Ah, Spring: the time of year coveted by boaters across the country all Winter long. If yours has been one of the many regions affected by cold weather conditions, then take advantage of the Season! According to the NMMA, half of the 16 million recreational boats in the country are captained by avid fishermen. This is no surprise to us here at NBOA, as many of our agents are boating and fishing enthusiasts as well.
So, are you really ready for the Open Season? Here are some things to consider before setting off for your first fishing trip of the year.
- Did you remember to renew your fishing license? Most states offer easy online options for payment and restoration, and Michigan actually introduced a mobile application for a 24-Hour Fishing License! However, if you are old-fashioned, visiting any local sporting goods or tackle shop will do the trick.
- Get organized. Sift through the items in your tackle box and review the condition of your rods and reels. You have been parted for months - make sure you have all the pieces you will need on the water.
- Consult a boating checklist. Depending on your vessel, these items will vary, but here are a few to get you started:
- There should be one life jacket per person on board, always. Make sure these are USCG approved, fit correctly, have been checked within the last calendar year for proper-buoyancy, and are in no way, shape or form altered.
- Batteries should be fully charged, or if necessary, replaced. Remember to test all electronics.
- If you didn't change the engine's oil at the end of last summer, do it now. This will help prevent corrosion and wear, which could lead to loss of power and even absolute engine failure.
- Flush the cooling system.
- Inspect the entirety of your hull. Look for tears and mildew on cushions. Seek corrosion or chips on the body and repair accordingly.
- Always have a First-Aid kit handy. You never know what kinds of mishaps can happen on the water.
- If you trailer your boat, make sure you have a safe and successful launch by doing the following:
- Make sure your trailer's load capacity is appropriate for the size and weight of your boat.
- Fuel tanks and other equipment should be properly secured to prevent the shifting of weight while on the road.
- Check turn signals and brake lights.
- Properly lubricate al wheel bearings.
- Make sure you put the drain plug in the boat before launch (this is the leading cause of small boat claims) and have all fishing equipment properly stowed.
- Bring plenty of water on board, and don't forget your sunscreen! Fishing is an all-day activity, and dehydration
- and sunburn are frequent occurrences. Be prepared and always make time to stay hydrated and lather up with lotion.
- Remember to let your insurance agent know if you've added any new accessories to the boat over the off-season. New fish finders, chargers, engine accessories, cover, etc. should be mentioned so your agent knows your boat has increased in overall value. Same goes for any new fishing gear you'll have with the boat most of the time. You don't want to have to buy it twice should something happen to it or the boat.
- Be safe. Don't drink and boat. And as always, tight lines!
NBOA Marine Insurance is there for you. We believe in quality, impeccable customer service and competitive insurance rates. At NBOA, we are not only marine insurance agents, but boating enthusiasts. We have extensive knowledge of the water, and have made it a priority to educate the marine savvy on the many tips we have gathered over the years. To learn more about NBOA, visit www.nboat.com or call an agent directly at 1.800.248.3512.