|[July 28, 2014]
From Lifejackets to Carbon Monoxide Detectors: ACE Recreational Marine Insurance Announces Top Ten Recreational Boating Tips
PHILADELPHIA --(Business Wire)--
Recreational boating activity soars during warm weather months, and so
do boating accidents and injuries. According to the U.S. Coast Guard's
"Boating Statistics 2013,"1 the most recent year available,
there were nearly 12 million registered recreational boats in the United
States. With so many boaters enjoying the waterways, it is no surprise
that more than 4,000 boating accidents, involving more than 5,400
vessels, were reported in 2013, with far more accidents that go
unreported each year. In addition, more than 2,600 people required
medical treatment beyond first aid and 560 died as a result of boating
accidents. The total property damage in 2013 from reported accidents
increased to approximately $39 million.
Though the statistics are alarming, the risk of boating injuries and
accidents can be minimized. According to the U.S. Coast Guard, the vast
majority of reported incidents involved factors that were within the
control of boat operators. To help reduce the number of preventable
accidents this boating season, ACE Recreational Marine Insurance, one of
the nation's largest recreational marine insurance providers, and part
of ACE Group, has released an updated list of the top ten tips to help
recreational boaters stay safe.
"As you would expect, most boating fatalities occur when the waterways
are most crowded with recreational boaters - more than 70 percent
occurred between May and September," said Damon R. Hostetter, Senior
Vice President, ACE Recreational Marine Insurance. "That so many of
these accidents are preventable only compounds the tragedy. Safe boating
should be the aim of all boaters and comes from ongoing education and
training, as well as hands-on boating experience. Understanding and
obeying navigational rules and safety procedures have proven to help
reduce injuries and property damage," said Mr. Hostetter.
ACE Recreational Marine Top Ten Recreational Boating Safety Tips
Always wear a life jacket and insist that your crew and guests do
the same. Approximately 77 percent of fatal boating accident
victims drowned in 2013.1 Almost 84 percent of those who
drowned were not wearing a life jacket, and 8 out of every 10 boaters
who drowned were on vessels less than 21 feet in length. Always have
an adequate supply of life jackets aboard. Make sure that children are
wearing appropriate life jackets that fit correctly. Drowning was the
reported cause of death for approximately 36 percent of the children
under the age of 13 who perished in boating accidents in 2013. In cold
water areas, life jackets are even more important. Hypothermia is a
significant risk factor for injury or even death while boating. Cold
water accelerates the onset and progression of hypothermia since body
heat can be lost 25 times faster in cold water than in cold air.
Boaters can be at risk of hypothermia in warm waters as well, where
expected time of survival can be as little as two hours in waters as
warm as 60 - 70°F. To learn hypothermia risk factors and how to better
your chances of survival, visit: http://www.seagrant.umn.edu/coastal_communities/hypothermia.
Never drink alcohol while boating. Alcohol use was again the
leading factor in all fatal boating accidents, and in 2013 contributed
to 75 fatalities, 16 percent of recreational boating deaths. 1
Stay sharp on the water by leaving the alcohol on dry land.
Take a boating safety course. Only 13 percent of deaths
occurred on boats where the operator had received boating safety
instruction from a provider offering a course that meets U.S. Coast
Guard-recognized national standards.1 You may even qualify
for a reduced insurance rate if you complete a safety course. Contact
your local Coast Guard Auxiliary, United States Power Squadron chapter,2
or visit http://www.uscgboating.org
for information on courses in your area.
Stay in control by taking charge of your safety and that of your
passengers. Boaters between the ages of 36 and 55 accounted
for the highest percentage of boating fatalities (38%) and injuries
(39%) more than any age group in 2013.1 With nearly 5,500
vessels involved in accidents last year, it is imperative to maintain
control of your vessel and your passengers. Don't forget that safety
begins with you.
Understand and obey boating safety recommendations and navigational
rules. Imagine the mayhem that would result if car drivers
disregarded highway traffic laws. In 2013, violations of navigation
rules were contributing factors in more than 200 accidents and 15
deaths. Know and understand boating safety procedures and rules of
navigation before taking to the water, and practice them without fail.
Operate at a safe speed and always maintain a proper lookout.
Overall, operator inattention, improper lookout, operator
inexperience, excess speed and machinery failure were the top five
primary contributing factors in all reported accidents.1
Know your boat's limitations as well as your own. Take note of
visibility, traffic density and the proximity of navigation hazards
like shoals, rocks or floating objects. Don't invite a collision by
going faster than is prudent.
Check the weather forecast. A calm day can quickly turn ugly on
the water. There were 40 deaths in 2013 attributed to adverse weather
conditions. Keep an eye out for changing weather conditions and stay
on top of the forecast while boating. Promptly heed all weather and
Register for a free MMSI (Maritime Mobile Service Identity) Number,
and have a VHF radio equipped with Digital Selective Calling (DSC).
When in coastal and inshore waters, these preparations can help take
the search out of search and rescue. DCS allows the VHF radio to
transfer information digitally, not just by voice, and to instantly
send a digital distress alert to the Coast Guard upon activation of
the emergency button. Part of that alert is the MMSI number, similar
to a phone number for your boat, which will identify your vessel
automatically; without one, the digital distress functions on a
DSC-equipped VHF radio will not function. DSC-equipped radios also
need to be interfaced with a GPS when they are installed so your exact
position can be relayed to rescuers when an emergency message is sent
in a distress situation. If you go offshore, always carry an Emergency
Position Indicating Radio Beacon or Global Positioning System
interfaced with an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon
(EPIRB/GPIRB), and/or a Personal Locator Beacon (PLB). To register for
an MMSI and learn more about the Global Maritime Distress and Safety
System (GMDSS), visit: http://www.usps.org/php/mmsi/home.php.
Use a carbon monoxide (CO) detector. Carbon monoxide can harm and
even kill you inside or on the deck of your boat. All internal
combustion engines emit carbon monoxide, a poisonous gas that can make
you sick in seconds and kill in minutes, even with just a few breaths.
Symptoms are similar to seasickness or alcohol intoxication, and can
affect you whether you are underway, moored or anchored. Remember, you
cannot see, smell or taste carbon monoxide, so know the symptoms of
carbon monoxide poisoning and avoid extended use of the transom area
when engines are operating. To learn more about how to protect those
onboard from exposure to carbon monoxide, visit http://www.uscgboating.org/safety/carbon_monoxide.aspx.
File a float plan. The U.S. Coast Guard recommends that you
always tell a friend or family member where you plan to go and when
you'll be back. Make it a habit before leaving on any boat trip. The
proper officials can be notified promptly if you don't return when
According to Mr. Hostetter, educated and prepared recreational boaters
can result in greater overall boating safety. "Another important
preparation is to have reliable and comprehensive insurance in place.
Few people would drive a car without adequate insurance, yet countless
recreational boaters take this risk," he noted.
Boat owners can insure for physical damage coverage to repair or replace
the boat if it's damaged or destroyed by a myriad of causes including
running aground, fire, theft, lightning, or windstorm. Boat owners may
be unaware that liability insurance can provide important coverage
including obligations to pay for bodily injury, property damage and
pollution as a result of the ownership, operation or maintenance of the
watercraft. They can also protect themselves and their passengers by
purchasing insurance that will cover medical expenses that become
necessary due to bodily injury while the person is boarding, aboard,
off-loading or being towed behind the watercraft.
Another point to consider is that boat owners can also have their vessel
checked for safety-for free. The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and U.S.
Power Squadrons offer Vessel Safety Checks at no cost. Since unsafe
boats are a threat to all recreational boaters, it's important for boat
owners to make sure their vessel is as safe as possible. For more
information, visit the U.S. Coast Guard web site at http://www.uscgboating.org/fedreqs/default.html.
In addition to the boating safety tips above, ACE offers other free
preparation guides and information on a wide range of safety and loss
prevention topics. Please visit www.acemarineinsurance.com
to download these safety brochures, by selecting "Pleasure Boats and
Yachts" on the homepage, and clicking on the "Safety and Loss Prevention
Tips" link in the "Boater Learning Center" section.
ACE Recreational Marine Insurance, part of ACE Private Risk Services,
has been serving marine clients for more than 200 years, since 1792 when
its predecessor company wrote its first marine insurance policy in the
United States. ACE offers exceptional all-risk insurance coverage to
protect the entire spectrum of pleasure yachts and boats, including
classic boats, luxury mega-yachts and sailboats, sport fishing boats,
ski boats, personal watercraft and select charter vessels. Product
highlights are summaries only; please see actual policy for terms and
conditions. Products may not be available in all states.
Any summary of information or available coverages is intended as general
information and is not intended to amend, alter or modify the actual
terms, limits or conditions contained in any policy of insurance or its
declarations. Exclusions and limitations may apply to some losses.
Coverage may not be available in all states. Coverage is governed solely
by the terms and conditions of the policy itself. Insurance buyers
should consult their agent, broker or other insurance professional if
they have questions about their insurance needs.
ACE Private Risk Services is the high net worth personal insurance
business of ACE Group, and provides specialty coverage for homeowners,
automobile, recreational marine, umbrella liability and collections
insurance for financially successful individuals and families. ACE Group
is one of the world's largest multiline property and casualty insurers.
With operations in 54 countries, ACE provides commercial and personal
property and casualty insurance, personal accident supplemental health
insurance, reinsurance, and life insurance to a diverse group of
clients. ACE Limited, the parent company of ACE Group, is listed on the
New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: ACE) and is a component of the S&P 500
index. Additional information can be found at www.acegroup.com,
or follow ACE on Twitter (News - Alert) https://twitter.com/ACE_GroupNA.
of the United States Coast Guard
2 United States Power Squadron. www.usps.org
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