As a recreational marine insurance company, I’m sure you could have guessed the #1 item on the list. Are we getting too predictable? Sorry, not sorry.
Always, always, always check your watercraft insurance before the start of season and get familiar with your coverage. Generally, a boat insurance policy should cover damages to your boat from events beyond your control, such as accidents, fire or theft protect you against liability for injuries or property damage to others and damages from uninsured boaters. Coverage could also extend to equipment aboard the boat, medical payments coverage, wreck removal, water sports coverage, roadside assistance, and more. Needless to say, there are a wide-array of coverage options available. Know what your policy includes.
If you are a new owner to a boat or PWC, it is important to buy watercraft insurance. You can do that directly through the insurance company, or from an agent or broker. Regardless of how you secure your coverage, you want to make sure it is in place as soon as soon as you own the new boat or watercraft.
REMINDER: At SkiSafe, we offer affordable boat insurance rates starting as low as $85/year. Our low rates are just part of why we are considered one of the best boat insurance providers in the industry. We offer exceptional coverage and protection to our boaters. We are able to do this at an affordable price because of our exclusive focus on boats and watercrafts, giving us unparalleled knowledge and experience on the water.
2. LAUNCH TIPS
Preparing your watercraft for the launch of season, both maintenance and equipment-wise, is necessary every single year. You can download our printable launch checklist here.
To give you a quick synopsis –
- Replace your water pump impeller
- Check all belts
- Check oil levels
- Check decaying anodes
- Look at the lower-unit lube level
- Check the propeller
- Check control cable outer jackets and linkages
- Inspect engine shaft
- Check the rubber outdrive
- Inspect bilge pump
- Check fuel lines
- Clean electrical connections
- Check for all necessary safety equipment
3. WHAT TO BRING
Whether preparing for a day or overnight trip, I’m sure food is at the top of everyone’s mind. Burger, tacos, or sandwiches? As difficult as that decision may be, believe it or not, there are many more items that you should prepare. (We vote for tacos by the way).
- Basic Medical Supplies
- Band Aids
- VHF Radio
- Necessary Safety Equipment
- Personal Flotation Devices
- Fire Extinguishers
- Visual Distress Signals
- Sound Producing Devices
- Backfire Flame Arrestors
- Pollution Regulators
- Sanitation Devices
- Navigation Devices
- Extra Clothes
Routine maintenance tips that should be completed annually can be found in the launch tips section above. It’s a good idea to complete these services before the start of every season. However, the maintenance does not end after completing your annual boat check-up. It’s important to conduct a monthly service check as well. Here’s what you should be doing monthly:
- Wash and wax
- Test and clean battery
- Clean fresh water strainer
- Inspect and test bilge pumps
- Inspect and service propeller
- Check all fluid levels
- Top off battery fluid
- Clean and charge battery
- Change engine oil and filter
- Drain water heater
- Check/add coolant in freshwater cooling system
- Check the water strainers have sufficient anti-freeze
- Pump holding tanks and add anti-freeze
Keep in mind – if you are consistent with the boat’s maintenance, it will help avoid a costly repair down the road.
5. ANTI-THEFT SYSTEMS
We highly recommend purchasing a GPS-tracking, anti-theft system. It is a valuable investment to prevent theft of your watercraft. It will alert you when suspicious activity is occurring on the boat. Smartphones and sophisticated apps have simplified monitoring a boat’s security. If a sensor is triggered, the anti-theft system will automatically send an alert to your smartphone or tablet.
Some systems are also able to respond to a possible theft with an audible alarm, disabling the battery, or recording video through an onboard camera. Critical boat systems, such as bilge pumps, battery levels, and high-water pumps, can also be monitored. Some companies that provide these systems are SPOT, GOST, and Siren Marine.