Alaska lakes and waterways offer some of the most dramatic scenery and exciting fishing opportunities in the country. These factors attract thousands of boaters during the peak season. Unfortunately, not all boaters are created equal – some operators are inexperienced, make poor decisions or simply ignore posted signs and regulations.

These operators, and those simply trying to enjoy a day on the lake, are far too often involved in accidents. Boat accidents are often very serious in nature, and can leave victims facing life altering injuries or losses. In fact, the United States Coast Guard states that in 2011, 15 boaters died as a result of accidents on Alaska waterways. Many others suffered serious injuries, including loss of limbs or paralysis in accidents involving boats and personal watercraft.

How can you avoid a boating accident?

Some accidents are inescapable, others can be avoided by keeping a few key boater safety tips in mind, including:

• Be aware of your surroundings and all boaters in your vicinity

• Never operate a boat or watercraft under the influence of drugs or alcohol

• Be sure to have adequate flotation devices for all passengers

• Adhere to all regulations and posted speed limit or wake signs

• Children under the age of 16 should take a boater’s safety class

• Inexperienced operators should take extra care when at the helm

Limit the harm done by an accident.

Sometimes, no matter how careful you are, accidents simply cannot be escaped. In these situations, it is important to know how to limit the financial damage done by the crash.

The most important step in protecting yourself against the financial impact of an accident is to carry proper boat coverage. Your boat policy should address a number of details or potential losses, including:

• Repair costs: Boats are expensive. So are boat repairs. Your policy should cover any damage to your boat resulting from the crash.

• Replacement costs: If your boat cannot be repaired after a crash, or is stolen, your policy should cover the costs of replacing it.

• Medical care: Your boat insurance policy should offer adequate protection for any medical necessary for victims of the boat accident.

• Towing costs: Some insurers offer towing insurance as a policy option. This policy option offers coverage for towing your boat to shore or to a repair shop following an accident or malfunction. Often, towing insurance is very inexpensive, and does not require a deductible.

Do you know the rules and regulations of your favorite lake or waterway? Is your boat insurance package up to the task of handling a serious accident?

Source: United Stated Coast Guard —-

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