Boating Safety Tips

Think Ahead and Be Prepared

  • Make sure your gas tanks are vented and bilges are free of vapors, oil, waste and grease.
  • Carry a fire extinguisher and keep it charged.
  • Have your boat's operating systems checked at least once a year by a certified marine technician.
  • Get a vessel safety check from the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary or United States Power Squadrons.
  • Follow our tips on boat maintenance, boating at night and getting your boat out of storage.

Take a Safety Class

According to the U.S. Coast Guard, operator inexperience is one of the top five causes of boating accidents, along with machinery failure, speed, driver inattention and improper lookout. Make sure anyone who drives your boat is properly trained and attentive. You also can save up to 15 percent on your Safeco boat policy by completing a boating safety course with the Coast Guard Auxiliary or U.S. Power Squadrons.

Wear Life Jackets

It's not enough to just have life jackets on board. You and your passengers must wear them. The Coast Guard reported that, in 2013, drowning accounted for 77 percent of all boating fatalities. Eight-four percent of those victims were not wearing a life jacket. New lighter, more comfortable and attractive life jackets are available today, making it even easier to get passengers to suit up.

Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Turn off your engine when there are people in the water, especially when they’re using the rear swimming deck of your boat. Teak surfing, or holding onto the back deck of a boat while it’s moving, can expose people in the water to dangerous and even fatal levels of carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide gas is colorless and odorless. A swimmer exposed to carbon monoxide from your engine could pass out and drown before anyone notices. You can install a carbon monoxide detector on your boat for less than $100.

Don’t Drink and Boat

Alcohol is a contributing factor in fatal boating accidents, says the Coast Guard. In a past study, the Coast Guard found that a boat operator is likely to become impaired more quickly than a car driver, drink for drink. A boating under the influence (BUI) conviction can result in a fine, imprisonment or both. In addition, some states will revoke your driver's license if you are apprehended for boating while intoxicated. Never operate or ride a watercraft while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

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Insurance is offered by Safeco Insurance Company of America and/or its affiliates, with their principal place of business at 175 Berkeley Street, Boston, Massachusetts, 02116. This website provides a simplified description of coverage. Nothing stated herein creates a contract. All statements made are subject to the provisions, exclusions, conditions and limitations of the applicable insurance policy. Please refer to actual policy forms for complete details regarding the coverage discussed. If the information in these materials conflicts with the policy language that it describes, the policy language prevails. Coverages and features not available in all states. Eligibility is subject to meeting applicable underwriting criteria.