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boat on waterIf you’re operating a boating business, you take on risks not just for yourself and your boat. You also assume risks for your cargo, including passengers.

Boat masters have to undertake inspections for the safety of passengers and crew. These are often mandated by law.

Masters should thoroughly check a boat and its system before taking on passengers. By doing so, they reduce the chances of damages or injuries leading to insurance claims against the business.

Keep in mind a few of these inspection tips as a boat master. Remember these checks before you cast off with passengers. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it can help a boat master avoid insurance risks.

Before Embarking Passengers

Undertake these common tasks before you take on passengers. Make sure that you secure the boat before you allow passengers to board.

  • Ensure that the passenger area is clean and tidy. Make sure that exit signs, safety information and hazard signs are all present in the area. Clear all emergency exits and make them accessible.
  • Check vital systems like the electrical, steering, engine and navigation apparatuses.
  • Ensure that navigational lights function correctly.
  • Make sure your radio and your emergency systems fully function.
  • Store cargo in secured areas. Make sure that cargo is not at risk of breaking lose, falling, or catching fire.
  • Make sure that fire alarms and suppressants are always on hand. Check that they still work correctly and have not expired.
  • Check emergency materials like flares, rafts and life jackets. Make sure that these items aren’t corroded or broken.
  • Check your anchor and mooring system. Don’t allow passengers to board until the boat is tightly secured to its moors.

As Passengers Embark

An improperly handled embarkation could lead to injuries or damages to the boat.

  • Make sure to hang gangways and boarding stairs in secure and appropriate ways.
  • Check passengers for any dangerous or prohibited materials. Require them to store potentially dangerous items in a certain area of the boat or leave the items on land.
  • Assist any passengers who need help boarding.
  • Don’t allow passengers into prohibited areas.

Before Casting Off

Once passengers are aboard, observe certain procedures before you leave the dock.

  • Require all passengers to don life jackets.
  • Have passengers store all luggage and parcels in safe, secure areas that don’t pose risks to others.
  • Instruct passengers in proper safety practices while aboard your boat.

Importantly, follow the letter of the law regarding passenger safety and boat inspections. Never cut corners. Make sure that all passengers practice safety aboard the boat. By doing so, you can help protect your boating business from insurance risks.

Give Voyager Insurance Services, Inc. a call today at (860) 521-1420. We can get you the best commercial boat coverage at a great price. Go online now for a fast, free quote.
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