With summer just around the corner, many residents in Connecticut are getting excited to take their sailboat or motor boat out on the open water. Connecticut offers sailors and boaters plenty of shoreline to launch their vessels from and Long Island Sound is usually very active during boating season as families and friends look to take day trips to Block Island, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket.
Having affordable boat insurance is highly recommended before you launch your boat but it is also wise to know the rules of the water and how to be safe when sailing. Boat insurance can help pay the costs for damages done to a boat from a collision with another boat and medical payments if someone suffers an injury, but only you can take the necessary steps to avoid accidents before they happen.
Life Jackets – Even avid sailors with years of experience should wear a life jacket. First, as the captain of your vessel you need to set a good example for passengers and if you don’t wear a life vest chances are your guests won’t either. Life jackets can be the difference between a minor accident and a major tragedy. In high winds and collisions it’s very easy for a boat to tip over and even if you are a good swimmer, high waves can make treading water dangerous. Always have your life jacket on and make sure your passengers do too.
Communications – Boats are reported stranded every day. From running out of fuel to malfunctions with the motor there are a number of reasons your boat may stall and it is extremely important you have emergency communication equipment including radios, cell phones and CB’s to report a distress signal. Even if you are close to land it can be hard for spectators to tell if you are in trouble so it’s always recommended that you have a guaranteed way of contacting local authorities to arrange for towing.
Emergency Plan – At home you probably have an emergency plan in place should something happen along the lines of a fire or hurricane. You should also have a safety plan for you and everyone on your boat and make sure everyone is briefed on it. When a collision occurs or a sudden wave knocks the boat on its side panic often ensues. Surviving boating accidents requires calm, level-headed decisions and this is accomplished much easier when everyone follows the same emergency plan. The sooner everyone is accounted for and gathered together the better off you are going to feel as the boat owner.