Free Moving Water - Avoid a boat insurance claim!

When navigating through free flowing waters, be they the high seas or internal rivers and estuaries, strong currents, tides and strong water flows can all stretch and potentially catch out the most experienced of captain. Whether it's free flowing water, shallow water or the deep seas it deserves your absolute respect, particularly at times of weather extremes. Give their navigation your full concentration to ensure you apply the best judgement, vigilance and navigational skill to which you are capable. Clearly, the effect of any type of flow be they erratic or otherwise results in a faster moving vessel and one which isn't going to necessarily respond exactly as you would prefer. The result (as a boat insurance company we are unfortunately too well qualified to confirm!) is an increase in likelihood of accidents and harm to passengers.

Here are some simple safety tips which we recommend you follow to absolutely maximise the likelihood of avoiding the common pitfalls;

  • Don't try to cover too much territory in one day and thus always plan some contingency time into your schedule, after all what's the rush?
  • Ensure you have an anchor and chain available for use at all times when in free flowing water and always wear your life-jackets.
  • Alert others if unable to re-position your vessel in time (1 long horn blast + 2 short horn blasts)
  • Stay away from river weirs, always, but be even more cautious after heavy rains.
  • Always give way to faster moving vessels or vessels much larger than you, again, there is no hurry?
  • Don't go out at night, period... leave that to the professionals.
  • When inexperienced, always boat with an experienced captain and/or take some lessons.
  • Read the weather reports, don’t cruise in tough conditions... tie-up, wait, relax... stress-free living is what boating is all about!
  • Know the capabilities of your vessel... can it cope with the current strength of tide/ flow?
  • Accept that sometimes mother nature will change your plans/ prevent you from going out, hence planning some contingency time into your schedule.
  • Always allow an appropriate amount of slack in mooring ropes to provide for adjustments in tides/ lock water levels.
  • Always test all your essential equipment before you venture out. Particularly your navigation equipment.
  • Make sure someone on land is aware of your journey and schedule, check in and out with them at the beginning and end of your journey.

This article was brought to you with best intentions to help keep you safe and avoid a boat insurance claim! Its contents are provided with best intentions only, if in doubt always seek professional advice!

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