Everything in life comes with some risks, and that includes spending time near the water. Just because your boat, dock, and waterfront are your places to unwind and have a great time doesn’t mean that it’s possible to avoid hazards. Boats get damaged and injuries happen, and boat insurance won’t cover everything. Keeping everyone safe on the water is about making sure you make and follow waterfront safety rules and have the proper equipment on hand.
Before the Season Starts
First things first, make sure everything about your boat and dock is ready for the water. Update your boat registration and boater’s insurance and make sure that you know the finer details of your registration and insurance policy. When installing your dock (or other system to get on and off the water, like a set of steps attached directly to the shore), make sure that you follow the assembly instructions perfectly, and consider installing compatible handrails can make your dock even safer. Even though it’s called “DIY,” don’t try to assemble your dock yourself: do any installation and assembly with a friend, just in case.
Do any maintenance on your boat, lift, and dock that you need to before the season begins. Using a checklist is a good way to make absolutely sure that you’re thinking about everything that your boat and dock needs in order to be enjoyed safely. If necessary, bring in professionals to look at electronic elements or other dock features that need an expert’s examination.
Stick to Your Dock Safety Plan
You don’t want to wait for an emergency before figuring out what to do, so make sure that you’re prepared for anything. Go over safety checklists, owner’s manuals, and any other reading you need to do to learn specific instructions and ways to prepare. Ensure that your boat dock is lit with dock lights to make sure everyone can see where they’re going. Keep personal flotation devices and fire extinguishers well-maintained and accessible, and make sure that everyone is familiar with how to use them. Don’t let children play around your dock without supervision (and consider installing a bench so you can sit and comfortably watch the kids).
Keep Everything Clean
Unfortunately, boat docks, boats, and lifts don’t clean themselves. Keeping your dock clean and well-maintained is one of the most important things you can do to keep your waterfront safe. Keep a broom nearby to sweep any debris off of your dock, and make sure you have someplace to put watersports equipment and other supplies so they’re not tripping hazards. While you’re cleaning your dock, make sure that exposed boat lift cables, your boat itself, and other parts of your waterfront are clean and in good repair.
It’s not fun to think about the worst-case scenario, but it’s also not fun to experience an emergency. Minimizing your chances of an accident happening, and being prepared for if they do happen, is the best thing you can do to protect your family and your investment in your waterfront. Give yourself true peace of mind with proper equipment and a dock safety plan so you can have a great summer!
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1025 International Drive
Fergus Falls, MN 56537