Minnesota is famous for being the “Land of 10,000 Lakes” and it’s no exaggeration. In fact, there are a lot more lakes in this state than its nickname suggests.
According to the Minnesota DNR, there are 14,380 lakes in this north-central state, including those that cross the U.S.-Canada border, plus more than 6,500 rivers and streams. So, you’ll never run out of options for boating destinations.
But no matter how fun and exciting boating can be, safety should be a priority — especially during summer when people flock to Minnesota’s waterways.
So, how can you stay safe while boating on Minnesota’s waterways this summer?
Understand the Importance of Boat and Watercraft Maintenance
There’s no better way to achieve safety while boating than preventing accidents and boating problems. You need regular inspection and proper servicing if you don’t want to experience boat breakdown, fuel problems, and other troubles in the middle of the lake.
And here are some maintenance tips to achieve safety while boating:
- Rinse your boat regularly with fresh water since salt water is corrosive and, with buildup, can damage the motor and other parts.
- Have professionals service your boat yearly to keep the engine in top shape.
- Always check the water pump for a strong discharge or blockage when starting the motor.
- Ensure your battery is fully charged and working correctly.
- Assess your fuel lines every three months to detect any damage and replace those with cracks or corrosion.
- Check the oil and oil tank regularly.
- Inspect the propeller before and after boating and clear any barriers.
- Continually assess the hull for any dents and leakage inside the boat.
- Make sure to go in and around the boat and check every part, securing rollers, winch cable, and every connection before heading out.
How Do You Keep Passengers Safe?
Proper boat maintenance keeps your watercraft in the best condition for your and your passengers’ safety while boating.
But apart from maintenance, there are several ways you can maintain safety for your passengers, which you should also prioritize.
- Take a boating safety course to avoid accidents and register your boat while boating.
- Keep a safety kit abroad at all times. It should include a flashlight, duct tape, rope, first aid kit, whistle, and fire extinguisher, among others.
- Check the weather before boating, and always watch for sudden weather changes.
- Always have functional life jackets for each of your passengers and have them wear them properly.
- Avoid overloading.
- Comply with the proper anchoring procedures.
- Never allow drinking aboard the boat.
How Do You Keep Other Boaters Safe?
Keeping your passengers safe is your priority. However, they are not the only ones you need to protect. It’s also important to think of other boaters and eliminate danger towards them.
The MN DNR revealed that 800,000 boats are registered in the state. And these boats are almost always out during the summer season, leading to overpopulated waterways. Thus, safety measures need to be kept in mind.
These measures include:
- Loading and unloading the boat correctly by using the trailer winch – if possible, avoid loading using engine power, which can damage your boat and the ramp
- Being aware of navigation rules and steering clear of other boats
- Using the horn properly to signal other boats
- Avoiding high speeds when it’s dark
Why is Boat Insurance Important?
Keeping your watercraft in the best condition and being prepared for anything that can happen while on board is your best defense against accidents and other boating problems. However, remember trouble can still occur no matter how careful you are. And when it does, you will be held liable for the damages incurred, including medical bills for injuries. Unfortunately, the amount can be greater than your boat’s value.
The standard boat insurance coverages, according to Allstate, include the following:
- Watercraft medical payments coverage
- Uninsured watercraft coverage
- Watercraft liability coverage
- Property coverage
You should also re-evaluate your auto insurance coverage if you plan on transporting your boat with your vehicle. And, these days, we highly recommend umbrella insurance for extra coverage that covers claims far beyond existing limits for your auto and home.
Various unexpected things can happen while boating. This is why it’s best to have proper coverage from a boat insurance policy to protect you, your passengers, and your watercraft before you hit the water.