FREMONT, Mich., July 25, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Thanks in part to one of the hottest summers in recent memory, Michigan boaters have taken to the state's numerous waterways in record numbers. And while it may be true that there are few better ways to beat the heat then a trip on the waves, with so many inexperienced boaters on the water accidents are much more likely to occur.
"Every boater, no matter their experience or skill level, should be taking precautions to ensure the safety of all of the passengers on their own vessel, as well as those around them on the water," said Kurt Dettmer, vice president and chief marketing officer for Fremont Insurance. "We want everyone to have fun, but also to be aware that with more people on the water, there is a much greater risk of something going wrong."
Fremont Insurance encourages boaters to be aware of these simple safety considerations to avoid ending up in a difficult or dangerous situation on the water:
- Personal flotation devices (PFD'S) are the single most important safety item that every boater must have on board. State law requires that PFD's must be readily accessible, the correct size and that there must be one available for every person on board.
- A fully-charged fire extinguisher rated for flammable liquids and approved for marine use by the U.S. Coast Guard is a standard safety item that should be on board vessels of all sizes.
- Visual and auditory signaling devices (Flares, horns or whistles) can help a stranded boater signal for help in an emergency situation out in open water.
- Navigation lights can help boaters signal their intentions to other boaters and avoid dangerous collisions in dark or foggy conditions. You should never operate a boat without fully functioning lights, even if you intend to be off the water before sunset.
- Regular engine maintenance is a critical element of safety on the water. Before leaving the dock, check bilge for gas or oil to protect against leaks. Check Fuel levels to ensure that you have enough to make it to your destination and back to avoid being stranded.
- Additional safety supplies that should be on board include flashlight, cell phone, radio, extra lines, first aid kit, oars etc. Anything that you might need in an emergency situation that can be easily stored. Replace old or outdated equipment whenever necessary.
- Check weather and water conditions before heading out, and be aware that weather can change quickly and can be especially dangerous to a small vessel out on open water.
- Boating alone can be significantly more dangerous so whenever possible bring someone else along for the ride. At the very least, let someone know where you intend to go and when you expect to return.
- Always operate at a speed that is safe for the current conditions. Watch for dangerous waves, submerged objects and other boaters and slow your speed accordingly.
- Avoid alcohol if you plan to drive. Driving a boat under the influence of alcohol carries many of the same penalties as driving a car intoxicated. According to the United States Coast Guard alcohol use is a leading contributing factor in boating fatalities, in fact a drunk boat operator is ten times more likely to die than a sober one.
If you get into trouble, remember that in most cases it's safest to stay with the boat and wait for help. Trying to swim to safety or to retrieve help is often far more dangerous. Even when land is in sight, it's easy to underestimate distances on the water. Add in waves and currents and suddenly even the strongest swimmer can get into trouble quickly.
While it's not required by law for all operators, every Michigan boater should consider taking the official boater safety education course approved by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, recognized by the United States Coast Guard, and approved by the National Association of Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA). The online course can be found at www.boat-ed.com/michigan.
About Fremont Insurance
Fremont Insurance is a subsidiary of the Auto Club Group, servicing the Independent Agents of Michigan. The company has been a Pure Michigan company since 1876. Dynamic Products, Exceptional Service, and Competitive Pricing have made Fremont Insurance one of the fastest growing and most respected companies operating in Michigan. For more information about Fremont Insurance you can visit the company online at www.fmic.com, find them on facebook at www.facebook.com/FremontInsuranceCo, or follow them on twitter at www.twitter.com/FremontIns.
SOURCE Fremont Insurance