Tucking your boat in for the winter?
For boat enthusiasts everywhere, the end of boating season can be disappointing because on-the-water adventures are ending and the task of winterization is beginning.
Taking the time to protect your watercraft through the winter requires an investment of time, labor, and money. While winterization is an absolute imperative that can help prevent damage, think of the process not as a chore, but a chance to dream about next spring when you’ll be ready to go boating on Little Muskego, Pewaukee Lake, etc.
To help you get started, we at the Insurance Center of Milwaukee have compiled two essential steps to follow.
1. Find the best storage place indoors or outdoors
- If possible, find a place to have your boat spend the winter out of water and well out of the way of inclement weather.
- If you are storing your boat outdoors, check on the level of security. For example: Is it a locked facility? Are there cameras?
2. Be thorough in winterizing or find a pro
If you’re a do-it-yourselfer, the steps to winterizing your boat can be easily found via many online resources. Your boat’s owner’s manual also could be a great help, as most will include detailed winterization instructions.
Regardless where you get the details, you will ensure a better start next boating season if you follow a comprehensive checklist to get your boat ready for winter.
If you’re opting out of the do-it-yourself category and instead trusting the pros, you’ll want to find a shop that specializes in winterization. Get an appointment well in advance of the assault of inclement weather. To find the best option, consider getting a reference from a fellow boating enthusiast.
However you choose to prepare your prized watercraft for the frigid days of winter, we at the Insurance Center of Milwaukee hope you enjoy the cooler season as you await the return of spring!
Periodically, our agency gets calls from clients after a fun weekend on the water takes a turn for the worse. Often, these accidents could have been prevented with just a few simple precautions. Here are a few tips we like – courtesy of our partners at Safeco.
Life Preservers Aren’t Just for Kids. It’s not enough to just have life jackets on board — wear them! In an accident, people rarely have time to reach for a life jacket. This rule applies to children AND adults – more people in their 30s die in boating accidents than any other age group. Today, you can even get vests for your water-loving dog!
Watch the Back of the Boat. Carbon monoxide kills in minutes. So tell your passengers where your exhaust pipes are located and turn off your engine when people are in the water, and don’t let passengers “ski” or “teak-surf” by holding on to the back of the boat. Carbon monoxide detectors are standard on most new boats; older boats have devices available typically for less than $100.
Alcohol and Boating Don’t Mix. More than 50 percent of drowning’s result from boating incidents involving alcohol. You don’t drink and drive, so don’t drink and boat.
Boats Need TLC Too. When you’re out on the water, make sure your gas tanks are vented and bilges are free of vapors, oil, waste and grease. Carry a charged fire extinguisher. Have your boat’s operating systems checked yearly by a certified marine technician. The Coast Guard Auxiliary and United States Power Squadrons also offer free vessel safety checks.
Experience Counts! The U.S. Coast Guard says that operator errors account for 70 percent of all boating accidents. Make sure anyone who drives your boat is properly trained. You can also earn boat insurance discounts from Safeco and other insurers if you complete a safety course with the Coast Guard Auxiliary or U.S. Power Squadrons.
Sites for Information:
Coast Guard: www.uscgboating.org Coast Guard Auxiliary: nws.cgaux.org/
Safeco tips: www.safeco.com/insurance-101/consumer-tips/your-boat
Call the Insurance Center of Milwaukee at 414-744-6614 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for more info on boat policies.
Get started early to get your boat ready for summer
If you love the water, few things are better than boating season. Summer just wouldn’t be summer without spending those long, hot days on Pewaukee Lake, Big Muskego, etc., cooling off with a lazy dip in the water, dropping a line in hopes of catching a “big one,” or having an action-packed day of waterskiing and tubing.
Boating is not without its share of pre-summer preparation. Without making the preparation a priority, it’s easy to find yourself midway through July still on dry land.
At the Insurance Center of Milwaukee, we want to ensure you are the first one in line at the boat launch this summer, so here are a few tips for being ahead of the game.
- Tune it up. It’s always a good idea to have your boat winterized at the end of each season and make sure to get a full tune-up before you hit the lake this summer.
- Charge it. Make sure your battery is fully charged.
- Clear it out. If there is any gas from last season still in your tank, fill it up with fresh gas as well as a stabilizer; this will prevent buildup in the gas lines and injection system.
- Give it a test. Before you get the boat all the way into the water and off the trailer, lower your motor into the water and make sure it will turn over.
- Plug it up. Ensure your drain plug is in and the bilge pump is functioning properly.
- Double- and triple-check. The last thing you want is to get all the way to the lake and realize you don’t have an updated registration or are missing your life vests. Double check that your documents are updated and that your boat is fully stocked with everything you need.
We at the Insurance Center of Milwaukee wish you a fun-filled and safe boating season!
If you have insurance questions about your boat, please call us at 414-744-6614 or send an email to email@example.com