Boating Tips

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Monthly Helpful Hints For Boaters

January

Is your boater’s insurance current?
Have you reviewed your coverage limits?
Losses can occur during the idle season from storms, theft, fire, etc.
Be sure to keep your policy current even if your boat is in storage for the winter.

February

February is known as the month of Love.
Have you checked on your boat recently?
Show your Love.

March

SPRING HAS SPRUNG!
Now is the time to take action.
A proper De-Winterization will lead to a smooth spring launching.
You may refer to our: “Boat Safety and Maintenance” section for a sample checklist.

April

Did you attend a Boating Safety course over the winter, like you promised yourself last fall?
If not, now would be a good time to check the class schedules in your area. See our “Boating Resources” section for references to the United States Coast Guard and US Power Squadron websites.

May

This month is when most boat owners are bringing their boats out for the boating season.
Here are some HELPFUL HINTS on trailering safety:

  • Allow extra room on turns—especially RIGHT turns to avoid hitting a roadside sign or even just jumping a curb with the trailer wheel. It’s not only embarrassing, but could cause damage to your boat, boat trailer, or even your tow vehicle.
  • Give yourself extra space behind the car in front of you—the added weight of a boat and trailer will considerably lengthen your stopping distance.
  • Check your outside mirrors—are they adequate to allow you to see objects behind your boat?
  • Check your trailer lights every time you use it—bulbs do burn out, sockets corrode, and connections can loosen.
  • Always double-check the bow and transom straps—without these, your boat can come off the trailer.
  • Know the weight carrying and towing capacity of your vehicle and trailer—Refer to the owner’s manuals. Remember the manufacturer’s DRY weight. Be sure to add for gear and fluids. Never overload your vehicle or boat trailer.
  • June

    With the boating season in full swing, here are some HELPFUL HINTS on safely fueling your vessel:

    • Stop ALL engines and electrical devices.
    • Turn off all flames – i.e. pilot lights.
    • NO SMOKING!!
    • Have all passengers and crewmembers disembark.
    • Close all hatches, ports and doors.
    • Avoid static sparks by keeping the fueling nozzle in contact with the fill opening at all times while fueling.
    • Do not use the automatic nozzle lock.
    • Fill all portable tanks on the dock, not in the boat.
    • Only fill tanks to 95% of their capacities; this will allow for fuel expansion without spilling fuel into the water.
    • After fueling, close all fill openings.
    • Wipe up any spilled fuel.
    • Open hatches, ports and doors to allow for ventilation.
    • Run the bilge blower for at least 5 minutes before starting the engine.
    • Use your nose to check for vapors in the bilge and around the boat.
    • Start the engine(s) only after you are sure there are no fuel vapors present.
    • Have your passengers and crew board your boat.
    • Depart as soon as it is safe to do so.

    July

    If you operate your boat on a body of water where storms can occur without warning, here are some HELPFUL HINTS that may prevent “A SWAMPING OF YOUR BOAT”:

    If you’re operating your boat when a storm comes in:
    Find a sheltered cove. If that is not possible, slow down, head the bow of the boat into the wind and keep the bow up. If the storm is severe enough, have all persons on board put on their lifejackets.

    If your boat is anchored or beached:
    Move the boat to a sheltered cove (out of the wind). If that is not possible, anchor the boat with the bow facing the wind and waves. Make sure the anchor is secured to the bottom to prevent slippage.
    If you have your boat covers available, and they can be properly secured to the boat, put them on the boat to shed rain water and waves that may come over the side of the boat.

    ALWAYS REMEMBER: DO NOT chance injury or death trying to save the boat.

    August

    The summer and the boating season is in full swing and with vacation trips with friends and family planned, here are some HELPFUL HINTS that could prevent a catastrophe:

    Refer to the boat manufacturer’s capacity plate. This will tell you the maximum weight and maximum number of people allowed on board your boat. Never overload your boat, and be sure the load is distributed evenly.

    DO NOT allow people on the swim platform while the boat is running; this will prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.

    September

    The boating season is winding down for most boaters. Here’s a HELPFUL HINT for planning for winter storage:

    If your have a marina perform this duty for you, now would be a good time to schedule with them. This should help to avoid a mad rush when cold weather is on the horizon.

    If you perform your own winterization, prepare now by purchasing the materials needed and reviewing the procedure in your owner’s manual. REMEMBER—it’s been a year! You may wish to refer to our “Boater’s Safety and Maintenance” section for a sample list.

    October

    Well, it’s time to put your boat into WINTER HIBERNATION. Here’s a HELPFUL HINT:

    Make a list of repairs that need to be done over the winter.
    Schedule with a marina to repair them before next spring. I.e. propeller repairs, gel coat refresh, protective bottom paint, etc.

    November

    Winter is settling in so here’s a HELPFUL HINT for boaters in all areas of the country—even the southern states:

    Watch the air temperature. If freezing temperatures are predicted and your boat is NOT winterized, you need to take immediate steps to prevent freeze damage to your prized possession – YOUR BOAT!

    December

    Most boaters have their boats tucked away for the winter by now. This does not mean you should forget about it. Here’s a HELPFUL HINT for boaters with their boat in storage:

    Every couple of weeks, or after a particularly strong storm, you should check on your boat. Make sure the cover is still in place and that everything is as you left the last time you inspected it. There’s nothing worse in the spring than discovering the ravages of winter or that some unscrupulous person has caused damage to your boat over the long winter storage. Should you discover damage to your vessel, you need to report it immediately to your insurance agent.

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