For those of us who grew up, or spent summers, near a lake or other large body of water, being a kid meant time in the water. We fished from a dock, trapped minnows for bait, watched fireworks from a pontoon, communed with nature from canoes, and oh, the thrill of getting up on water skis for the first time! Water could nourish, heal, and delight.
During the pandemic, the U.S. has seen recreational boating in particular grow even more in popularity, as people flocked to boating for outdoor recreation. The National Marine Manufacturers Association recently reported outboard engine unit sales in 2021 as second highest total in past 14 years. Sales are expected to remain steady in 2022 as manufacturing catches up to meet demand.
Like the past, with great boating comes great responsibility. The U.S. Coast Guard counted 5,265 accidents that involved 767 boating fatalities in 2020, with a 25% increase in fatality rate from 2019. 2020 also saw approximately $62.5M in property damage.
With spring here, and summer right around the corner, here are six tips to keep you and your loved ones happy as a clam this summer while boating on inland lakes:
Take a boating safety course. This guidance should apply to anyone driving a boat, young and not-so-young, alike. Operator inexperience and improper lookout were among the top five primary contributing factors in boating accidents in 2020. Check out The Boat U.S Foundation’s FREE online boating safety course developed specifically for your state.
Always wear a life jacket when on or in the water. Same goes for paddleboarders. Wear it correctly and look for proper fit. The U.S. Coast Guard can help you select the life jacket that’s right for you.
Alcohol and boating don’t mix. In 2020, alcohol was again the leading known contributing factor in fatal boating accidents. Never use drugs or alcohol before or during boat operation. Best to leave alcohol on shore.
Know the body of water. Learn and follow boat traffic and navigation rules. Become well versed in boating protocols.
Check the forecast. Remain vigilant; weather can change rapidly in the course of a day.
Have emergency supplies readily available, including a cell phone, fire extinguishers, maps, flares, first aid, and a radio in case you sense a change in the weather.
More details on keeping safe while creating new memories on the water, are typically available from your local yacht club, your state’s Department of Natural Resources, or other state outdoor agency.
For more information on boating, read our advisory, “Coming Out of Lay-Up.”
Terese Shelledy is Senior Risk Consultant, Property Protection Specialist, Chubb Personal Risk Services. She has over 27 years of risk consulting experience and has a special interest in managing risks related to inland lake homes.
The opinions and positions expressed are the authors’ own and not those of Chubb. The information and/ or data provided herein is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional advice. Insurance coverage is subject to the language of the policies as issued.