Summertime Boating & Swimming Safety

Boat InsuranceWith summer in full swing, it’s time once again to take that trip to the cabin, get the dock out and put the boats back on the water.  At this time of year in Minnesota so many people look forward to spending a day on the boat fishing, going for a swim, water skiing, or just riding around on the lake on a nice sunny day.  With so many boats on the water, safety is the main concern regardless of the water sport.   Unfortunately accidents on the water happen more frequently than we realize.  In 2014 alone there were about 50 reported accidents involving boats which included capsizing, collisions with other water crafts, water skiing/boarding accidents, and sinking.  Some of these accidents were considered to be an estimated $2,000 in property damage with injuries, and 14 of those reported resulted in fatalities.

Many people with lakeshore property will usually insure their property with general liability insurance.  Keep in mind that a general liability for a lakefront property will not cover damages due to injuries or other lawsuits arising from boat use, or other water craft.  Since lake shore properties are always at risk for accidents due to drowning, injuries from diving off docks in shallow water, and other injuries that tend to happen while on the water, separate coverage is necessary.

Although insurance is not required for some boats/docks in Minnesota, it is a good idea to remember that they can be expensive to repair or replace, and damages relating to personal injury from an accident can skyrocket.  The policies vary depending on what coverages you are looking for.  Some policies will cover personal property on the boat if it should capsize.  Others will cover the cost of injury, lost items, motor repair, and repairs to any permanently attached items in the boat.  Some additional coverage typically includes physical damage, uninsured bodily injury, fuel spill/wreckage removal, personal items, emergency assistance, etc.  There are many insurance riders to consider so check with your agent to find out your options for coverages relating to docks, swim rafts, other watercraft.  Regardless of the type of insurance you choose, remember to always be safe on the water.

Safety precautions include avoiding accidents involving other boaters/swimmers, preventing damage to your property, and common courtesy in and around the lake.

To avoid accidents involving other boaters/swimmers:

  • Wear Life Jacket (the law requires children under the age of 10 to wear a life jacket)
  • Always pay attention to your surroundings as you would driving on the road
  • Pay attention to other boaters, use caution near beaches and boat launches
  • Never leave your boat unattended when not attached to your dock

Tips to Prevent loss:

  • Secure boat to dock
  • When not in use, secure motor, remove items that can be easily blown out of the boat (poles, personal items, keys, etc.)
  • Do not go over the occupancy capacity limit of the boat
  • Be sure to have oars in case of a stalled motor
  • Make sure your dock meets regulations and is not a hazard
  • Always be cautious in shallow water – watch for rocks and debris

Tips for Common Courtesy:

  • Use caution near cabins along the shoreline they usually have a swimming area near the dock
  • When boating passed docks, slow the speed of the boat, use caution
  • Be attentive to others who may be in the water or on the docks.
  • Respect signs posted for wake zones, and shallow water.
  • Maintain control of your boat in inclement weather

When considering the length of time you spend on the lake during the summer and the number of accidents that occur each year on the water, insurance gives you peace of mind to know that you are covered in the event of a loss.

Contact Insurance Advisors for free Minnesota Boat Insurance quotes