Some states require boat owners to complete a boating safety course before they hit the lake. However, even if it isn't a state requirement, a boating safety course can help an owner make an informed decision on boat insurance

Why does this matter? No state mandates boating insurance. However, if the boat is financed, the lien-holder will usually require the craft to be insured. Additionally, many marinas require proof of liability insurance before they will rent dock space. Typical liability limits range from $100,000, $300,000, and $500,000 and both the lien-holder and marina may require they be listed as an additional insured party.

Another question is what kind of boating safety course will help an owner with insurance. Typically, the course must be approved by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA). Popular courses are given by the Coast Guard Auxiliary. NASBLA maintains a list of approved safety courses on its website. Boat owners with questions about the positive effect of a boating safety course should confer with their insurance agent.

A NASBLA approved safety course will teach a boat owner about the legal requirements of boat ownership, equipment, and operations. For example, to meet the standards a course must include, at a minimum, information on responsible boating such as registration, personal flotation devices (PFDs), sizing and safe use of PFDs, fire extinguishers, cabin ventilation, lights, signaling, weather, transport, maintenance, fueling, anchoring, environmental regulations, dangers of reckless boating, and repercussions of operating under the influence of drugs or alcohol. 

An approved course also teaches the basics of seamanship and navigation. While many of the "rules of the road" from driving apply, there are special considerations while operating on water. Without an asphalt road to keep a driver on track, boat owners must maintain proper lookout and safe speeds. Signage is also different and a safe boat operator needs to know how to read buoys and channel markers. 
The net effect is that an aware and well-educated boat owner is less likely to cause an accident or suffer an injury. Just like a safe driver has lower insurance rates, a safe boater may reap the benefits of their diligence. 

Only an insurance agent can help a boat owner evaluate the value of boating safety classes and the effect it may have on their insurance. The best course to chart is to get information on the course and make an appointment with an insurance professional at Casey Insurance Group today at 888-537-1412.

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