Florida is famous for its springtime hospitality. For mariners, this is a great time to break out their watercraft and go for an excursion. Good weather and plenty of activities make this an important season for boating.
Still, Florida doesn't always have perfect weather year-round. So, you might not have used your boat during the past winter. If you didn’t, it’s time to prepare your vessel to hit the water once again. With care, you can ensure that the next sailing season doesn’t leave you with unexpected problems.
Review Your Boat Insurance
Most boaters need to carry insurance on their vessels. It’s a valuable source of protection in case of accidents or boat damage.
Before you hit the water, pull out your boat insurance policy. Check the policy’s expiration date and renew it as necessary. Also look at the current limits of your coverage. Increase your coverage or add riders or extensions as you think necessary. Your agent can often help guide you to make sure you choose the correct limits.
Make sure you haven’t left your policy in storage coverage. Many boaters reduce their coverage during periods when they won’t use the boat. It often helps them save money during periods of disuse. However, once you resume sailing, you will need full coverage again.
Service Your Vessel
Boats that have sat in storage have often sustained normal wear and tear from this period of disuse. You’ll need to clean up this deterioration before you hit the water. Regular maintenance will often help you remain safe once you start sailing.
Comprehensively clean the vessel from stem to stern to wash away rust and debris. Service the engine, change the boat’s oil and test the motor. Inspect sails and moorings for signs of damage or weakness. Replace them as needed. Never forget to test the lights, rudder, radar, horns, radio and other control surfaces. You will always have to maintain contact with others while on the water.
Re-Stock Your Safety Gear
Maritime law governs safety gear requirements on vessels. Almost all boats have to carry safety gear, and passengers and crew must abide by safety laws. For example, boats might need life jackets, fire extinguishers, rafts and other devices.
Test your gear, particularly lifesaving equipment, at the beginning of the season. Replace any damaged items immediately. Do not leave port without stocking safety gear and requiring all passengers to follow the rules.
With the right care, you can make this spring a successful boating season. For assistance with your boat insurance, talk to your insurance agent today (888) 537-1412.