It's boating season. Don't let an accident sink your summer fun.
If you own a boat, get boat insurance
Some people assume their homeowners policy is all they need to protect their boat. Not true. Typically, homeowners policies have limited coverage for boats and may not cover injuries or accidents while you're on the water. To make sure you're covered for boat injuries, theft and damage, buy a boat insurance policy.
Tune ups aren't just for cars
When you're out on the water, 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. The Coast Guard Auxiliary and United States Power Squadrons also offer free vessel safety checks. For information, go to www.vesselsafetycheck.org.
Eight out of 10 boating fatalities happen with untrained captains at the wheel
Experts say most boating accidents could be prevented by an experienced driver. Make sure anyone who drives your boat is properly trained. You also can save up to 15 percent on your Safeco boat policy by completing a safety course with the Coast Guard Auxiliary or U.S. Power Squadrons.
Life preservers aren't just for kids
Hundreds of people drown in boating accidents every year - and nearly all of them were not wearing a life jacket. It's not enough to just have life jackets on board - you must wear them. In an accident, people rarely have time to reach for a life jacket. This rule applies for adults, too: more people in their 30s die in boating accidents than any other age group. New lighter, more comfortable and attractive life jackets are available today, making it even easier to get passengers to suit up.
Carbon monoxide kills in minutes
A typical boat engine puts out as much carbon monoxide as 188 automobiles - and passengers exposed to high levels can pass out within minutes. Turn off your engine when there are people in the water and don't let passengers "ski" by holding on to the back of the boat. You also can install a carbon monoxide detector for your boat for less than $100.