If you’re like me, some of your fondest memories of summers past are of outings on the river in your family’s boat. Most of these memories are probably from childhood when you were just a passenger on the boat. All of the responsibility was someone else’s. It’s a unique experience to be out with friends and loved ones while at the same time feel like you’re on a guided tour. I think that serene, carefree experience is what made these outings so memorable.
If you own a boat, you’ll probably be bringing the vessel out of hibernation soon, to return it to where it belongs, whether that be your favorite lake, or the Mississippi River. Either way, my wish for you is that you’ll return to the helm with peace of mind so that you can thoroughly enjoy your time out on the water.
Now of course, as the captain, you are ever-mindful of your surroundings and your passengers. But that concern is a different thing altogether from the nagging worry that you’ve forgotten something essential.
That is precisely why you should do yourself a favor and go over your boat safety checklist now to make sure that when it slides off the trailer into the water this summer, all there is left to do is enjoy! For instance:
- Before the boat can be taken out for a ride, it is essential to have it checked to make sure the engine is running and that the battery is charged, to avoid a stressful situation later.
- Be sure that the steering and throttle operate properly.
- Check to be sure that no leaks developed over the winter. By this, I mean the gas tank, the fuel lines and the carburetor, but I also mean any possible avenue by which water might flood the boat. There are various resources on-line on how to do all these things but make sure you’re doing them correctly so you don’t cause damage that wasn’t there to begin with.
- Do you plan to do some nighttime boating? If so, then you’ll be glad you did a quick check that all of the lights in and on the vessel are functioning.
- Check your on-board fire extinguishers. Being that a boat travels on water, this one is often overlooked. Think of it this way, though: It’s a seafaring vessel. You want it to remain so, so you won’t feel compelled to abandon ship and become, yourself, a seafaring vessel!
- Every boat should have a specific storage area which contains enough life preservers to account for the capacity of your boat. These should be in an easily accessible area so you have no reason not to make them available to your passengers.
- If you are going anywhere out of the way, it is just a good idea to tell someone where you’re headed.
- But before you think of anything else, you should have boat insurance. While not required by law in Minnesota, it is certainly a good idea. For boats, basic liability covers physical damage to the boat (caused by another boat or by a dock), injury to passengers and yourself, and damage to items brought on board.
If you are planning to allow another person to take over the wheel at any time, you have to know whether your policy covers other drivers. A standard policy generally will not.
If you minimize the insurance on your boat over the months when it is in storage, then right now is the time to visit with us about the best coverage for the upcoming season. And even if you don’t, now is the time to review your coverage.
Give us a call, stop in, or click here to get a quote from your local Horihan Insurance branch office. We’ll strive to improve on your coverage from last season, and you’ll be one step closer to making more memories on a carefree, sunny afternoon.