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How do you ensure your boating, by insurance and preparation to give you assurance - hmmm. Now that the clocks have sprung forward one hour for most of us, we start thinking of Spring and Summer activities. This includes boating, of course for those of us here in South Florida it is a year round activity. However it is still necessary to prepare and check things out properly.

We need a basic Marine Insurance Policy coverage for the boat itself to take care of damage and loss. But we also should have repairs and towing coverage just like we have for our car probably with the American Automobile Association (AAA). There are two main organizations that offer Commercial Towing Assistance to both its members and others, Boat Assist and Sea Tow. Look around your marina and you will see at least one of them. Boat Assist are the Red guys and Sea Tow the Yellow guys whose websites are in 'Link List' below. Stop by and visit with them, get their program explained, learn how it works and have that coverage when out on the water.

Of course there are other independent Commercial Towing Assistance operators who will be more than happy to tow you should you be in trouble. Therein is the basic problem because marine towing is connected with Salvage under Maritime Law. It is a business best explained by your maritime lawyer, know this however, once you accept a towline from a towboat the operators have a maritime lien on your vessel. It will remain secured to their dock, under maritime lien, until the fee charged is paid and that can be an expensive business. Therefore if you have engine trouble and an 'independent' arrives alongside who states that since he or she is not a marine mechanic, offers to tow you to their dock for a look at the engine, be extremely wary. Think about it, here is a towboat operator who cannot repair their own engine should it breakdown out looking to tow others.

It is a personal choice but NAUTICAL LOG feels more at ease having a membership policy with those Red or Yellow guys who are backed by an experienced company operation and monitored by the United States Coast Guard (USCG). Alright that's a look at Insurance now for Preparation.

The 'Discover Boating' website also listed in 'Link List' below, has a wealth of information and useful checklists.

Spring Start-up Checklist covers;

Deck, Fittings, Safety Equipment
Below Decks
Electrical System and Components
Required and Recommended Equipment
Inboard Engines
Mast and Rigging
Water System
Outboard Motor
Head System

Semi-Annual Checklist covers;

Fire Extinguishers
Safety Equipment
Fuel System
Ground Tackle
Electrical System
Bilge Pumps
Corrosion Prevention
Through Hulls

These are all the things that you must check before that first trip of the season. Now if in reading the above you have asked yourself, even once "what is that"? then GO TAKE A BOATING COURSE because otherwise you are heading for serious trouble out on the water. Why do you think those Red, Yellow and other boats are out there in the marine towing assistance business. Finally if you have questions that you feel NAUTICAL LOG might be able to help with feel free to e-mail us, we want you to enjoy Safe Boating.

Good Watch.


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