According to Transport Canada, an average of 100 people die each year in boating accidents in Canada. The following tips can help you prepare for a safe boating season.
- Keep an eye on the weather: weather can change rapidly and have a big impact on your trip. Check the forecast before you head out and be aware of the closest shelter in case of a sudden summer storm. Never hesitate to head back to shore if it looks like the weather might suddenly turn nasty.
- Inspect your boat: make sure the engine and all equipment is working as it should. Your owners’ manual or a local marine mechanic should be able to help you if need be. Once your boat is 10-15 years old, and every five years after, your insurance provider will ask for proof of a professional survey. These inspections may discover mechanical or structural problems hidden from the boat owner or operator’s sight.
- Insurance: some homeowners’ policies provide automatic coverage for watercraft such as canoes, rowboats or sailboats. For boats with higher value or higher horsepower-to-length ratio, you need separate insurance coverage. Whatever kind of boat you own, give us a call just to be sure you have adequate coverage. Make sure your boat is insured to its current market value to ensure you recover the full worth of the boat in the event of a total loss. Most insurance companies recommend coverage of at least $2 million in case any physical damage or personal liability occurs. Your homeowner’s insurance may not cover all instances of marine liability. If you are not certain, be sure to check with your BrokerLink branch.
- Safe fuelling: fuelling a boat requires more caution than when you pump gas for your car. Be sure your boat is moored securely and all engines or power supplies are off. Never smoke while fuelling and ensure there are no open flames nearby. Ground the nozzle against the filler pipe, do not overfill your tank and always clean up any gasoline spills.
- Boat weight: know your boat’s weight restrictions before allowing people or equipment on board. Make sure the weight is evenly distributed- your boat can become unstable if there’s too much weight in one area.
- Common sense: always have enough life-jackets for everyone on board and make sure they work properly before you leave. Remember your boat is just like any other vehicle- operators require Proof of Competency, watch your speed and never drink & drive.
Protect yourself and your “toys”- talk to your local BrokerLink branch about boat insurance, or coverage for any of your seasonal vehicles.