in 2014 were not wearing a life jacket. Your boat should also have additional flotation devices in case of an emergency.

Be aware — Always be aware of your surroundings. Watch for other boats and changing weather conditions to make sure you are able to react in a timely manner.

Never operate a boat under the influence — It is against the law in every state to operate a boat while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. This law applies to any water vessel in every state, including all types of boats from canoes to large ships. The primary and backup operators should not consume any alcoholic beverages before or during operation of the boat.

Educate passengers — No matter how many times they have been out on the water, you should inform all passengers of where the emergency kit, life preservers, and fire extinguisher are located. You should also make sure passengers know how to use communication devices and are aware of the plan for emergency situations.

 

Boat Insurance

No matter how prepared you are, accidents do happen. Boat insurance can give you peace of mind on the water. Boat Insurance can cover physical damage, liability coverage, personal property coverage, as well as towing and assistance coverage. At KW, we are happy to bundle this policy with your homeowners or auto coverage; just give us a call or stop by one of our offices to learn more!

 

Whether you have been out on the water your whole life, or this is your first summer of boating — these tips can help keep everyone safe. If you have any questions about summer safety, KW is happy to help. You can visit our website or contact us at 781-751-9080 to reach our Dedham office or 617-492-4150 for our Cambridge office.