HomeBoat InsuranceKeep everyone safe at the lake! – The Fort Morgan Times

Keep everyone safe at the lake! – The Fort Morgan Times

Spring and summer are the time of year to get outside and enjoy fun activities as a family. Favorite activities for many are boating, fishing, and jet-skiing on our local reservoirs. Implementing basic safety practices when enjoying water sports is key to ensuring these activities are safe and enjoyable! Here are some tips to keep you and your family safe this year as you spend time on the water.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife offers a “Boating Safely in Colorado” course for only $15 open to adults and teens. This course provides valuable information for anyone regardless of age or experience level, but is required for individuals who are 14 or 15 years old to lawfully operate a motorboat, jet ski, or sailboat. A parent or guardian must attend the class with 14- or 15-year-old students. Successful completion of this course could save you 10-15% on boat insurance!

Before you go to the lake, check your equipment, and review the navigation information for your vessel. You may request a safety inspection on your vessel at any time. While there may be safety requirements for the specific vessel you are using, there are also some common requirements for all.

On-board safety equipment should include a sound-producing device such as a whistle, horn, or air horn, as well as a fire extinguisher.

Perhaps most importantly is to be sure you have an authorized personal flotation device (PFD) for each person going out on your boat. A personal flotation device, also known as a life jacket, will keep the individual afloat with their head and mouth above the surface of the water. Always wearing your PFD while you are out on the water is best and children 12 and under are required by law to wear one whenever their boat is on the water. PFDs must be readily accessible, not stored in an out-of-reach location. In many accidents, passengers not wearing a personal flotation device have drowned. No matter how good you are at swimming, when faced with a fear-inducing experience your mind may react differently than you expect. In addition to keeping a person afloat, life jackets are also designed to keep your body temperature warm while out in the water waiting to be rescued.

It is important that you ensure each person’s PFD fits them properly and they know how to use it. If it is too small, it may not be able to keep your body afloat and if it is too big it may cause the flotation device to push up around your face which is extremely dangerous. The PFD should be snug, yet flexible enough to allow you multiple motions for your chosen water activity. Key considerations in determining the proper size include length as well as placement and number of straps. For adults, chest measurement is the key factor in sizing. There are distinct categories when choosing a device for youth, children or infants and weight is the most important consideration.

There are several types of traditional PFDs, and each is designed to be used for different water activities and conditions. Each PFD has its own maximum buoyancy, performance level and limitations. Keep your planned activities and conditions in mind when selecting a U.S. Coast Guard-approved PFD. Also, PFDs should be viewed as an investment like any other safety equipment on board. The label or manual that came with your PFDs will include general cleaning and care instructions.

Finally, learn what to do in the event of an accident. It’s required that you stop at the scene and assist others if you can safely do so. If the incident results in one of the following then each operator involved must file an accident report within five days: loss of life or disappearance from a vessel, an injury that required medical treatment beyond first aid, or property damage more than $2,000.

The three leading causes of boating accidents in Colorado are careless operation, excessive speed, and lack of attention. The two leading causes of boating fatalities in Colorado are capsizing and boating under the influence of alcohol. When you load the boat for a day out, make sure everything is in balance and you are carrying only what your boat can manage. Also be sure the operator is sober.

This summer take the steps to ensure everyone has a fun and carefree experience on the water!

To learn more, go to https://cpw.state.co.us/learn/Pages/BoatingSafety.aspx.

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