Marinalife Insurance ServicesHints and Tips

Hints and Tips - featuring Top Ten Safety Tips and Hurricane Checklist 

What am I Buying???       

Insurance coverage details are often overlooked, misrepresented, or simply ignored despite there being very important differences between marine insurance policies. Our job is to provide you with Insurance that is appropriate to your needs, within your budget, and balanced appropriately to your tolerance for the risks you face in your boating activities.

Our approach to risk assessment is very different from most providers and significantly more sophisticated.  Measure, Manage, Monitor is the key guide line process to risk management. The team at Jack Martin and Marinalife Insurance Services are committed to providing a superior Concierge Insurance Service to our membership. 
Let us guide you through this process.

Top Ten Recreational Boating safety Tips 

Reproduced with permission from our friends at ACE Recreational Marine Insurance, the Top Ten tips below are great ways to maximize your safety on the water:

  • Always wear a life jacket and insist that your crew and guests do the same. Approximately 70 percent of all fatal boating accident victims drowned in 2008.(1) Ninety percent of those who drowned were not wearing a personal flotation device (PFD) or life jacket. Always have an adequate supply of personal flotation devices aboard. Make sure that children are wearing appropriate life jackets that fit correctly. Drowning was the reported cause of death for approximately 63 percent of the children who perished in boating accidents in 2008. Overall, fatal accident data suggests that more than 460 lives could have been saved if boaters had worn their life jackets. In cold water areas, life jackets are even more important. A fall into water colder than 60 degrees (Fahrenheit) can induce “cold shock” – a sudden gasping for air that can increase the risk of drowning, especially in older people. Hypothermia is a cold-water danger, too. 
  • Never drink alcohol while boating. In 2008, alcohol was either a direct or indirect contributing factor in 21 percent of all boating fatalities. Stay sharp on the water by leaving the alcohol on dry land.(1)
  • Take a boating safety course. More than 90 percent of all reported boating fatalities in 2008 occurred on boats where the operator had not completed a boating safety course.(1) You may even qualify for a reduced insurance rate if you complete a safety course. Contact your local Coast Guard Auxiliary, U.S. Power Squadron chapter(2) or visit for more 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 rate of the total boating fatalities in 2008.(1) 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. 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 careful lookout. Overall, operator inattention, carelessness/reckless operation, operator inexperience and excess speed were significant contributing factors in virtually 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. Keep an eye out for changing weather conditions and stay on top of the forecast while boating. Promptly heed all weather and storm advisories. 
  • Have your vessel checked for safety – for free!  The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary offers Vessel Safety Checks at no cost. Coast Guard Auxiliary staffers will check your boat’s equipment and provide information about its use, safety procedures and applicable regulations. Unsafe boats are a threat to all recreational boaters. Make sure your vessel is as safe as possible. Carry flares at all times. Visit the U.S. Coast Guard web site at for more information
  • Use a carbon monoxide detector.  All internal combustion engines emit carbon monoxide (CO), an odorless, colorless, poisonous gas that can kill in minutes. Know the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning and avoid extended use of the transom area when engines are operating. Carbon monoxide poisoning caused 11 boating deaths in 2008.(1) 
  • 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 expected.

(2) United States Power Squadron.

Hurricane Checklist   

NOAA forecasters are predicting the likelihood of an “above-normal Atlantic hurricane season” for 2011. Below are some useful and potentially life saving tips on what to do before, during, and after a Hurricane. The best defense against the brutal power of a Hurricane is, of course, not to be around when it arrives!

What to do before the Hurricane season

  • Assess the exposure of your location to Hurricanes. Talk to the locals and listen. Chances are that they will have practical experience to share. 
  • Check with your marina about their hurricane preparedness and procedures. If you’re at a mooring, check with the Harbor Master.
  • Locate your boat insurance policy and keep it handy for later reference, along with your registration and any documentation/licenses.
  • Create an inventory of all property on your boat and have photos or video if possible.
  • Put together a few basic for your boat:
          o Duct tape
          o Plastic
          o Rags
          o Plywood
          o Spare Batteries
          o Trash bags to easily remove items from your boat
  • Replace anchor rigging chain and line as necessary.
  • If you are going to need a safe place to relocate your boat in the event of a Hurricane, make all arrangements before the season, including the creation of a written emergency navigation plan - and set pre determined conditions under which that plan should be activated.
  • Get into the habit of regularly checking NOAA bulletins and local weather reports even if the weather is not a factor at any given time. Staying informed about weather will be your best tool for staying ahead of it

When a Hurricane Watch is issued

  • Check the working condition of all emergency equipment and have extra batteries
  • If you decide NOT to move your boat and to weather the storm:
          o Boats on trailers should be sheltered when possible, and lashed and tied down securely. Tires should be deflated.
          o Boats at anchor should be tied high.
          o Boats in marinas should attach extra lines with adequate length for higher water levels.
          o Empty the bilges
          o Clear all drains so that they flow freely
          o Fully charge your batteries to ensure that the bilge pump will operate.
          o Close all seacocks. 
          o Seal hatches, ports, lockers, and vents with duct tape.
          o Batten down all the hatches to prevent torrential rains from entering the cabin.
          o In all cases, make sure everything onboard (inside or out) is secured to prevent damage to vessel and nearby property.
          o Check NOAA bulletins and local weather reports often.

When a Hurricane Warning is issued

  • Personal safety must always be your #1 priority.
  • Make sure you have a plan to communicate with family and loved ones and set up post storm meeting places if you are separated and unable to communicate.

After the storm

  • Beware of the calm during the “eye”: that’s no time to go and check on your boat! Wait until weather and local authorities give the all clear.
  • Do not approach your boat if there are dangling or downed wires or if you smell gas. Do not drive or wade into flooded areas.
  • Inspect your boat thoroughly, documenting any damage and loss. Take steps only that would prevent further damage to your boat or nearby property.
  • Contact your insurer and place a claim before proceeding to remove, repair, or replace any damaged or lost items.

If you would like any further information please contact us on 410 752 0505 Ext. 1004 or 

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