TIPS To Prepare You For Boat Season
A lot of our clients here at BSP Insurance have been asking about ways to prepare for boat season, so we recently sat down with Bob Petzold, president of Petzold’s Marine Center, and he gave us a few tips! Petzold’s is a family-run business and opened its doors in 1945. They are now one of the largest boat dealers in New England and represent some of the finest new boats in the industry. There are three Marine Center locations including Portland and Norwalk, CT as well as Rhode Island.
After a long and cold winter, spring brings an exciting time of wanting to get your watercrafts back in the water, but you want to go over a few things to ensure a successful launch and and an even better boat season!
1. Mechanical Systems
Prior to launching your boat you want to check all mechanical systems, your lights, bilge pumps, bilge blowers, horns, and make sure all batteries are fully charged. Make sure to check for any signs of leaks, rust, mold, rot or damage. “As the boat has been sitting, you may have winter gremlins that come in.” says Bob, meaning that unfortunately during the cold months some critters may find their way on board and chew through wires. Also, an oil change is always suggested to do before putting the boat back in the water even if it was done last fall. Overall, make sure to inspect all the mechanical aspects of the boat because it will be much easier to find out and fix on land.
2. Safety and Coast Guard equipment
You should at least have the minimum required safety equipment necessary for your vessel. This includes personal floatation devices for each person on board or being towed, a fire extinguisher, a visual distress signal, backfire flame control, and a sound producing device such as a bell, horn or whistle. Proper ventilation and vessel lighting are also required. If you are unsure of what is specifically required for your boat you can download a checklist and boating safety guide from coastguardfoundation.org!
3. Clean and wax
Another task that is much easier to do while your boat is on land is cleaning the interior and exterior of your boat. After cleaning once the boat is dry, you may want to apply a layer of wax and buff to shine and protect the fiberglass. If you equip yourself with the right tools and products this does not have to be a long and daunting task. Plus, doing so will help preserve the looks of your boat as well as it’s value.
4. Bottom Paint
When your boat is kept in water for extended periods of time, it might be suggested to paint the bottom of your boat. It helps prevent the growth of organisms that might attach to the hull and can affect the speed, performance and durability of your boat. There are two different categories of bottom paint, the first is hard bottom paint, which is a hard modified epoxy that is very durable and doesn’t generally wear off. The second is ablative bottom paint, known as a self-polishing paint that is softer and allows the coating to wear off at a controlled rate. Make sure to research both and see which would be most beneficial to use for you and your boat!
5. Insure your boat!!!
While not required in the state of CT, having insurance on your boat is highly recommended. There are two major expenses that could occur if you don’t have a policy in place. The first one being of course liability, which would cover cover costs if you are found at fault for any accident, bodily injuries and property damage. Secondly, environmental damage costs are a lot more than you may think. While talking with Bob, he said “Probably the biggest expense would be in hazardous materials or discharge of oil or fluid into the water and those expenses can be very costly. You think ‘Well, I can afford to lose a $5,000 boat’ but can you afford to lose $150,000 in environmental damage in the event that the boat sinks or you have an oil leak.” There’s always risk to your boat in and out of the water, so having boat insurance will always be suggested to boat owners. Please reach out to our agency at anytime to receive a quote and answer any questions you may have regarding boat insurance!
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