Boat Insurance Magazine

Things To Do Before You Set Sail

  • Before setting sail, it’s important to make sure all precautions are in place for a safe journey and that you are aware of how to run a boat properly.
  • Making sure all precautions are in place can reduce the risk of anything going wrong, and reduce the damage if things don’t go to plan, and ensure you are aware of your insurance policy.
  • The boat should be loaded properly and the fuel should be checked, and it is also important you have an understanding of the weather conditions.


Loading Your Vessel Appropriately

Before setting sail, it is important to load your vessel properly so that the weight is evenly distributed. This can help for a smoother sail and reduce any risk of instability whilst you are out on the water. All belongings, especially if they are heavy, should be loaded in a manner which will not impact any operations.

In addition to this, you should always be aware of your vessel’s capacity.Overloading the vessel will also increase instability and performance, increasing the risk of an accident. If you are unsure about the vessel’s capacity, you should contact your manufacturer as they should be able to provide you with reliable advice. They will let you know how much weight and people the boat can safely carry.

You must not exceed the maximum weight limit advised by your manufacturer, and remember to take into account that all equipment onboard contributes to the capacity held by the vessel.


Check The Engine Size

In addition to the maximum capacity, the manufacturer can advise the operator with a recommended engine size so as not to overpower the boat. Larger engines can make a vessel run faster, but also increase the risks associated with taking it out on the water.

Vessels are designed to carry a specific amount of weight and stress which corresponds to it. Larger engines can increase the weight carried by the vessel which can risk overloading it, but also add additional strain the so steering mechanism.

This increases the risk of damage to the vessel which is not designed for a larger engine, making it more difficult to control the vessel. This can then lead to increased risk of accidents and collisions.


What Are The Operator's Responsibilities?


What Are The Operator’s Responsibilities?

The vessels operator has many responsibilities, including:

  1. Ensuring everyone onboard wears a lifejacket, including children and those who struggle to swim.
  2. Not allowing passengers to sit on the bow or seatbacks when the vessel is operating at a high speed. This can increase the risk of falling overboard and therefore be considered reckless operation.
  3. Abide by all rules of the waterway and ensure everyone onboard the vessel does the same.
  4. Avoid all unnecessary risks to optimise the safety of the passengers.
  5. Be aware of how to handle the vessel, being aware of stopping distance, optimal cruising speeds and a turn radius.
  6. Always take into account how much fuel is on reserve before setting off.
  7. Check the weather in advance. Be prepared that conditions can change quickly and have a safe location in mind which can be accessed easily if the weather does change.


Be Aware Of The Appropriate Fuelling Practices

If the operator or individual controlling the boat is not aware of the proper fuelling practices involved, there will be a risk of fire onboard the vessel. Fuel vapor will travel to the lowest section of the boat which typically runs through the engine space, increasing the risk of explosion.

If the correct precautions are taken, this risk can be avoided. The correct steps to ensure a boat is fuelled properly are:

  1. Ensure the boat is secured, usually at a dock.
  2. Ensure there are no passengers onboard the vessel.
  3. Turn of anything electric, including the engine.
  4. Close hatches/ports.
  5. Keep the fuel nozzle in contact with the opening.
  6. Ensure the tank is not overfilled, as this can cause leakage.
  7. Ensure the fuel cap is replaced tightly so that no fuel can escape.
  8. Run the blower for a few minutes to ensure all stray vapors can be released.
  9. Secure any portable tanks in an open space.


Take Coldwater Immersion Seriously

Anyone who is exposed the cold weather when out on the water is in a dangerous situation. It is important to dress properly for the weather to ensure you are not at risk of freezing, and ensure your passengers do the same. In addition to this, lifejackets should always be worn when boating.