Hit the Open Water with Ease: Your Marina Opening Checklist

April 26, 2024
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With boating season fast approaching, marina owners and operators must start preparations to ensure they are ready for the influx of boaters. Taking the necessary steps to ensure the safety of both boaters and staff is crucial, especially as business picks up and the waterways become more crowded. Here are several steps to prepare for the upcoming boating season.

Review Your Insurance Coverage

Before the start of the boating season, marina owners and operators need to review their insurance coverage with an insurance broker to ensure they have adequate protection against potential risks. A frequent coverage listed on marina policies is liability coverage for accidents or property damage that occur on marina premises or during boating activities. It is also crucial for marinas to have insurance for natural disasters or other types of unforeseen events that happen during the season.

Training Staff

Marina staff play a critical role in ensuring the safety of boaters and others on the waterways. Before the start of the season, marina owners and operators must provide proper training to all staff members. This training should include safety protocols for dealing with emergencies, such as how to perform CPR, how to use a fire extinguisher appropriately, and the procedure for rescuing someone who has fallen overboard.

Develop Safety Protocols

Marina owners and operators should also develop safety protocols for boaters to follow while on their premises or the water. For example, marinas should have clear signage indicating speed limits, no-wake zones, and other safe boating practices. They should also communicate their safety protocols to boaters through various channels, such as their website, contractual agreements, or direct communication.

Conduct Regular Safety Inspections

Marinas should conduct regular safety inspections of their facilities and equipment to prevent accidents and mitigate risk. These safety inspections should include checking electrical outlets, docks, and fuel systems to ensure nothing is awry. It is also imperative to ensure all equipment is in good condition and working appropriately, such as life jackets, fire extinguishers, and first aid kits.

Provide Emergency Services

Marinas should have emergency services available on-site, such as first-aid, towing, and rescue services. They should also train their staff to handle emergencies according to company protocol and encourage them to contact emergency services if a serious incident occurs. Having an emergency preparedness plan in place for natural disasters is also essential.

Ensure Environmental Compliance

Marinas must comply with all environmental regulations. These regulations include properly disposing of waste, preventing fuel spills, and taking measures to prevent the introduction of invasive species. It is also crucial for marinas to educate their staff and boaters about the importance of protecting the environment.

Monitor Weather and Water Levels

Monitoring weather and water levels is important to ensure boaters’ safety and to prevent potential damage to marina facilities. Marinas should closely monitor local weather forecasts and have plans in place for addressing adverse weather conditions. They should also monitor water levels to ensure that docks, piers, and other facilities are not in danger of flooding.

The start of boating season can be a busy time for marina owners and operators, but proper preparation is essential to ensuring the safety of staff and boaters. By reviewing insurance coverage, training staff, developing safety protocols, conducting regular inspections, providing emergency services, ensuring environmental compliance, and monitoring weather and water levels, marinas can help create a safe and enjoyable boating experience for everyone during boating season.

Have questions about marina insurance or require a policy review? Connect with a Gifford Carr insurance broker today, we are happy to help!

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