With Memorial Day just around the corner, we want to send a friendly reminder to boaters to follow safety procedures. Throughout Wisconsin’s 11,190 square miles of water, lakes are full of fishermen, skiers and recreational boaters. Understanding the risks of water sports and taking safety precautions can help you stay safe on the water.

Boating Safety Tips

  1. Do not operate a watercraft under the influence of alcohol. It is illegal to operate a boat while under the influence of alcohol or drugs in every state.
  2. Never use a boat that is not equipped with fully operational safety equipment on board. Any boat should contain:
    • life preservers for all occupants
    • a well-stocked first aid kit
    • a powerful flashlight
    • two-way VHF radio
    • fire extinguisher
    • flare kit
    • local area water chart
  3. Never exceed the passenger capacity recommended by the manufacturer
  4. Always keep all owner’s manuals on board.

Personal Water Crafts

  1. Strictly follow all safety guidelines and make sure anyone driving the vehicle knows exactly how to operate it and shut it off.
  2. Take care and understand the risks in storing and transporting personal water crafts. Standard homeowners and auto policies will not cover theft of the water vehicle from a trailer.
  3. Depending on what state you live in, there may be certain age or licensing requirements to operate a boat or personal water craft, so check with local officials about boating rules and regulations.

Do you have insurance for that boat?

Your homeowners policy provides limited coverage on watercraft, including trailers, equipment and outboard motors. Your personal property coverage of your homeowners will cover the smallest and simplest boats and motors up to $1,000. Please note: if you have wind or hail damage, the loss is covered only when the watercraft and equipment is inside a fully enclosed building.
In Wisconsin, liability coverage (up to policy limits) is available under your homeowners policy for boats under 26 feet long. There is no liability coverage for inboard or out-board motors. If you have a larger boat, you will need to purchase a Boat Owners policy or a yacht policy. This covers the motor, boat and trailer, as well as bodily injury or property damage caused by the watercraft.

Understand your liability on the water and consider these questions:

  • Does my policy have adequate liability limits?
  • Can anyone operate the boat?
  • Who is covered on my policy?
  • Do I have coverage to tow skiers or tubers?
  • Are there discounts for taking safety courses?

Information from Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America, Inc.