National Safe Boating Week is May 22-28 and with Memorial Day just around the corner, we want to send a friendly reminder to boaters to follow safety procedures. Throughout Wisconsin’s 11,339 square miles of water, lakes are full of fishermen, skiers and recreational boaters. Understanding the risks of water sports and taking safety precautions can help you stay safe on the water.

Boating Safety Tips

  1. Do not operate a watercraft under the influence of alcohol. It is illegal to operate a boat while under the influence of alcohol or drugs in every state.
  2. Never use a boat that is not equipped with fully operational safety equipment on board. Any boat should contain:
    • life preservers for all occupants
    • a well-stocked first aid kit
    • a powerful flashlight
    • two-way VHF radio
    • fire extinguisher
    • flare kit
    • local area water chart
  3. Never exceed the passenger capacity recommended by the manufacturer
  4. Always keep all owner’s manuals on board.

Do you have insurance for that boat?

A small boat, such as a canoe or other un-motorized boat, is typically covered under the personal property portion of your homeowners insurance policy. If you own a larger, faster boat, you’ll need a separate boat insurance policy. A typical boat policy is designed to protect your boat, motor, equipment and passengers. It affords similar coverages to those you typically have for your car including:

  • Physical Damage: Physical damage coverage insures your boat, motor, boat trailer, boat equipment (anchors, oars, fuel tanks, life jackets, dinghies, tools, etc.) and other personal property against theft, accidental loss or damages.
  • Liability: Two principal liability coverages are included:
    • Personal Liability – A boatowners insurance policy provides protection for legal liability and pays, up to the limit of your policy, the legal obligations imposed upon you due to an accident resulting from the ownership, maintenance, or use of your watercraft, including bodily injury, property damage and legal defense.
    • Medical Payments– This pays medical expenses, up to the limits in the policy, including the insured’s boating-related medical expenses from an accident arising out of the ownership, maintenance or use of the boat.

In addition, most policies include water sports liability coverage, which provides protection when you engage in sporting activities such as waterskiing, knee boarding or tubing.

Additional Liability Coverage

If you don’t already have one, you may want to consider purchasing a personal umbrella insurance policy connected to your homeowners or automobile insurance policy to give you additional liability protection. This coverage will provide you $1 million in additional coverage at an affordable price.

Understand your liability on the water and consider these questions:

  • Does my policy have adequate liability limits?
  • Can anyone operate the boat?
  • Who is covered on my policy?
  • Do I have coverage to tow skiers or tubers?
  • Are there discounts for taking safety courses?


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