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Maintenance Tips for Improving Boat Safety

Boating is a common pastime in Florida. Fishermen can go out for an afternoon of relaxing while their lines dangle in the water and families head out for beautiful views and swimming. But boats take a great deal of work to maintain. They are complicated vehicles and need to be looked after inside and out to ensure they can be operated safely. If the proper care is not given to a boat, issues could arise such as fuel leaks, fire hazards, sinking or other accidents.

Here are a few boating maintenance tips to keep in mind to ensure you and your passengers are safe year round:

  • Wash your boat regularly. If your boat is in saltwater, the salt buildup can corrode metal parts and fasteners.
  • Inspect the propeller. Fishing line and other debris can become wrapped around the propeller shaft, potentially causing problems. Additionally, if your propeller hit anything and is damaged, it could vibrate creating problems for seals and bearings.
  • Check the fuel lines and related components. You always need to be sure the fuel lines are not worn or cracking. Additionally, check the fuel tank for corrosion and leaks, the fittings for leaks, and the clamps for corrosion or rust.
  • Check lifelines and rails. All lifelines and rails should be in solid, clean condition so that they are secure if someone grabs one and no one will hurt their hands.
  • Update fire extinguishers when necessary. You should have the required extinguishers on board and double check that they are still good and that you and other passengers know how to use them.
  • Check on bilge pumps. In the event you need to remove water from the boat, your automatic pumps and manual bilges must be clean and reliable.
  • Inspect all navigational lights. Whether you mean to or not, you can end up on the water after dark. You will need your lights to safely guide you back to the dock.

It is important to know that your engine, fuel system, and electrical system are all well maintained. Additionally, watching for and doing what you can to fix corrosion is important in preventing accidents.

Equipment Failure a Common Cause of Accidents

Responsible boat owners understand that boat maintenance is critical because equipment failure is one of the leading causes of boating accidents, along with inexperienced drivers and alcohol. If someone takes shortcuts when it comes to maintaining their boat, they will be responsible for everyone’s injuries in the event they cause an accident.

If you were hurt in a boating accident, contact Oldham & Smith at (352) 292-1620 to learn how they can help.

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