Carelessness can be recipe for injury for boaters

With boating season around the corner, the Boat Owners Association of the United States* is reminding marine enthusiasts to be cautious when prepping their watercrafts for the first time this year, as carelessness may lead to a boat insurance claim or injury.

Don't weigh down the ladder

One of the more common issues that can easily be avoided is putting too much weight on boat ladders. BoatUS notes that at the beginning of the season, it is not uncommon to see boating enthusiasts going up and down their ladders as they bring various supplies on board. Nevertheless, if boat owners are not careful, carrying especially heavy items can cause wood ladders to break and others to buckle.

To avoid this, BoatUS recommends consulting with any warning labels listed on the ladder, which should say how much weight it is able to sustain safely, and not overload it. In addition, to prevent injury, boaters are advised not to go up and down ladder steps with sandals or flip-flops, as they can catch and cause injury to the person or damage the boat itself if carrying something heavy or sharp.

Keep jack stand in place

After a boat has been kept in storage for the winter, it is not uncommon for owners to apply a fresh coat of paint to the watercraft’s hull. However, there is usually an area of the hull that can be difficult to reach without removing the jack stand. BoatUS says removing it is not a good idea, as when it is on dry dock, it is the jack stand is what is holding it in place.

“Lesson: Have the yard put the boat in a sling to finish the last few spots, or ask to have them add extra stands first,” BoatUS cautions.

Always block trailer tires

Something else that prevents a boat from moving are blocked trailer tires. However, thinking that the jack stand is sufficient, many people do not block the wheels. BoatUS says a boater learned this lesson when he shifted his weight while he was in the boat, causing him to fall to the pavement when the watercraft moved. BoatUS says this can be avoided by blocking the wheels “every time, all the time,” even if it appears as though the boat does not need them.

Avoid overreaching

Finally, BoatUS says that while a waxed boat can give the watercraft the extra shine it needs to attract others’ attention, boat owners shouldn’t go out of their way to wax portions of the boat that are out of their reach. Stretching beyond one’s means to wax hard-to-reach areas increases the risk of falling when situated on a ladder or in some other precarious position.

Instead, boaters should not only refrain from overextending, but also ensure that the ladder underneath them is sturdy. It may be a good idea to have someone hold the ladder down so it cannot sway or tip over.

*according to The Boat Owners Association of the United States on March 12, 2012
via Peter Montanez

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