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Summer Boating Tips

Between boat rides, jet skiing, barbeques and other fun activities, it’s easy to understand why many families spend almost every summer weekend at one of the many beautiful lakes in Alabama. However, in 2013 alone, approximately $39 million dollars of damage to property occurred as a result of recreational boating accidents, according to the Coast Guard.

So, before you hit the water this summer, make sure you are aware of insurance policies, safety procedures and equipment you may need for your boat or personal watercraft.

1. Homeowners’ insurance does not typically cover your boat or other personal watercraft . For those new to boating and hoping your homeowners’ policy will stretch to cover your boat or personal watercraft (PWC), we are here to sadly inform you that in most cases, it won’t. However, you should check with your insurance agent to see about bundling your boat policy with your auto or homeowners’ insurance to save money.

Boat coverage typically includes coverage for bodily injury that your boat inflicts on others and property damage to docks and other boats. It would also cover physical damage to your boat should you hit something or run aground.

2. Make certain you understand local boating laws and safety procedures before hitting the water. Although some of the laws are obvious, there are also very specific requirements pertaining to PWC and boats. Below are just a few of which everyone should be aware. For a complete list of Alabama Boating Laws, click here.

  • Must be 14 years old and have a vessel license to operate a vessel or personal watercraft alone. Click here, for more information about boating licenses.
  • No person shall drive or be in actual physical control of a vessel or manipulate any water skis, aquaplane, or any other marine transportation device while there is 0.08% or more by weight of alcohol in the blood.
  • Boat operators must make sure that their boats are equipped with the proper navigation lights and use the lights when away from the dock, between sunset and sunrise

3. Make sure you have the right equipment on board at all times. If for some reason you were to get stopped by the Marine Police while out on your boat, you must be able to show that you have all of the necessary equipment to comply with Alabama boating laws. Below are just a few requirements, but you can follow this link to get a complete checklist.

  • Type B-1 Fire Extinguisher
  • Personal Flotation Device (PFD): Type I, II, III or V
  • Alabama Boat Operator License On board

For more information on boat or personal watercraft insurance, feel free to contact a Starke consultant, or complete one of our free, no obligation quote forms to get started on a custom quote from one of our 20 top-rated insurance carriers