Just like with cars and other vehicles, boat ownership comes with its fair share of risks. You could end up in a collision with another watercraft while cruising across the water or just hit debris hiding under the surface. Even keeping your boat on its trailer is not without its risks, as theft and vandalism could wreak havoc on your investment. Thankfully, it is possible to minimize the chance of something going awry and avoiding the need to file a boat insurance claim. Here’s what you need to know.
Invest in Trailer Locks
If you keep your boat on its trailer and in an open area, thieves could easily come up and take off with your goods. Even if you have it chained and padlocked, it’ll only take them a few minutes to hitch your trailer to their truck and leave the premises. Thankfully, you can go beyond the chain with a purpose-built trailer lock. For the best results, look for one that has solid metal plates above and under the coupler, so it cannot be snipped open using bolt cutters.
Mark Your Equipment
When storing your boat for the off-season, it’s wise to always take your outboard motors, electronics, and other equipment inside your garage and lock them up tight. But, unfortunately, that’s not always possible. So, for an extra layer of protection, make sure to clearly mark your equipment with a permanent engraving. Just your name and phone number is enough to identify it as yours and make it hard for thieves to sell.
Check Your Wiring
Faulty wiring can lead to a big fire if you don’t catch the problem ahead of time. To prevent this issue, always check your wiring from bow to stern before you head out on the water. You should look for burnt or melted spots along with any exposed wires or damaged connectors. If you find any problems, replace the damaged parts before using your boat.
Inspect All Fittings
The fittings that lie beneath the waterline likely play a big role in keeping water from coming onboard. Drain plugs, clamps, and hoses all need a visual inspection once per season to see if they are up to the job. If your plugs or hoses feel squishy, then replace them with new ones. The same goes for clamps that do not have a firm hold.
Buy a Depth Sounder
The depth of boat-worthy waterways does not follow any rhyme or reason. One moment, you might be cruising along with metres of water below and in the next, you hit solid ground. To avoid this devastating scenario, you need a depth sounder that tells you where the ground lies at any given moment.
Watch Weather Reports
The weather is equally unpredictable, especially while out on the water. You can get a good feel for what might come your way by watching weather reports before you head out. Also, keep an eye on the clouds in the sky and the birds in your vicinity. If the clouds start rolling in and the birds disappear, then you might have a windstorm or other weather event coming your way. Take that as your cue to leave to avoid big waves that could overwhelm your boat.
Practice Great Boating Safety
Following all the major boating safety rules is key in avoiding the most common boat insurance claims. Things like storing the right gear, always wearing life jackets, and skipping the alcohol all help ensure your adventures go off without a hitch. Beyond that, make sure to take the time to check your boat insurance coverage as well to verify that you have the right level of protection.
Avoid Heavy Boat Traffic
If you are an avid wakeboarding or rafting enthusiast, then it is best to avoid boating in places with heavy boat traffic. The other boats could kick up big wakes that throw riders off course, resulting in minor to severe injuries. By spending your time in low traffic areas, you also reduce the risk of getting into a boating accident.
Despite your best efforts, you may still end up needing to file a boat insurance claim. If that happens, our team at Wayfarer Insurance Group is always here to help. Just give us a call at 1-844-929-4768 to share whatever info you have about the incident and get the help you need.