Boater Safety Course

As the weather turns warmer in most of the country and with the Memorial Day holiday, people are preparing to enjoy time out on their boats.

Boating is serious business and there are things you can do to help protect yourself, your passengers, and your boat.

Before the fun begins on the water, long-time boater Gary Werner makes sure

He’s up on all the latest safety information and equipment. Werner owns a 22 foot formula speed boat. And he knows the responsibility he has to passengers and to others on the water.

"It’s just like a car. There are rules of the road which you learn at the coast guard course and you just got to keep your eyes pealed and don’t drink,” said Werner.

The Coast Guard auxiliary offers boating courses and it’s recommended you take them. Some states now require it.

You’ll learn not only the rules on the water, but you’ll learn about the safe operation of your boat. There may be insurance discounts available after completing the training.

“A boating safety course can help you identify the risk factors out on the water and help you become prepared for the things that may happen unexpectedly while on the water and the type of risks involved with your type of vessel,” said Colleen Connolly, Allstate Insurance.

Safety gear is also essential. Have life vests for all on board, even your furry passengers. Bring along flares and a ship-to-shore radio in case you need to call for help. And make sure a fire extinguisher is in easy reach. And you may need more than one depending on the size of your boat.

Remember, safety and fun on your boat begins long before you get to the water.