There’s nothing quite like boating in the fall out on the open water on a beautiful autumn day and enjoying the changing tree colors. Fall is some people’s favorite time of year to go boating, but the shorter days and cold water can create dangerous situations. There are some essential things to keep in mind before you get in your boat this autumn. Taking proper steps before heading out on the water also means securing the right kind of boat insurance so you can have peace of mind and be properly protected in a time of need.

Here are the top tips for boating in the fall.

Dress For The Weather

Fall time can bring unpredictable weather conditions. Remember to dress in layers, starting with a thin base layer, and avoid things like jeans and cotton shirts, as these materials are not easy to dry and do not retain heat as well as wool and synthetic materials. It’s also smart to have a separate bag handy of heavier clothing and rain gear in case bad weather hits.

Be Prepared

Crowded waterways mean boaters must be up on navigation regulations. Review how to handle crossing and overtake situations. You should also be well prepared on how to deal with meeting another boat head-on.

Fall is known for unexpected storms. Keep an eye on the weather prior to your trip and throughout so you’re not caught off guard.

Plan Ahead

All boaters should have a float plan in place and leave it with a friend or family member prior to going out on the water. This will provide a record of where you intend to go and when you intend to return. If you do get in trouble on the water, time is of the essence.

Leave Alcohol Ashore

Alcohol’s impairing effects on coordination are a huge threat to everyone on board. Operating a boat while intoxicated also could lead to a boating under the influence charge, which comes with a hefty fine.

Do A Systems Check

Check fluid levels and the bilge, ensuring water isn’t getting in before taking off. Also, examine engine belts and ensure the batteries are charging when the engine is started. With trailierable boats, check the steering before the boat leaves the ramp and the drain plug once you’ve launched. No matter what kind of boat you have, it is always a good idea to make sure water is exting the exhaust

Be sure your navigation lights are working properly and have a handheld radio with digital selective calling (DSC) so you can send a distress signal if need be.

Gear Up On Safety

It is always better to be safe than sorry and have a personal locator beacon (PLB) or an emergency position-indicating radio beacon (EPIRB). These devices will allow you to be located by satellite if you wind up in an emergency situation.

Everyone on board should know where to locate safety gear and properly wear and inflate life jackets. These should be easily accessible to everyone.

Avoid Distractions

With increased traffic on the waterways, drivers must maintain a proper lookout. Keep phones away, and know when to tune out conversations on board.  It is advised to have another passenger assist as a lookout.

Wear a PFD

Boaters should always wear a personal flotation device, which is even more important when it’s cold. Chilly fall nights mean the water is very cold. Wearing a PFD will help protect you from the initial shock if you go in the water.

Adequate Lighting

Darkness comes earlier each day during the fall, so it is crucial to be prepared with a waterproof headlamp and/or flashlight. It is also crucial that you make sure your navigational lights are working properly.

About Thayer Innes and Freeman Bunting Insurance Agencies

At Thayer-Innes Insurance Agency and Freeman Bunting Insurance Agency, we strive to provide comprehensive insurance solutions to support Ann Arbor homeowners. Our homeowners’ policies can be tailored to meet your specific risk exposures and provides much more coverage than a traditional policy, giving you the peace of mind you deserve. For more information about our products, contact us today at (855) 395-6316.