With boating season underway, now is a good time to make sure
you're doing everything you can to protect yourself, your passengers
and other boaters while cruising Northwest waters throughout the
Practicing safety and having the appropriate insurance will help
reduce the risk of injury and keep you financially afloat while
enjoying your time on the water.
Check to make sure you have the appropriate amount of insurance
to cover damage to your boat and any damage or injuries you may
cause to other boaters and passengers.
- Owners of both sailboats and powerboats need insurance coverage
just like car owners need auto insurance.
- Most Homeowners or Renters insurance policies offer limited
coverage for property damage to small boats like canoes, small
sailboats or powerboats with less than 25 horsepower.
- Property Damage coverage is typically limited to $1,000
or less, and Liability coverage is subject to the limits of
your Homeowners or Renters policy.
- For larger watercraft, a separate policy is needed to cover
both damage to the boat and liability for damage caused to
others due to owning and/or operating the boat.
- Carelessness and inexperience are the leading causes of
boating accidents and fatalities in Washington. On average,
27 people die from boat-related accidents each year in Washington,
according to the National Transportation Safety Board.
- Take a boater education class. A majority (52%) of vessels
involved in boating accidents are operated by persons 26-50
years of age.
- Always wear a life jacket. Most boating fatality victims
are not wearing a personal floating device (PFD). Children
under 13 must wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket.
- Avoid drinking alcohol.
- Take boater education classes.
- Always operate at safe speeds.
- Don't overload your boat
- Have a passenger serve as a lookout in addition to the operator.
- Watch out for low water areas or submerged objects.
- Maintain at least 50 feet of distance from other boats and
personal watercraft. " Check weather forecasts before heading
out onto the water.
- Always obey all marine traffic laws and understand distress
- Be sure your boat's fuel, lights and electrical and exhaust
systems are working properly before launching.
- Keep a first-aid kit, additional food and water in case
you are ever stranded.
Safety tips provided by the Evergreen Safety Council.
Find boater education classes in your state:
For more information about insuring your boat or other watercraft,
visit NW Insurance Council at http://www.nwinsurance.org.