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people in boatAs the weather warms, boaters will take their crafts out on the open water for fun and relaxation. Among the many pursuits enjoyed are exploration, fishing and water sports. However, with this activity comes the potential for accidents and injury. Make sure you enjoy the season without incident by following these five boating safety tips.

1. Get Educated

Inexperience is one of the leading causes of accidents on the water. If this is your first season boating and you don't have experienced partners to bring along, consider taking a boating education class. These courses cover a variety of topics and are offered online and in person. Simply do an online search for "boating education class" or "boating safety class." In addition to making you a more knowledgeable and safer boater, many insurance companies offer a discount upon completion of these courses.

2. Don't Speed

Whether you're on the road or the water, the phrase "speed kills" still applies. The faster you operate your boat, the more difficult it is to see objects and people in the water. You are more likely to collide with submerged objects and other speeding boats. Scenic beauty and wildlife are better appreciated at slower speeds. And slowing down is especially important when you enter congested waters.

3. Be Careful of Overloading

It's a simple rule of physics: a boat will sink when it's too heavy. Know the maximum weight capacity of your boat, which is shown on a plate next to the boat operator's position. Overloading increases the risk of swamping or capsizing the boat.

4. Wear a Life Jacket

Make sure that you and your passengers wear coast guard approved life jackets. Besides increasing safety, it's also the law in many boating areas. Drowning is one of the most common boating fatalities. This danger exists whether you're out on the ocean or on an inland lake within a few feet of the shore. Bringing life jackets on board isn't enough because they don't work unless you wear them.

5. Watch the Weather

Check the forecast before your outing and bring a radio. If the weather appears to be deteriorating, head back to shore. High winds, choppy water and lightning can instantly change an enjoyable afternoon into an emergency situation where your life and those of your passengers are at risk. The high heat and humidity of the summer months can make the atmosphere highly unstable where violent pop-up thunderstorms can suddenly appear.

In addition to avoiding accidents by observing good safety practices, it's important to be prepared for accidents should they occur. This means having adequate boat insurance in case the worst happens. Contact your independent insurance agent to learn more.

We care about your safety. Call Auto Insurance Express at (417) 206-3733 for more information on Joplin boat insurance.
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