In 2018, there were more than 4,000 recreational boating accidents resulting in more than 600 deaths and approximately $46 million dollars of damage, according the US Coast Guard. One of the best ways to save lives and save money is to make sure the boat has the necessary safety equipment available and operator is up to date on safe measures in case disaster strikes. Equipment as simple as life jackets on board a boat may have saved a majority of drowning deaths that occurred in 2013, according to Rachel Johnson, Executive Director of the National Safe Boating Council. The same goes for 2018 - 84% of drowning deaths didn't have a life jacket.

Preventative measure such as safety equipment not only save lives, but can also save boat owners money on their boat insurance. Some pieces of safety equipment are federally required to be onboard a vessel, so many owners don't think twice about having them on board. But what they may not know is that many insurance companies offer discounts based on certain safe boating practices.

"What we've seen is that many boaters will meet the minimum requirement, but they have never been educated about better equipment that is available and why it's worth it to spend a little more," said Johnson.

Here are some ideas to help make your boat safer.

Safety Features that Can Help You Save on Your Boat Insurance

InsuraMatch reviewed over a dozen insurance policies and found the following safe practices may also lead to discounts on your boat insurance, depending on the policy:

  • Completing a boater’s safety class. These classes may be provided through the Coast Guard Auxiliary or the US Power Squadron and other courses approved by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators. 
  • Having no history of driving or boating accidents or violations
  • Owning safety equipment such as emergency beacons, built-in fire extinguishers, a burglar alarm system, a GPS system, depth finders, and radars

For some policies, the speed of the vessel also matters. The faster the boat, the less likely it will qualify for certain deductions. Discounts might be available for boats that don’t exceed 35 miles per hour.

Also, in most cases, the boat owner’s experience matters.  Many policies take into account an owner’s age, as well as the number of accident-free years of operation.

There are other ways to stay safe while boating that are just as important and may indirectly save owners their lives and their money.  

"Never boat under the influence," said Johnson.

In 2018, alcohol use was the leading contributing factor in fatal boating accidents and was the leading factor in 19 percent of deaths,  according the US Coast Guard.

"Also, learn basic navigation rules," she said.

Although not all of these practices may qualify as financial incentives on policies, they are all ways that could save passengers on board from potentially dangerous scenarios.

"From the NSBC's perspective, we want boaters to be safer on the water," said Johnson. "Whether that involves more education, more outreach, or incentives offered, we think it's great when boaters become more educated and informed and  ultimately safer."


Boat Insurance policies reviewed:

Allstate, Esurance, Nationwide, NBOA, Travelers, Progressive, Allied,  Markel, SafeCo., Global Marine Insurance, Shelter, AmFam, Boat US



Talk to an InsuraMatch agent now at (844) 300-3294 to see if we can help you save on your boat insurance!

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