Resources & Insights

6 Things to Keep in Mind Before Hauling Out the Boat

June 8, 2017

The weather is warming up (finally) and that means just one thing: Time to take out the boat.

boat insurance
CCIG’s Mike Rosser.

Lots of us love boating, of course. In fact, nearly 90 million U.S. adults take part in recreational boating. The total value of recreational boats sold reached over $3.6 billion in 2016. And there are more 12 million recreational vessels registered in the U.S.

Sadly, there also are thousands of recreational boating accidents each year, many of which involve injuries or worse.

So, before you get out on the water, this might be a good time to make sure you have adequate boat insurance coverage and perhaps even brush up on basic safety guidelines.

The best boating policies provide “all risk” coverage, meaning that if the cause of loss is not specifically excluded, you’ll be covered. Typical causes of loss that are covered include: weather-related perils such as wind, rain, hail, lightning and wave action; fire; loss or damage caused by theft or vandalism; and collisions with docks, submerged or floating objects or other boats.

Here, then, are six things to keep in mind if you’re in the market for a boat or raring to get back out on the water:

    1. Be sure your policy has an adequate limit of coverage for Medical Payments. Medical Payment coverage will pay for first aid treatment, ambulance, hospital and other costs that result from someone being injured on your boat, even if you are not legally responsible. Check to make sure that injuries to you and your family are also included in this coverage.
    2. It’s not an issue when you’re boating on a lake or reservoir, but when you’re on open water, it can be easy to lose track of exactly where you are. Why’s that important? Because policies have navigational limits. That means your insurer might decline coverage for a claim if something were to happen outside of those limits.
    3. Got uninsured boater coverage? Many boaters operate without liability coverage because it isn’t required. That means you could bear the brunt of the financial hit in case of an accident caused by an operator or another boat without liability insurance.
    4. Know what’s covered. Water-skiing, tubing and organized racing might actually not be covered by your insurer. So, again, check your policy.
    5. Don’t let the younger kids take the helm. Most states have age restrictions on who is allowed to operate a boat, similar to the age restrictions on driving motor vehicles. In Colorado, you must be 16 to operate a boat.
    6. Think safety first. A boating safety certification won’t just help remind you of the rules, it may help lower your insurance premiums. Also, some insurers will give credits for such safety items as an automatic fire extinguishing system in the engine compartment, a fume or vapor detector in the bilge, or certain anti-theft alarm or tracking devices.

Mike Rosser leads the Private Client practice at CCIG. Reach him at or 720-212-2068.

Helpful Tips: To learn more about boating safety, visit

Also read: The Fine Art of Determining Value

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