The wrap is being removed and the thought of waves cracking against the hull is heard in a not too distant future. It is spring and most watercraft owners are getting their boats cleaned and ready for summer.
When taking the boat out for the first time we sometimes seem to be a little excited and tend to forget about the trailer. Inevitably you will see those poor souls stranded or parked on the side of the highway or country road looking desperately at their blown tires or destroyed trailers. A few minutes in the driveway could save you hours on the road.
To avoid this tragic beginning to your supposed first “holiday”, some simple steps can be taken. If you have a newer trailer it may have re-greaseable bearings. You should re-grease them yourself or have a mechanic do the job. If they are not newer, have a mechanic inspect them to ensure that they are still in good condition as bearings need to be replaced or repacked periodically.
Talking about trailers brings up a good insurance question: Is my trailer covered? Most automobile insurance policies will transfer liability only to the trailer while it is attached to that automobile. This excludes physical damage in most instances. To have physical damage coverage on a trailer it must be added to the automobile insurance policy or on a separate watercraft policy. If you are unsure if you have coverage, contact your broker for clarification.
A couple of simple things to remember when it comes to getting the boat ready are:
- Proper life Jackets – make sure they are Canadian certified and fit all possible boaters properly.
- A quick look to make sure that your mooring lines are still in good condition and not frayed is important to ensure that your investment does not float away on a windy day.
- Verify that your watercraft insurance does not have any warranties that dictate the time of year that your watercraft is insured for while on the water. Some insurance companies have a Lay-Up warranty written into their wordings that dictate what months the boat must be out of the water. Contacting your insurance broker is recommended to verify if applicable.
It is also recommended to have a certified mechanic verify that the motor, lights and bilge pump are all in working order.
When preparing my watercraft for the summer I make a quick checklist for the safety equipment, here are some ideas:
- Life jackets
- Bailing Device
- Floating rope
- Whistle and/or sound device
- Flashlight (must work if pulled over)
- Paddles (at least two)
- Proper anchor and rope.
You can also verify your requirements on this Government web page by clicking here.
Lastly before hitting the water, make sure that you have a copy of your watercraft insurance (just in case) and have your valid watercraft license with you at all times: As it is the LAW.
Here is to hoping that with the above information you should be able to enjoy that first trip right through to the last this year on the water.
Have a great and safe 2012 boating season from your friends at InsuranceHero.ca!