Boating season is here and, fortunately, it's an activity that can be very compatible with social distancing and other pandemic safety guidelines. But before you take your new or beloved watercraft out for a first spin, it's important to conduct basic maintenance and preparations so that your time out on the water is safe and smooth sailing.
Here are 10 things you should do as part of your pre-season boating checklist:
- Do a visual inspection: Start by doing a thorough visual inspection of your boat, both inside and out. Check out the exterior surfaces, the electrical system, pump system, lights, propellers, hulls the whole enchilada. Look for damage, wear and tear, leaks, and anything else that might need fixing, cleaning or maintenance before you get out on the water.
- Check fluids: Check the fluids in your engine, including the oil, gas, transmission fluid, power trim fluid, coolant, and power steering fluid.
- Prepare for safety: Make sure that all of your safety equipment is accessible and up to date, and that you have appropriate gear like the right size life jackets for anyone who will be on your boat. Your safety equipment should include a working fire extinguisher, signalling equipment (visual and sound), a flotation device, and a well-stocked first aid kit.
- Clear your communications: Also test any radios, cell phones, or other communication devices to make sure they are working, have fresh batteries (or are charged), and are generally ready to go.
- Make sure you're official: As with an automobile, don't take to the water without a copy of your current license and registration. Different states have different requirements, so make sure to check yours and follow the law.
- Brush up your skills: It's never a bad idea to refresh or add to your driving, navigation, or safety skills. Take an online course, watch a video tutorial, or simply read your boat manual to stay current.
- Get a safety inspection: You can request a free safety inspection from the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary or get a virtual safety checklist to perform yourself. Follow this link to find the form and request your free inspection.
- Prep your trailer: Your boat may be all ready to go, but you still need a safe and secure way to get it to the water. Be sure to inspect the tires, bearings, and lights and make sure they are in good working order.
- Hire a professional: If boat maintenance isn't your thing as much as being on the water, or if you're just not confident in getting your boat completely ready for the season, you can always ask the pros for help.
- Have fun in the sun!
For any insurance questions, call or contact Executive Insurance & Financial Services today.