Clear Skies, Full Lakes, Can Lose

boatBoating season is finally here! Thanks to all of the rainfall in North Texas this year, lake levels are high and ready for some summer fun. Whether you own a boat, jet ski, yacht or house boat, it is important to take a moment to review the watercraft’s insurance policy as well as general boating safety procedures before setting out on the water. When reviewing your watercraft insurance policy with a trusted insurance advisor, be sure to remember to go over a few key points such as operator age requirements and potential exclusions. In the state of Texas, it is a requirement that all watercraft operators be a minimum of thirteen years of age with a boater’s license. This requirement varies by state.

It is also important to note that state boater laws may not be recognized by your insurance carrier, meaning that certain policies may require boat operators to have their motor vehicle license in order to be covered under your policy.

Some policies also hold a “dusk to dawn” exclusion meaning that coverage may be altered and reduced between dusk and dawn. Another exclusion that may appear is the towing exclusion. In the event that a boat or jet ski gets stuck on a sand bar or runs out of gas, the watercraft will need to be towed. Be sure to review this potential exclusion and ensure proper coverage is obtained.

In addition to reviewing your watercraft insurance policy, it is equally important to refresh everyone’s memory on boating safety procedures. Here's an example of a brief safety checklist:

  • Clearly communicate where you are going on each boat ride and the amount of time you will be away
  • Ensure the watercraft’s radio communications are functioning properly
  • Remain updated on the day’s weather forecast
  • Check fuel and fluid levels before embarking on the water
  • Store life preservers on the boat for the number and sizes of passengers on board
  • Become CPR certified in case of an emergency
  • Stay up to date on the latest boating education

The summer is meant to be filled with fun in the sun. Do not let these potential risks prevent you from enjoying your time. Partner with a trusted insurance advisor to gain the proper protection available. Swingle Collins & Associates Personal Lines team is knowledgeable in watercraft insurance and is eager to serve each potential client.