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Summer Safety Tips for Boats, Motorcycles and Jet Skis

Summer Toys.

Warm weather means it's finally time to break out those summer "toys" that have been in storage all winter, like your boat, jet skis or motorcycle. Before you hit the open road or head out onto the lake, take a moment to brush up on some helpful safety tips.


Operator inexperience, inattention, recklessness and speeding are the four leading causes of watercraft crashes, according to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. Boaters who wear life jackets and take boater safety courses are most likely to enjoy their time on the water. These are some safety tips to keep in mind:

  1. Comply with Coast Guard safety regulations, including carrying a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket for each person on board and one approved throwable device for any boat 16 feet and longer.
  2. Know how to use onboard safety equipment and carry safety and signaling equipment, including flares and a first aid kit, in a waterproof pouch.
  3. Be smart about the weather. Check the forecast before heading out on the water and carry a radio for weather updates. Be alert to sudden shifts in wind and lightning, and allow sufficient time to bring your boat back to shore to avoid inclement weather.


For many avid motorcyclists, there's nothing quite as fun as hopping on their bike and hitting the open road. However, motorcyclists are 30 times more likely to die in a crash than people in a car, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Nearly half of all motorcycle deaths are the result of single-vehicle crashes and almost half of all fatalities involve speeding. Here are some safety tips to keep in mind to help you make smarter choices on your bike:

  1. Buy the right bike for your size. Consumer Reports advises new motorcyclists choose a bike where the handlebars and controls are within easy reach and where you're comfortably able to rest both feet flat on the ground (no tiptoes) and you can easily get on and off the center stand.
  2. Wear the right gear. From a full-face helmet to reinforced jackets, pants and gloves, the right gear could make the difference between a serious injury and a minor accident. Protect your face, hands and feet.
  3. Take a skill refresher course. If the bike has been in storage all winter, consider signing up for a safety skills refresher course. Approved safety courses could also make you eligible for an insurance discount.

Personal watercraft

Some personal watercrafts can send riders on an adrenaline-pumping adventure. Here are some considerations for a safe ride:

  1. Jet Skis are considered Class A vessels by the U.S. Coast Guard. This means all rules and regulations for boats under 16 feet apply, including a Coast Guard-approved fire extinguisher, a signaling device, such as a whistle or horn, and vessel registration with properly displayed decals.
  2. The law requires you to always wear a personal floatation device, like a life vest, when the Jet Ski is in use. Operators must also wear a cord or lanyard around their wrist attached to the ignition key. If the driver falls off, this can prevent the engine from staying on.
  3. Even if you've ridden a Jet Ski before, it's still a good idea to take a safety course refresher. You may also qualify for a personal watercraft insurance discount if you take a safety course. Ask your insurance agent for more details.
Whether you have a motorcycle, personal watercraft or small boat, it's always a good idea to talk to your insurance agent about your current coverage — you might even qualify for a safety discount.

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