First, make sure you talk to your western Wisconsin or Minnesota boating insurance agent to make sure you have proper coverage for the active boating season. Our agents at Baldwin Woodville Insurance are always available to help you research what you need, and to provide it at a great value.
Once you are legally ready to go, all that’s left is to remember these safety tips for a satisfying summer on the water with friends and family.
- No drinking (or drugs) when boating. Not only is this a Wisconsin boating law, but it’s common sense. You need to be fully alert to operate your vessel safely.
- Lifejackets for everyone. There must be a wearable personal floating device, or
lifejacket, for each person on the boat. Children under the age of 13 must wear a lifejacket while boating. Additionally, if your vessel is 16 feet or longer, you must have one throwable PFD in an easily accessible location.
- Develop and use a pre-departure checklist. This is a great way to make sure you are prepared for anything that might happen while boating, and that you have all the required and recommended safety gear, before you head out onto the open water.
- Operate your boat responsibly. Don’t ever head into a marked off area or a swim area. Don’t weave your boat in and out of other boats. Besides being rude, it’s dangerous. Also, sometimes things that seem funny are really not, like steering your boat directly at an object or person and veering off at the last possible moment. It might seem hilarious at the time, but it’s just not safe.
- This one may seem obvious, but learn to swim. Being out on a boat is no guarantee that you won’t end up in the water. Hopefully, with safe operation, you won’t. But if you do, even with a flotation device, you should be able to do some basic swim strokes to reach safety.
- Check the Wisconsin laws regarding speed. There are different guidelines for different types of water, areas of lakes/rivers, and weather circumstances.
Following these tips are the best way to keep our waters safe and fun for everyone. You can read a detailed pamphlet outlining Wisconsin boating laws here. If you’re ever in doubt, err on the side of caution. After all, boating is much more fun when you’re not paying off huge fines, or lying in a hospital bed!