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boats at dockIf you operate commercial pleasure cruises, passenger safety should be your chief concern.

No boating program wants to have a reputation for unsafe operations. In many cases, unsafe operations will cost a business its operating licenses. But that’s the least of your worries. If a boating company doesn’t follow safety precautions, there is a huge liability risk.

Failure to protect your passengers may cause injuries. The wrong scenario could even cost passengers their lives. If a passenger gets hurt or killed on your boat, the authorities could hold the company responsible.

Commercial boating liability insurance can help protect your business in case of passenger injury. But remember, insurance may not honor your claim if you ignored passenger safety risks.

The more steps you take to avoid injuries, the better the chance insurance honors your claim. Better yet, taking proper precautions means you might avoid liability insurance claims altogether.

Take these steps on your commercial boat to reduce injury risks:

  • Make sure the boat is seaworthy before taking on passengers.
  • Board and disembark the boat in an orderly fashion. Make sure passengers sit or move away from dangerous areas during docking or launch.
  • Never allow passengers or anyone besides a licensed operator to pilot the boat.
  • Mark areas that are off-limits to passengers. Put up signs, locks or barriers to these areas.
  • Don’t allow passengers around the engines or other sensitive systems.
  • Inform passengers of all safety rules and regulations before you begin your journey. Conduct a safety drill before sailing if the law requires it.
  • Require passengers to wear life jackets or other safety equipment at all times. In most cases, lifejacket requirements are the law.
  • Don’t allow passengers to sit or stand in risky areas like the bow, stern, or on the gunwales.
  • Keep fire risks low. Have fire extinguishers or fire hose pumps on hand.
  • Make sure hospitality services like food or beverage vendors follow local regulations. Also ensure they follow onboard safety precautions.
  • If you have to abandon ship, organize the evacuation in an efficient manner. Make the evacuation as speedy as possible without causing injury. Keep all the evacuees together and accounted for.

Remember, different jurisdictions have different laws regarding commercial boating. Safety practices may vary from place to place. However, always exceed these requirements to keep your passengers safe. A safe cruise means that you will have happy customers. You also won’t run the risk of costly liability insurance claims.

Give Voyager Insurance Services a call today at (800) 262-8990. We can help you get the correct boating insurance for your commercial venture.
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