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Watercraft Insurance

Boating Safety & Why Insurance Is a Must

There’s nothing like getting out and having fun on the water. Boating is especially appealing in Florida thanks to our extensive coastline, year-round excellent boating weather, and abundant marinas, boat shows, and other boat-based activities. Given all of this, who wouldn’t want to heed the call of the water?

Perils on the Water

As tempting as it is to journey out at every available opportunity, boating in Florida requires paying careful attention to the many potential perils threatening to dampen an otherwise enjoyable day out on the water. These pitfalls include:

  • Hazardous weather/water conditions – such as rip currents, lightning, thunderstorms, hurricanes and tropical storms
  • Shallow water and hidden sandbars
  • Equipment or mechanical failure
  • High-traffic waterways – making collisions with boats, docks, or navigational markers more likely
  • Propeller accidents
  • Run-ins with large or dangerous sea life – including manatees, sharks, and more
  • Human error

By far the biggest danger on Florida waterways stems from people behaving badly. This includes boat operators who are under the influence of alcohol or drugs, have insufficient boating knowledge/experience, are unaware of common boating safety practices, or who flat-out recklessly operate their watercraft.

Sadly, Florida leads the nation in the number and severity of annual boating mishaps. According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), there were 735 boating accidents in 2022, including 65 deaths – and inattention was the cause of most of those accidents. So far in 2023, falling overboard and drowning is the most common type of boating accident fatality, the FWC notes.

Top 10 Boating Safety Tips

Here are some essential boating safety tips to keep in mind and ensure your Florida water adventures remain safe and fun.

1. Stay alert and pay attention to your surroundings at all times

2. Wear a life jacket

3. Be aware of weather conditions/forecasts

4. Choose a skipper who will remain sober for the duration of the trip

5. Ensure your equipment is properly maintained and in good working order, including safety gear like an emergency locator beacon, fire extinguisher, flares, and a whistle or horn

6. Operate at a safe speed (e.g., if it’s crowded, slow down)

7. Get a free vessel safety check

8. Make sure you have adequate watercraft insurance

9. Complete a float plan before you head out

10. Take a state-approved boating safety class

And, if you live in Florida, you’re already well aware of hurricane risks. In addition to preparing your home, make sure you know how to properly prepare your boat for hurricane season, including how to secure it for an impending storm.

Why Every Boater Needs Watercraft Insurance

As the FWC says, safe boating is a choice. When you’re on the water, even if you behave and operate your vessel in a manner beyond reproach, you will likely still encounter those who don’t – or won’t. Having watercraft insurance protects you, your boat, and others on the water while providing peace of mind so you can safely enjoy your nautical adventures. In addition, you may be required to obtain insurance by your financial lender and/or the marinas you use.

What’s Covered

Insurance can protect you against the high cost of repairs after a collision (with another boat, the dock, or navigation markers), fire, theft, vandalism, high winds, and lightning. Your vessel, its motor and associated equipment (trailer), and even your personal property aboard the boat are all covered with watercraft insurance.

At The Windward Insurance Agency, we also offer liability and medical expenses coverage in the event you’re found liable for damage to another vessel or injuries to someone aboard yours. You can also get towing coverage (should you break down at sea and need to be towed back to port), as well as protection if you’re involved in a hit-and-run or accident with an uninsured/underinsured boater.

We’ve Got the Protection Florida Boaters Need

Before you head out in your boat or personal watercraft (Jet Ski, Sea-Doo, WaveRunner, etc.) – make sure you’re properly protected. This is where we come in. The Windward Insurance Agency has been helping Florida boaters and open-water adventurers obtain the insurance they need since 2016. Our watercraft coverage is designed for vessels up to 26’ in overall length; larger watercrafts may qualify for yacht insurance.

Our knowledgeable agents can help you navigate all your insurance options. Get started with an online quote or call us today at (866) 231-2433 for assistance.