Boating season is here.  Stay safe this summer by following a few simple suggestions(rules).

Wear a Personal Floatation Device (PFD)

Life jackets are by far the best means for keeping yourself and others safe while boating. Anyone on a canoe, kayak, paddleboat or boat should be fitted with a proper, Coast Guard-approved life jacket and should be instructed to wear them at all times. Routinely inspect lifejackets to ensure they are in proper working order and good condition. Discard any damaged life jacket immediately.


Boater Safety Course

Since boat operators cause 7 out of 10 boating accidents, it’s clear that more people need to be trained on how to safely and properly operate a boat. Boater education courses are a great way to learn the rules for safe boat operation and are routinely offered in every state. Visit to find a boater safety course near you.


Boat Inspection

Since boats are typically put in storage during the winter months, it is a good practice to inspect and service them before putting them back on the water each year. Boat maintenance is the only way to keep boats in safe working order. Boats should also be routinely inspected throughout the summer to insure there are no defects that could use the boat to malfunction or become unsafe. Boat manufacturers can provide a resource outlining the necessary routine maintenance schedule.


Carbon Monoxide (CO)

Boats with motors produce an odorless, colorless gas called Carbon monoxide (CO) that can be poisonous or fatal if inhaled. CO poisoning is possible if a boat engine is left idling when people are playing or swimming nearby. Avoid idling whenever possible, especially near enclosed spaces like a boat lift or covered marina


Obey Water Rules

Most bodies of water have rules governing behavior on the water and it is important to be familiar with these rules and follow them. The rules are designed to protect the people on the water and the body of water itself. Rules usually include hours when certain activities are permitted, the size of boats allowed, safe locations for boating and boat speeds. Department of Natural Resources (DNR) personnel typically enforce these rules and failure to comply can result in fines. Knowing these rules and ensuring all boat operators are aware of them are essential in ensuring boater safety.

Many states, counties, and municipalities have unique boating rules specific to individual lakes. To learn more about these rules and regulations check with your local boat patrol or municipality or look for safe boating notices on or near boat launches detailing specific updates or changes to local rules.


Avoid Alcohol

As mentioned before, alcohol is the leading cause of fatal boat accidents. Alcohol impairs judgment, diminishes vision, reduces reaction speed, and significantly decreases an individual’s ability to operate any type of vehicle. Alcohol and boating are a bad combination and should be strictly prohibited by organizations using boats. Alcohol abuse infractions should be handled with a zero tolerance policy. In addition to being extremely dangerous, consuming alcoholic beverages and operating a water vessel is illegal in all 50 states.

The above content was provided by West Bend Insurance Company.  You can visit their site at

Posted 12:58 PM

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