Swimming Safety

Young Boy Swimming in a pool during summertime.

For people of all ages, swimming is the fourth most popular activity in the United States, and for children and teens ages seven to 17, it is number one (CDC). Unfortunately, the water we love can also be dangerous. For children ages one through four, drowning is the “leading cause of unintentional injury death,” and for children ages five through nine it is the second most common cause (CDC). Drownings of children under four are most likely to occur in a home swimming pool while drowning victims in older age brackets are more likely to occur in natural water settings such as lakes and rivers.  

In the case of young children, drowning often occurs due to a lack of supervision and/or lack of barriers around a pool. For older children and adults, lack of proficient swimming skills is a greater factor.  

What can we do to keep ourselves and our children safe?  The Red Cross suggests we only swim in designated areas preferably supervised by lifeguards, never swim alone, never leave children unattended, and have young children or inexperienced swimmers wear life jackets.  Anyone who has not taken swimming lessons should do so. Lesson opportunities can be found on Red Cross websites, at a local YMCA or other fitness facilities, or through your local parks and recreation department. There are opportunities for both kids and adults of all levels from basic water survival to stroke development for fitness to competitive swimming. 

If you have a pool, secure it with appropriate barriers.  According to the Red Cross, many children who drown in home pools were under the care of one or more parents and out of their sight for less than five minutes.  

Swimming for adults is a whole-body workout and a great way to cross-train for any athlete who wants to avoid or recover from injury. For kids and adults, swimming is a way to relax, cool off, and play.  Be sure you and your family members all have the swimming skills you need to be safe. If you have a pool at home, take the necessary steps to keep it secure both with physical barriers and homeowner’s insurance. The staff at Waitte’s Insurance Company are here to assist you with your insurance needs so you are ready to take the plunge knowing you have taken the steps you need to stay safe.  

 

For further information, visit the following publications:

Red Cross Swimming Safety Tips

CDC Unintentional Drowning

CDC Swimming Publications, Data, & Statistics

Stay Safe and Still Enjoy Your Time in the Sun

Two little kid boys, best friends enjoying sailing boat trip.

While this might not have been the summer everyone anticipated back when the weather was cold, most of us have found ways to have fun, and being outside on the water has been a go-to form of recreation, even more, this year than in the past. Swimming, fishing, waterskiing, tubing, or just riding around our great lakes and rivers have become even more treasured ways to spend time this year. As we look forward to a few more weeks of outdoor adventures, there may be some things we should keep in mind to ensure the safety of the people we care about.

In 2019, 613 people died and 2,559 people were injured in recreational boating accidents in the United States (USCG). The leading contributor to fatal boating accidents was alcohol. While it is legal to operate a boat and drink, it is illegal to operate a boat while under the influence. Operators are expected to observe the same blood alcohol limits as the driver of a car, and the same penalties apply to boat operators as they do to motorists. Unfortunately, the law is not always taken seriously out on the water. According to the US Coast Guard, boating while intoxicated is even more dangerous than driving a car drunk. “The marine environment motion, vibration, engine noise, sun, wind, and spray accelerate a drinker’s impairment,” causing fatigue and significantly compromising the boat operator’s reaction time (USCG).

Another factor contributing to fatalities is training. Seventy percent of boating accidents resulting in fatalities involved operators who did not receive safety instruction (USCG). One eight-hour course taken in one day can make a significant difference for your safety and the safety of those whose company you enjoy on the water. Most states offer some form of boater safety training, and in Connecticut, boater safety classes are currently offered in online video platforms that provide opportunities for interaction between you and your instructor (see link below).

One more way you can protect yourself and those you care about is to wear life jackets. Eighty-six percent of drowning victims in 2019 boating accidents were not wearing life jackets (USCG).
The staff at Waitte’s Insurance Company want you to enjoy these last few weeks on the water with family and friends safely by taking a boater safety course, wearing a life jacket, and riding with a sober operator. Check with us for more information about insuring your watercraft along with any other insurance needs so you are prepared for a safe journey both on land and in the water.

 

For further information, visit the following publications:

CT gov site for online boater safety classes

2019 recreational boating statistics USCG

US Coast Guard BUI article

 

Boating Season is Here! Time to De-Winterize Your Watercraft

New England residents know how long winters in the region last – and yet, it is still disappointing every year when “spring” rolls around but it’s still too cold to use your boat out on the water, or enjoy other activities outdoors. Thankfully, however, winter has lingered in Connecticut for long enough this year, and fun-filled times in the sun are just over the horizon. If you’re looking forward to using your boat soon, you should keep these important tips in mind for de-winterizing your boat and preparing for boating season.

1. Check your oil and battery.

Over the winter, long periods of disuse tend to wear down your engine oil and can potentially kill your battery if temperatures dip too low. As a result, make sure to check both of these before you begin boating. Make sure that you change the engine oil and filter, and reattach the cables of your battery, checking that the terminals are not corroded. Above all, make sure that the battery works and hasn’t run out of juice.

2. Take a look at your belts.

Tighten the belts so they fit snugly in the pulley grooves, making sure that they are not too worn and that as a result they don’t slip out. Check for black soot as a sign that the belt is too worn and needs to be replaced.

3. Inspect your fuel and cooling systems.

The cold weather can make fuel hoses brittle and prone to cracking, so it’s important to check this before starting off. Top off your tank with gas and change the fuel filter, making sure that the fuel line is attached and not cracked. You should have drained your cooling system before the really cold weather set in to prevent it from freezing, so you should refill it at this point.

4. Clean your distributor.

Winter can corrode the distributor on your boat, so take the cap off and clean it of any residue. You should also make sure that the connections are restored before you begin boating again for the summer.

Finally, remember to renew your watercraft insurance policy before you hit the open water, so you can feel secure knowing that you are protected in any event that may occur. If you need to review, renew, or purchase a brand new insurance policy for your boat or other watercraft, contact the office of Waitte’s Insurance Agency by email or via phone at (860) 886-1961.

Considering Buying a Boat This Season? Keep These Tips in Mind

With boat season rapidly approaching, buying a boat and hitting the open water is more tempting than ever. As wonderful as the idea of going nautical sounds, (especially in Connecticut) purchasing a boat comes with a laundry list of factors to strongly consider. Much like investing in an automobile or a home, first-time boat buyers will want to do their homework before making any hefty investments. For those with little-to-no experience in this process, we have compiled a checklist of items that can help take the angst and guess-work out of choosing the right watercraft for your needs.

What to Keep in Mind When Buying a Boat For the First Time:

Where You Live

Let’s be honest, if you live miles and miles away from the nearest lake or port, chances are you won’t get the most bang for your buck. If you’re nowhere near water, you will need to consider transporting the boat. Calculate the costs of traveling far distances while towing a boat. Plan out exactly where, when and how often you will be boating to make sure you get the proper permits for that area ahead of time.

Budget

Just like a car, your boat can turn into an expensive toy quickly. Using the 30-70 rule will help you create a budget. 30 percent of your money will go to the boat itself, while 70 percent will go towards things like:

  • – Gas
  • – Transportation
  • – Boat Accessories
  • – Storage
  • – Training Courses
  • – License Requirements
  • – Repairs
  • – Insurance
New or Used

While a new boat can feel like the best purchase, you should consider where you live, and how you’re going to use the boat. If you’re a first-time buyer with no experience with boats, getting a used boat is probably the wiser choice. Your budget should factor into whether you buy new or used also. Aside from being a lottery winner and splurging on the latest boat model, start small and work your way up until you have a few years of experience under your belt.

Use of Boat

What will be the main purpose of your boat? For fishing enthusiasts, you’ll want to be realistic as to how often you will be going out and the type of fishing you will be doing. Those who tend to only fish a handful of times a year may be advised to invest is something much smaller such as a rowboat. But if the plan is to indulge in other activities like water skiing or tubing, then investing in something larger will probably be getting your money’s worth.

Licenses and Training

A lot of Connecticut boating courses can be completed in a single day’s time and are usually on the weekends. The cost of classes can vary, so check for classes in your area to register for your preferred date and time. Local fishing licenses are also mandatory wherever and whenever you cast your line. Not complying with the proper state licensing can land you in a world of financial and possibly legal distress, so make the necessary efforts before making any boat purchase.

Attend Boat Shows

Attend a boat show is one of the best ways that first-time buyers can get an idea of the type of boat they want. Not only can you browse through countless makes and models, but there are a ton of knowledgeable people with years of experience that can help you with any questions you have. Be sure to pick their brain and learn as much as you can. Browse through boat shows in Connecticut this year to find the one nearest you to make the process of buying a boat a lot less stressful.

Find the Right Insurance

Once you have selected that perfect watercraft for your particular needs, contact our office to choose the best possible insurance policy. It’s not only a state requirement to be insured on the water, but also a means of protecting yourself and your assets.

If you’re tired of being a land lubber and are thinking of buying a boat for the first time this season, Waitte’s Insurance Agency wants to help determine the most practical insurance premium to fit your budget. You can even receive a FREE Rate Quote by filling out a simple form.